All posts in cocktails

blood oranges or sanguinellos

How to Construct a Bespoke Cocktail

or Antidote to a Stressful Week

Bob, my new best friend

Bob, my new best friend

In a week where blood, sweat, and tears were spilt, bitter words exchanged, and ideas pulped, I was determined to make a Friday night cocktail to restore balance.  The usual ethanol delivery methods felt inadequate, so I thought it necessary to deconstruct the week’s assaults and reassemble them into a bespoke cocktail.

Here’s my cocktail de/construction process:
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Gin Journey

Gin is not merely ethanol and water with some botanical flavourings added.  It is a spirit deeply rooted in the history of London, forms the bedrock of the cocktail, and elicits real passion amongst its devotees. To enjoy gin is to enjoy discovery, as it is the most mercurial of spirits.  Marcel Proust said, “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us.”

And so on a recent Monday night, I find myself and some kindred ginthusiasts on a Gin Journey in east London.  Expertly guided by Leon Dalloway of Shake Rattle and Stir, it is an educational evening that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about gin while taking you on a tour of some of London’s finest cocktail bars.  Leon promises 5 samples, 5 cocktails, chauffeured transport, and no hangover for the princely sum of £50.  I am intrigued.
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time for Lime and Thyme

Gin’s the Thing

Or “Shut Up and Drink Your Gin”… said Fagin to Oliver Twist

Gin is essentially neutral grain spirits, otherwise known as vodka, flavoured with juniper but it’s history is anything but neutral. It was created by a Dutch physician in the 17th century and sold in pharmacies as a medicine to treat a host of ailments.  It was also used to instill “Dutch Courage” to make soldiers more bold before battle.  When William of Orange and his English wife Mary were crowned King and Queen of England in 1689, gin surged in popularity in Great Britain.
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what heat wave?

Watermelon Mojitos

Or How to Stay Cool in a Heat Wave…

Summer in a glass.  Juicy watermelon, fresh limes, mint, rum.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Watermelon has only 30 calories per 100g and is packed with Vitamins A & C, and nearly twice the anti-oxidant lycopene as tomatoes.  This drink is seriously refreshing and you can feel virtuous about sipping it.
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Anyone for Tennis? The new Pimms Blackberry and Elderflower

Or, LOVE ALL…

Pimm’s cup:  the quintessential Wimbledon tipple.  The Best of British with a Royal Warrant.  But I was almost permanently put off Pimms at a school fete, on a most perfectly sunny Pimmsy day many Junes ago.  Having handed over the hyperactive sugar-charged little darlings to their dad, I joined the queue at the very popular Pimms stand with all the other harangued mums.  My drink chit was limp with sweat by the time I handed it over to the dad on duty.
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Melon Madness

Melon Madness in the Med

Or What to Drink by the Pool…

The Mediterranean. Ancient centre of the world. Cloudless skies over an undulating turquoise sea. A bracing morning dip in the salty brine screams for something fresh and crisp to drink when back on terra firma. Something festive, as we are on holiday, but not too strong, as it is still early in the day and we wish to drink intelligently above all. Read more…

teleport to Tehran

Farangi Girl Cocktail

Or, What to Serve Your Book Group When They are Coming to Dinner After Reading a Powerfully Evocative Memoir of a Childhood Spent Between 1960’s Iran and Florida…

Reading is one of the few preserves of mindful engagement in this modern info-saturated world.  It’s a solitary pursuit, one devoid of sound and with few, if any pictures.  Reading liberates the reader to construct a fanciful universe in the mind’s eye, scaffolded by personal experience, and gently engineered by a skilled author-architect.
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smoky caramel pear nirvana in a glass

Pear-allel Universe

or What kind of Hospitality Gift is That?

I was hosting a lavish barbecue on the first sunny Saturday in a while when one of the guests turned up at the door bearing an ordinary tin of pears.  I tried to look pleasantly surprised and grateful, as good hosts do when presented with a gift, but my furrowed brow betrayed me.  “You said you like a challenge, so how about a cocktail with these?” were her innocent words.

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margaritaville welcomes you....

Welcome to Margaritaville

Or Where’s My Lost Shaker of Salt?*

Running in the park with the dog this morning,  I was cheered by the sight of countless tiny wild daisies raising their little heads up through the deep green grass.  Having just returned from a week in Spain, the language was still riffling through my head.  Daisy is Margarita in Spanish.  The rare confluence of English sunshine, cheerful wildflowers, and guests coming for dinner had me hankering after making juicy Margaritas for cocktail hour.

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Thanks Dad!

Why I Started This Blog

Or Thanks, Dad!

Every Sunday lunch since I was about six years old, my father poured me, my brother and my sister a couple of “fingers” of fine wine in old shrimp cocktail glasses. He would show us on a globe where the wine was from, what it was called, and what made it different to last Sunday’s wine. I have an indelible memory of that early education in wine, before my palate became corrupted with coffee, junk food, and hot sauce.
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