I have very fond memories of gin.
When I was about eight or nine years old I used to go and stay with my Gran and Grandad in Weymouth. While my Grandad was at work my Gran would pack us a picnic to take to the beach – sandwiches with Marks & Spencers ham, crisps, and a thermos full of gin and tonic. When I was even smaller I can remember sat on my Gran’s lap, the tonic bubbles going up my nose as she tried to get me to have a taste. Years later it was my children sat on her knee and I was the one having to say ‘Gran! You can’t give gin to a baby!’
‘Nonsense!’ she’d say, getting a little bit on her finger and shoving it in their mouth, ‘it’s only a little taste.’
A quick search of my blog revealed seven posts where I use the phrase ‘gin and tonic’, so a mission to make and shop for Bombay Sapphire cocktails is clearly right up my street.
The first step in mixing a good cocktail is of course to buy the ingredients. I took Belle then to our local Tesco to help me buy gin and mixers. It’s an important part of growing up I think to learn how to prepare a decent drink. We call our local Tesco the ‘Tesco no one cares about’. It’s not that we don’t care it’s just that for half a year after we moved here we didn’t even know it was just up the road from us and would drive two miles in the opposite direction to a different one. What sillies we are.
If you want to nose in my trolley and see my shopping pictures, simply click on the picture below:
Assortment of mixers and colourful citrus fruits duly purchased, the next thing I needed was some people to test my creations on. I decided it would be a good opportunity to get to know a few local Social Fabric bloggers better, so dragged round Purple Mum, Knitty Mummy, Hungry Sauce, Practically Perfect Mums and Tigerlilly Quinn, otherwise known as Ella, Kath, Kathie, Jane and Fritha. I thought it would be a great chance for us to chat about all things blogging, reassert the importance of quality over quantity of readers, generally obsess about stats, that sort of thing.
Excellent. I now had ingredients AND guests. The evening was shaping up nicely.
Next up then, the cocktails.
I had had a little browse for recipes on the Bombay Sapphire website before the shopping trip and liked the sound of the Bramble and the Peach and Elderflower Collins, but wanted a third. I turned to Pinterest, and was rather taken by this gin cocktail board, in particular the Cool as a Cucumber.
Guests gathered in my kitchen, fruit artistically arranged in a bowl, and recipes neatly printed, I was ready to go. Here’s what we made:
- 50ml Bombay Sapphire
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 1tsp caster sugar
- 15ml berry liqueur – Crème de Mure / Chambord / Crème de Cassis
- 1 blackberry
- Wedge of fresh lemon
- Crushed ice
Add the Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice and caster sugar to a short glass or tumbler and stir. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Drizzle the berry liqueur over the top and watch it ‘marble’ through the drink. Top up with more crushed ice and garnish with one blackberry and a wedge of fresh lemon.
Ours didn’t quite follow this recipe. Kathie, who is a bit of a whizz in the kitchen, came up with the idea of adding orange and rosemary, (making it practically one of your five a day), which was very tasty indeed.
Peach and Elderflower Collins
- 50ml Bombay Sapphire
- The juice of half a lemon
- 15ml Elderflower cordial
- One third of a fresh peach or
- 20ml of white peach puree
Muddle the peach in a mixing glass before adding all other ingredients and stir with ice. Fine strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top up with soda water and stir. Garnish with a wedge of peach.
Cool as a cucumber
- 2 oz Gin
- 2-3 Cucumber Wheels
- Ginger Ale
Muddle 2-3 cucumber wheels in the bottom of a highball glass with a dash of ginger ale. Fill glass with ice. Add 2 oz. of Bombay Sapphire and fill rest up with lemonade stopping an inch or two from the top and finish with ginger ale. Stir to combine flavours and garnish with a cucumber wheel.
This one was my favourite – the cucumber gave the whole thing a lovely refreshing flavour and I even showed off by making some ginger ale in my new Sodastream. (Yes, that is a caricature of me stuck on the fridge in the background).
Ella also made a very delicious sweet cocktail, that tasted a bit like pic ‘n’ mix, made with gin, crème de cassis and cherryade. Very classy.
After a few different samples – all in the name of research – we were definitely not cool as cucumbers and the evening very quickly moved on to eating an entire box of chocolates and taking it in turns to pose for photos in my very stylish M&S nightwear all-in-one appliqué bunny fleece dress.
I would of course love to show you those photos, but am afraid bound by the sacred bond of bloggerhood. What happens in Bristol most certainly will stay in Bristol on this occasion.
Thanks very much to Kathie for taking most of these photos!