I’ll stick a herb in pretty much anything and adding or infusing herbs in drinks or cocktails is always delicious. My Orange and Rosemary Martini is particularly excellent for two reasons: first, it uses those fantastic big oranges that you can get at this time of year and second, that faint hint of rosemary is so distinctive it makes for a really refreshing martini. It looks inviting, it’s easy to make and the flavours take the edge of a plain martini (which I can find a bit harsh). This would work really well with leftover rosemary in the back of the fridge, or those sprigs you popped in the freezer. However you make it, and you should, make sure you’ve got a nice comfy chair and a book ready and waiting.
I made my quince gin as a way to use some of those delicious fuzzy fruits that grow in the garden. The gin has come out a wonderful, pale canary yellow colour and makes a divine gin and tonic. It is in fact so delicious that it deserved a mix up of its own, something to complement the quince’s distinctive flavour. I love using herbs in drinks and puddings and I wanted to add a botanical twang to this drink. A Lime, Thyme and Quince Gin Cocktail is the way forward. Trust me.
You will need (per drink):
Having put quinces through their baking paces (adding them to crumbles or baking them with honey) I wanted to see how else I could use them. Steeping them with gin seemed like a logical step; the unique flavour of quince I thought would work really well, and it does. I set about making some quince gin and I made a little film about it too. It’s the first film I’ve made and I have a new YouTube channel too, check it out below!
I love the light golden colour that the finished gin has and the delicious, almost tropical taste, the quince gives. This is just the tipple for cold, dark nights with your thickest slippers and a cosy blanket.
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.
You will need (for two drinks):
- 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.
I have been so busy this year that I have run out of time to make my own sloe gin. It’s not the end of the world though as I have some of last year’s stash left and once that’s gone there are some delicious ready steeped and drained sloe gins around. As much as I enjoy a classic sloe gin and tonic there’s much enjoyment to be had mixing up something different.
You will need:
- 50ml sloe gin (I used last year’s batch of sloe gin),
- 10 basil leaves,
- 1 tsp brown sugar,
- Soda water to top up,
- Ice cubes
Add the basil and brown sugar to a cocktail shaker or big glass. Use a muddler (or the end of a rolling pin if you don’t have one) to bash the basil and sugar together.
Pour the gin in with the basil and add several ice cubes to the shaker. Give everything a good shake (or stir if you’re using a glass) then strain the gin into another glass and top up with the soda water.
If you fancy giving some of the other festive cocktails a try on thebar you can find plenty of recipes here.
The combination of basil with the sharp, sweet sloe gin and the slight caramel flavour with the brown sugar was divine and a really nice alternative from the mint that you would normally use in a mojito. The joy of this particular cocktail is that if you want to make a virgin one, just use some blackcurrant cordial instead of the sloe gin (only 25ml though as it’s much sweeter) and it’s so good! As I’ve got some mint in the garden and occasionally buy basil I can see this slojito making a few appearances in my kitchen using either herb. An ideal long drink to sip snuggled up on the sofa with a good film when it’s cold outside.
This is a sponsored post with Diageo and I was reimbursed for my time and ingredients. All opinions and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me.
I like tea and I like gin. I particularly like earl grey and gin based cocktails so I thought it was about time that I got creative with my cocktail shaker and tried these two tastes together. Not for my own benefit of course, all in the name of experimenting. Whenever I make a cocktail I am always amazed at how the slight slip of a hand can affect the end taste of the drink; too sweet, too acidic, too much alcohol. Then again, you can add a bit more of this and a bit less of that depending on your tastes.
You will need (per drink):
- 1 heaped tsp earl grey loose leaf tea
- 125ml water
- 20g sugar
- 50ml gin
- Juice 1 lemon
Make a strong earl grey by adding the loose leaf tea to 75ml of boiling water and leaving it to stand for 5 minutes. Remove the tea leaves when done.
Simmer together the remaining 50ml water and the sugar in a small pan until the sugar is fully dissolved and you have a syrup. Leave the syrup to cool slightly then add the stir in the tea.
Into a glass (a pretty one helps) pour the tea syrup (around 50ml), gin and the lemon juice.
Sit back, relax and sip.
I topped mine with some little dried cornflowers. Just because.
This is truly a tipple to enjoy on a warm afternoon. A glass of this, sat outside in some dappled shade and everything is just marvellous. The flavours are as you would expect; the delicate bergamot from the earl grey giving everything a lovely flavour. The balance of sweetness to acidic lemon to gin, to my taste, is spot on. Also, as it doesn’t need any really special ingredients you could knock up a batch at a moment’s notice. Topping the cocktail with cornflowers doesn’t add anything other than making it look pretty; and why not.
As much as it’s lovely to have plenty of ideas for food to cook with a festive feel you can’t very well just make do with mulled wine for the month of December. No indeed. At some point in my life I went from having no spirits in the house to being on the verge of opening a drinks emporium. It seems to have crept up on me (I’m sure it has to everyone) and I have all sorts of odds and ends to do something with. The brandy is being used to make sloe or damson port but the four different gins I have going on need to be used up. It’s getting ridiculous.
You will need (per drink):
37.5ml damson (or sloe) gin
1 lychee from a can plus 3 tsp of the syrup
Champagne to top up
It’s not particularly complicated but who can be bothered with all that exuberant shaking when you’ve just eaten a disgraceful amount of roast potatoes?
Pour the gin into a glass; over ice if you’d like. Plonk the lychee in with the syrup then top it up with Champagne.
You might want to play around with this recipe a little; if your gin is particularly sweet or sharp you may need a little more or less lychee syrup.
I think this would be lovely with normal gin too but the damson gin does give it a nice colour. It looks a little like you’ve put a ping pong ball in the glass but by the time you’ve drunk this wonderful drink you are left with an alcohol soaked, soft mouthful of fruit to get your teeth around. It tastes like a sophisticated, time consuming cocktail but it takes barely a minute to make. Perfect to knock up quickly and enjoy slowly; ideally with a mince pie and a log fire.
It’s nice to have a cupboard full of foraged wares. Currently I am housing sloe port made with sloes that were steeping in gin for two years, a nine month damson gin and I am now using the gin soaked damsons to kick off a batch of damson port. I’ve been busy. As nice as it is to sip the damson gin like a thin fruity syrup it’s also nice to be able to jazz it up sometimes.
After nine months of steeping the damson gin has come out a glorious, deep, rich red colour and it is asking to be made into a long drink. This is my perfect summer evening tipple. If I don’t have lemonade in the house it is just as good with a bit of tonic. It doesn’t look fancy, it’s not got any frills but when it tastes this good and fresh it doesn’t need any.
There is a bit of an elderflower theme going on at the moment on here but I do like to make the most of something while it’s around. Having the elderflower syrup present in my kitchen means I am forever thinking up new ways of using it. I adore strawberries and mint and they are heavenly together so I felt like being brave, getting my muddler out and knocking up a summery cocktail. With all this glorious sunshine it would be rude not to.
I was never a fan of jelly and ice cream. I’m afraid that even when I was five I had standards and high expectations of jelly and ice cream that a children’s party just could not match. I went off jelly after several wobbly strawberry attempts for many years. I tried it in trifle too (not for me) and it wasn’t until I decided to make my own jelly that I appreciated just what a marvel it can be. Now I’m a grown up and I like jelly I’ve also realised I quite like gin. It’s about time these two met each other. Welcome to my gin and tonic mini jellies.