All posts in spirituous

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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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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only dregs left after a jolly cocktail session...

Rhubarbarella

When life gives you rhubarb vodka, make a cocktail…

One day in the doldrums of late winter, my friend Julia appeared at my door with a bottle of vodka. Not just any vodka, this was Chase Rhubarb Vodka, distilled from potatoes in Herefordshire, England.  A limited edition, it came complete with its own cheery little Union Jack bow tie.  As she pressed it into my hands, she said “I’m curious to see what you can do with this”.

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Green Envy

Daytime cocktails- The Green Envy

Green Envy

Lovely lunch party on a promising spring day. What to drink during the daytime? You have some cocktail-phobic friends coming so you don’t want anything too strong, but the occasion calls for something more festive than the usual Pinot Grigio. Try gently easing your friends into cocktails by starting with sparkling wine-based concoctions. I have never met anyone who didn’t like this on first sip. It’s crisp, refreshing, unusual and not too sweet. The resulting alcohol content is actually the same as that of the sparkling wine you choose to use.

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Image

Gin-spiration

East Sussex in April.  Gorgeous sunny skies belie vicious Arctic gale force winds.  Surf pounding menacingly on the beach whilst nascent daffodils are buffeted horizontal.  My hair has gone all Boris Johnson as I flee to the comfort of indoors at cocktail-o’clock, pondering what to drink?  The Bourbon has been put to the back of the drinks cabinet, and it’s not quite Vodka weather.  Rum would do in a pinch, but for a bracing, clean cocktail as refreshing as the wind, as full of promise as spring, it has to be Gin.  Gin is an anagram of Spring.

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