London

The Sun is Shining – That Makes It Gin O'Clock!

This winter has been hard. It’s been long, and miserable, and grey…and I honestly had started to wonder if it was going to be endless. But just when I thought it was time to pack up and leave this city and fly off to somewhere that occasionally sees some warmth, the universe has rewarded us for our loyalty, and treated us to some glorious spring sunshine.

In my opinion, London is one of the most beautiful cities in the world when bathed in sunlight. There’s something about the way the afternoon sun hits the corners of buildings, and sunbeams streak through the trees, casting dancing shadows on the pavement. Strangers, unbelievably start to smile at each other when the sun is out, and it’s finally light enough to meet up with friends after work, and warm enough to sit outside, enjoying the last on the sun’s rays, sipping on a G&T.

Mmmmm, Gin. My absolute favourite drink for when the sun is shining. Crisp, dry and refreshing – there’s absolutely nothing nicer on a warm evening. My love of a good Malbec evaporates as soon as the air warms up, and is replaced by the seasonal adoration of the Juniper Berry. Is it too early for one now? (Checks watch. 11.11am. Yes.)

I’ve always been a little lazy when it comes to gin, in all honesty, as I’ve pretty much always stuck to Gin & Tonics. But, with my recent acquisition of this rather fancy Andrew James Cocktail Set, and the hope of a new flat with a garden in the coming weeks, I’m ready to get adventurous and try something new. Cocktail me up, baby!

There are so many delicious varieties of gin you could use, all perfect in their own way. Some are infused with cucumber, others are jazzed up with different fruits, licorice or spices and of course, there are the more traditional versions. The one I always have chilling in my freezer at home is Tanqueray 10 – perfectly smooth and crisp, which makes it ideal for summer gin cocktails.

Here are 2 recipes that I am absolutely dying to try (when it gets past 6pm, obviously. I’m not a raving alcoholic. Cough). Please do let me know if you have any favourites that I should test out too…the comment box is waiting for your ideas.

Gin Palace Punch by Erik LorinczGin Palace Punch

(by Erik Lorincz,  Head Bartender of the American Bar at The Savoy)

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • Lemon oleo sacharum*
  • 30ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 15ml Caster sugar
  • 10ml Fino dry sherry
  • 15ml Sette Ratafia liqueur (a dash of fruity, spicy red wine could be used as an alternative here)
  • Lemon peel garnish

*see below, not as obscure as it sounds!

Method:

  • Muddle fresh lemon skin, caster sugar and lemon juice to make the lemon oleo sacharum and mix the ingredients in a shaker with plenty of ice
  • Strain into a white wine glass and add fresh ice cubes
  • Garnish with a lemon peel

Easy, huh! And sounds absolutely delicious -so refreshing on a warm day .

London Calling Gin Cocktail by Diego CabreraLondon Calling

(by Diego Cabrera, fancy Argentinian Mixologist)

Ingredients:

  • 30ml Tanqueray No. TEN
  • 40ml Pimms No. 1
  • 20ml Lemon juice
  • 10ml of Campari
  • 20ml sugar syrup (or two teaspoons of white sugar)
  • Slice of lemon
  • 1 stick of celery

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients in a large whisky glass (or champagne saucer if you have one) and stir
  • Top with plenty of ice
  • Garnish with a lemon slice and stick of celery
  • NOTE: To soften the bitterness or strength of the punch, water down with soda

I think this one was made for me! I absolutely love Gin, and Pimms, and anything named “London Calling” is going to have a special place in my heart.

These are definitely being made at my house this Bank Holiday weekend – and the best bit is it gives me the perfect excuse to buy loads of random booze bottles and set up my own “bar”, like my parents had when I was small (full of drinks no-one had heard of they’d brought back from holidays).

I’d love to hear if you tried these recipes too, and what you think. Don’t forget to let me have your favourite cocktail recipes too…I will definitely try them x

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