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In the absence of being able to physically see most of my loved ones over the past few months, I - like many people - have taken to sending them thoughtful gifts through the post.
Nothing extravagant, just a little pick-me-up, something that says "I'm thinking of you", to brighten their day.
As spring starts to rear its long-awaited head, the topic of conversation between many of my friends has turned to nostalgic memory swapping of sunshine-filled European breaks, al fresco dinners and that refreshing first sip of gin and tonic, outside, after the working day is done.
And, while I can't host an al fresco dinner any time soon, I realised I could certainly fulfil that last wish.
So, I scoured the internet for the most uplifting gin I could find - I wanted a tipple that could inject some summer into my friends' days, one that sent their minds drifting back towards the good old days and conjured up images of carefree frolicking on foreign soil.
The Italian heritage gin bursts with the tones of blood orange, boasting a unique flavour profile compared to other oranges, with its distinctly raspberry-like undertones in addition to the usual citrus notes.
I ordered 10 bottles and sent them out to my nearest and dearest - I was expecting a positive reaction (who doesn't love getting a gift?) but wasn't quite prepared for the glowing feedback I received.
"I am in heaven," wrote one friend, alongside a photo of herself and her partner cheersing their splendidly-coloured cocktails.
Another rang me (for the first time during lockdown 3.0, I might add) to tell me that she couldn't believe she had never heard of it before, and would be paying forward the thought by sending bottles to her family members.
Perhaps the best reaction of all came from a travel writer friend who sent me a simple, three-word text: "Tastes like sunshine."
And reader, I can confirm it does.
What the reviews say:
My friends and I aren't the only ones living this gin, as the online reviews attest.
"I'm a citrus lover and I've tried several orange gins, all of which are really good. This is the best by far. The bottle is quite chunky and heavy which suggests a treat is in store and it is. It's a smooth orange flavour, and sweet, but not excessively so and not at all overpowering."
"Enter stage left the Italians with their marvellous fruit flavoured gins from the Malfy stable. These are different. They are well presented and stand out from the crowd on the top shelf of any bar and are distinctive enough to support several varieties including this, my favourite, the blood orange, or 'Con Arancia' model. It is crisp and fruity and makes you feel like you are in a bar in Sorrento looking out to Capri even on the murkiest and dirtiest of winter days."
"This gin turns pink when you add a mixer - lovely refreshing orange flavour - has easily become our favourite gin."
"It's so tasty, and i think that's what makes it so special, it's like you're drinking a slice of summer. Serve with tonic and a slice of lime."
"I discovered this brand at the start of lockdown and boy have I spent a lot on it since! Addicted! It's such a lovely gin, have tried all the flavours."
Buy it: MALFY Con Arancia Sicilian Blood Orange Italian Gin | £26.49 from Amazon
Watch: 9 Bridgerton-Worthy Cocktails to Pair With Your Next Binge Session
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