I am very familiar with the flavour of bergamot, being an avid Earl Grey fan, but I had never seen or tasted the bergamot lemon itself. A mystical fruit that I thought was confined to tea makers and lucky Mediterranean gardens. Then I found I could order some beautiful organic ones along with my veg box; it would be rude not to. My first thought when I got them was to add a slice to some hot water, just to smell and taste them. But then I remembered I had some gin, and, you know, why not? Hello bergamot gin and tonic.
- 1 bergamot lemon
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 75ml gin
- Tonic (a good quality one)
- Bergamot peel to decorate, if you’re so inclined
Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small saucepan. Considering they are slightly larger than limes they hold an amazing amount of juice.
Add the sugar to the lemon juice then place the saucepan on a medium heat and warm the juice and sugar together. Stir and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and you have a thin syrup. Leave to cool.
Mix the gin and syrup together then divide between two glasses. Top each glass with tonic and add a swirl of peel if you like.
In a world where you can get your hands on almost any flavour or ingredient, certainly not a bad thing, it is a genuine treat to try something new for the very first time. An excuse to celebrate simplicity. I took this slight twist on a gin and tonic to my favourite chair in the afternoon sunshine and enjoyed every sip. The jury’s out on whether bergamot is a lemon or an orange (I’m team lemon) and the taste is just exquisite; acidic and very distinctive. I love citrus at this time of year especially and, to make the most of this delicious ingredient, there are a few more bergamot themed recipes coming up.