It’s summer, it’s nearly the weekend. So it’s hardly a surprise when conversation in the kitchen turned to cocktails today.
The real surprise was what tipple proved most popular with my team. By the way, this is a team that regularly rubs shoulders with some of the UK’s top mixologists, and gets to test out some pretty mind-blowing alcoholic concoctions (tough life isn’t it?).
Yet what came out as the beverage of choice for most in the kitchen today? The humble gin and tonic.
And while I would normally plump for something else – Dirty Vodka Martini if you’re asking – I must say it warms the heart to know the G&T is still a winner.
Originating in Holland, gin has a special place in the UK’s drinks cabinet – particularly in London, where it was enthusiastically – and perhaps disgracefully – embraced under the reign of King William of Orange in 1689.
Notoriously nicknamed Mother’s Ruin, the history of the Juniper berry-infused spirit has been far from squeaky clean. In the 1700s, hundreds of distilleries were churning out poor-quality, cheap gin (terrifying, sometimes made using sulphuric acid) and the result was riots, destitution and despair.
But by the mid-1800s, gin had cleaned up its act and the development of the now world-famous dry London gin helped it climb the ladder into respectability.
Nowadays, it’s a drink with a glint in its eye. Effortlessly classy in a James Bond shaken-not-stirred kind of a way, but with a nod to its raucous, hellraising history.
There’s a multitude of ways to serve a good gin cocktail, but the best place to start is with a damn fine Martini. Simple and elegant, it’s a timeless classic.
This is your essential cocktail for entertaining. Sorry, I have to disagree with Bond on this one – it needs to be stirred. Shaking creates a cloudy cocktail and melts more of the ice, diluting the alcohol.
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the gin and vermouth and stir until cold. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an olive.