Tag Archives: cocktails

Reinventing the Gin and Tonic

Growing up we never celebrated Christmas. On the day we got together as a family but we never bought gifts for each other and we certainly never ate turkey. 

This all changed when I was 18 years old. Christmas mania kicked in within weeks of starting University, and I started to hear all these wonderful stories about Christmas stockings and festive rituals.

My parents were more on board than I could have imagined and I woke up on Christmas Day to my first ever stocking. We had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, prepped the veg and got ourselves dressed and ready for the day.

Whilst we waited for the rest of our family to arrive my mum made me a gin and tonic, and the rest as they say is history. If it’s 1pm on Christmas Day you’ll find me with a gin and tonic in my hand. Always served in the same glass. And always with a slice of lemon.

So when I heard Bombay Sapphire were reinventing the gin and tonic, I questioned what needed reinventing. It’s a classic drink, easy to make and even easier to drink – so why mess with it?

Throughout the year I’m a fussy gin and tonic drinker. Different gins warrant different garnishes. I’m a tonic snob. Please don’t give me a single measure of gin in a huge glass.

But then I remembered Christmas Day. My G&T is made with whatever gin is in the cupboard, topped up with supermarket tonic and always served with a slice of lemon. And it’s always the best G&T I’ve had all year.

So yeah, I’m open to a bit of reinvention. And by a bit, I mean a lot. Which is just as well because I recently tried six insane gin and tonics that explored what can happen when you throw a bit of imagination in when you mix two simple ingredients together.

Bombay Sapphire tasked six mixologists from some of my favourite London bars to reinterpret the ultimate gin and tonic. The results were innovative, slightly crazy and absolutely delicious.

A new Gin and Tonic

Nature’s Yield
George Simmons from Heddon Street Kitchen

Yes that is a Bonsai Tree with hanging tonic droplets. And yes that is exactly what you’ll receive at your table when you order one at the bar. Seriously.

Whoops Daisy
Andy Mill from Cocktail Trading Company

Gin and Tonic is a cocktail steeped in history, and Andy’s cocktail focuses on the journey it’s take over the last 20 years. And yes, once again this is exactly how your drink will be served.

Nettle Beer Collins
Marcis Dzelzainis from Sager & Wilde

Alcohol historically cured all manor of ailments (hot toddy anyone?) and Marcis’ concoction focuses on the health benefits of tonic back in the 1920s.

Gateway to Bombay
Dean Shurry from Chiltern Firehouse

Shurry’s drink gives a nod towards India, the birthplace of the gin and tonic.

G & Ice-T
Dav Eames from Gilbert Scott

This is the only thing I want to drink right now in this bizzare London heat. I mean how good does thyme and elderflower tonic snow sound?

Ariana’s Garden
Constanca Cordeiro from Peg & Patriot 

After an insane day at work can you think of anything better than popping over to Peg & Patriot, ordering one of these, slipping a pair of headphones on and escaping into nature? This is a cocktail inspired by the garden that comes with its own soundtrack so you can really escape for a little while.

You have six months to try all these delicious cocktails. On your marks, get set…

P.S. some photos from inside the Bombay Sapphire Distillery coming soon!

Strawberry and mint champagne cocktail recipe

image

We’ve spoken before about champagne cocktails. You know I’m not a fan. I mean, why waste perfectly good champagne in a mix?

But with all rules there’s always an exception. And the exception to never using champagne in a cocktail is when it’s a day or two old and there’s just a tad left. I’m a thrifty one with a love of repurposing and I can assure you this is one tasty way to avoid champagne waste.

Today I’m sharing a strawberry and mint champagne cocktail recipe. It’s fresh, summery and just a bit sweet. Full credit goes to my friend May who casually shared this simple concoction with me over lunch a few weeks ago.

Strawberry and mint champagne cocktail recipe

Ingredients

Leftover champagne
Lots of strawberries
Fresh mint leaves

Directions

Wash the strawberries. Use a mini sieve to squeeze the strawberry juice through to a jar.

Put two teaspoons of strawberry juice into each champagne glass with a sprig of mint. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with a strawberry.

No champagne on hand? Feel free to swap champagne for sparkling wine or Cava.

Cocktail masterclass London

I’m a gin or bourbon kinda gal, resorting to Vodka at a push on rare emergency occasions, so when Accor Hotels invited me along to a bloggers Rum masterclass last month I thought it was worth a shot (see what I did there?!) to broaden my spirit horizons.

If I’m honest, I’ve always been a bit funny about attending cocktail masterclasses. Maybe it’s because there are so many rubbish hen night ones with cheap alcohol and plastic glasses, but as an avid cocktail fan I never believed they could add much to my knowledge.

I am super pleased to say that I’ve found a cocktail masterclass in London worth attending. The cocktail masterclass at the Pullman Hotel in St Pancras was totally worth the trip; I met some lovely fellow bloggers, had a lot of fun and actually learnt a fair bit.

Case in point: when you’re making cocktails, always put the cheapest ingredient in first. That way you won’t ruin the spirits if you mess up. Smart, huh?

cocktail masterclass london st pancras

Before I ramble on, let’s get back to the cocktail masterclass. Above we have a photo of our lovely teacher, demonstrating how to shake a cocktail properly. She kept twelve of us on track after a couple of glasses of champagne each and some cheeky sips of rum. Bravo.
 
rum cocktail masterclass london

The workstations are really cute and super Instagrammable; just look at all the fun tools at your disposal! I had an inkling I was going to enjoy the masterclass when I saw an egg, lemon juice and vials of grenadine and red wine laid out ready and waiting.

rum cocktail masterclass st pancras

There were no budget spirits in this cocktail masterclass and I really did appreciate the variety of ingredients on offer. I learnt that there’s more to Rum than Bacardi and I had the opportunity to try some spirits and liqueurs I’d never had before.

cocktail masterclass st pancras

The space on the right was my working area, before I had a chance to mess it all up. The class is laid out really well so everyone can see the instructor and everyone has their own set of ingredients to use. I’m not sure if you can see it in the fruit bowl, but that bowl had everything in it! Limes, cherries, fresh mint, mango, dragon fruit…

bloggers cocktail masterclass london

We made four cocktails on the night. I’m pretty sure this one was a Jump into Guatamala (dark rum, amaretto, orange juice, pineapple and grenadine). The other cocktail recipes we learnt were for a Rum Sour, a Raspberry Espresso Martini and a Basil Pullman. The Raspberry Espresso Martini was my favourite 🍸

cocktail masterclass london

Here’s me and Emma (from Adventures of a London Kiwi) doing our best to keep our cocktail shakers from exploding. I think we did a pretty good job. Eventually.

I had a really fun evening but I guess the key question is whether I would pay to attend again – and the answer is a resounding yes. £35 for four cocktails on their own is practically a bargain by London hotel standards, and throw in a few friends and you have yourself a great night.

Thank you to Accor Hotels for inviting me along to the cocktail masterclass, and to Sammy for arranging it all. Special thanks to Attila Koroknai for the photos; let’s just say I’m not at my best behind the camera after four rum cocktails…

Doctor’s Orders at South Place Hotel bar

south place hotel bar london

Woodford Reserve bourbon masterclass at South Place Hotel bar London

 

I have some super exciting news… A cocktail recipe I created is going to be on the menu at a real bar!

Seriously, a real bar guys. One with more bottles of alcohol than you can imagine and really comfy seats and one where people may even pay money to drink my drink.

For a girl who grew up creating some seriously weird concoctions in her kitchen this is kind of a big deal. Just think Mum and Dad, all those times you painfully sipped mocktail after mocktail led to this. That hybrid of golden syrup, orange juice, coke and lime cordial was totally worth gulping down.

A month ago I was invited to a Woodford Reserve masterclass at the South Place Hotel bar. Obviously I’m going to enjoy any evening with bourbon as the focus and I had a really lovely time. We all had the opportunity to go away and create our own take on a classic American cocktail and I’m pleased to say that my creation, a little number called Doctor’s Orders, won.

The prize is a place on the menu at the South Place Hotel bar in London, a rather swell place close to Liverpool Street station. I’m not sure when the cocktail will go on the menu but when you see photos of me ordering cocktail after cocktail on Instagram you’ll know it’s available.

In the meantime feel free to make it yourself at home!

Thanks (again) to Woodford Reserve, Stir PR and South Place Hotel bar for the opportunity and for giving me a ‘fact that nobody knows about you’ answer I can use in every awkward team building exercise for the rest of my life.

P.S. you might like this London cheesecake recipe

Follow on Bloglovin

Strawberry tequila cocktail recipe

strawberry tequila cocktail recipe

Dry January didn’t last very long. Last Friday night I just needed to get creative in the kitchen and ended up making a Strawberry Tequila fizz. There was a small amount of champagne leftover which had lost most of it’s fizz that I couldn’t bring myself to throw away, and a handful of almost gone strawberries that needed to be used up. Add a bit of lime and the last drop of tequila taking up space in the cupboard and ta-dah, the perfect ingredients for this strawberry tequila fizz cocktail recipe.

After three weeks of no alcohol, only the odd cup of tea and lots of water I craved something with colour and flavour. This ticked the colour and flavour boxes and I savoured it more than ever. The Friday night cocktail service has resumed.

I used champagne, but prosecco or sparkling wine will do the job too. I wouldn’t buy a bottle of anything sparkling especially for this recipe, unless you love this recipe so much and want to make it en masse for a party. Personally I’m not a fan of putting perfectly good champagne in a cocktail, and only make champagne cocktails from the leftover remnants at the bottom of the bottle that nobody had the capacity to drink the previous night.

Similarly don’t rush out for strawberries if you have raspberries in the fridge already. I haven’t tried it, but I reckon blackberries would work well too. The drink has the potential to be pretty potent so if you’re serving it in a tumbler instead of a champagne glass, keep an eye on the amount you’re pouring out.

Strawberry tequila cocktail recipe

  • Tequila
  • Leftover champagne
  • Strawberries
  • Lime

Take four soft strawberries and chop them into small chunks. Place in a jug and muddle until all the juice has been released. Squeeze a quarter of a lime into the jug and sieve into a glass. Top with champagne.

Follow on Bloglovin

VOC

Much earlier this year (I know, im a little late with this one) I went to VOC in Kings Cross. Described as ‘a modern day interpretation of a Punch House inspired by the Dutch East India Company’ they have tried their best with the decor and menu, but the interpretation was a little too on the modern side for me.

I had high hopes as it was created by the Fluid Movement, the same people behind Purl Marylebone and The Whistling Shop in Shoreditch. Apparently the drinks created are ‘inspired from a bygone era with a modern Interpretation, using seasonal produce and the latest molecular mixology techniques’, but my Bergamot Grog was a bit of a letdown. It apparently contained a whole host of interesting ingredients but in reality it tasted like your standard fruity cocktail which was a little disappointing.

It’s a nice little place though, small and cosy inside. Not very authentic (the music certainly isn’t) but the chairs are comfy in that old fashioned kind of way. It’s hidden away in Regents Corner in Kings Cross so we popped across to Camino for tapas and sherry afterwards – which is far superior, better value for money and worthy of its own review (coming very soon).

VOC Grill on Urbanspoon

the blues kitchen bourbon

The Blues Kitchen, Camden

The Blues Kitchen is a fun place to grab some American food for dinner, and they have a huge choice of cocktails you can wash it down with. Their sweet potato fries are delicious – as are their bourbon based cocktails. They also accept tastecards, but be prepared to spend any savings you make on food on more cocktails – one is never enough when they taste as good as they do.

The Blues Kitchen is in Camden (North London), and they have live music playing several nights of the week. It can get pretty loud so go earlier rather than later if you want to get a good chat in with your dinner dates.

I might be wrong (we tried a few different drinks that night) but I think the image below is of bourbon, soda and lime. Which is delicious.

the blues kitchen bourbon

The Blues Kitchen on Urbanspoon