It's World Gin Day tomorrow!
not that I need an excuse ...............
10th June is World Gin Day – yay! My tipple of choice, which is soooo popular at the moment, there are gins being produced all over the place and I think I have tried most of them! Made from juniper berries and other botanicals, gin was brought over from Holland when William of Orange occupied the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland during 'The Glorious Revolution' - sounds like fun doesn't it? Good name for a band.
To begin with, it was sold in pharmacies and was thought to be medicinal. It became popular with the poor, especially in crude forms, where turpentine was substituted for juniper! as it had the same woody flavour, and because it was cheap. Lots of small residential stills were set up, and this became known as 'The Gin Craze.' The famous painting by Hogarth - Gin Lane was painted at this time.
The iconic Gin and Tonic was first created in tropical British colonies to mask the flavour of bitter quinine which was the only cure for malaria at the time. Quinine was dissolved in carbonated water, mixed with gin and voila! A classic is born.
Anyway, as gin is my fave, particularly Bombay Sapphire, I decided to go on a tour of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, yes leafy Hampshire, not a back street in Mumbai. Its a really wonderful place, lovely old buildings have been restored and enhanced with a fantastic modern glass house designed by Heatherwick Studio (of London buses fame). The 'gin clear' water of the river Test runs through the site too, so its a nice place for a day out. Bombay Sapphire senior ambassador, Sam Carter, below, is a leading authority on gin and cocktails gained over 20 years in the food and drink industry, so he's the perfect host for events. The tour ends in the Mill Bar where Sam imparts his extensive knowledge and you get to drink the product!
Some of the 10 botanicals above, that go into Bombay Sapphire gin
3 of my fave gin cocktails - using different gins
Love this as its a long drink, and really refreshing Mix 1 part Hendricks Gin, juice of half a lemon, 2 parts soda water, 2 tsp caster sugar in a highball glass, stir. Add lots of ice and stir again, top up with soda water and stir for a final time, garnish with a lemon wedge, orange slice, lime, rosemary, mint, whatever you like
Summer Gin and Tonic
A pretty drink on a hot day
Quarter two strawberries, place in a balloon glass and add ice. Pour 50ml Bloom Gin over the ice and top with 200ml high-quality tonic water. Stir gently to ensure that the flavours are well mixed and so as not to damage the strawberries.
I prefer this in Winter, not sure why, maybe its the orange slice
Combine 30ml Thomas Dakin Gin with 30ml Sweet Vermouth and 30ml Campari in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a stylish glass and garnish and with an orange slice