A weekend full of Brighton, Gin & Cheese… Bliss.

We pretty much had a few days free to do as we liked this weekend. Surprisingly, neither of us had much work to on, which gave us plenty of time to get out and about in London town. Unfortunately, the plans we’d made were instantly scuppered, as the London Overground was closed, making anywhere pretty difficult to get anywhere. It was a choice of rail replacement or bust. So we went bust and stayed local on Saturday… Let’s just take a moment to curse the blasted rail works that need to be done during our weekend leisure time… #$@&%*!? That’s better.

It wasn’t all bad, as we ended stocking up the fridge with cheese a-plenty (mmm… cheese) and spent some time indulging in gin cocktails. We’ve been testing out Ophir gin over the past few days and I have to say it’s pretty good – A very different gin with a strong cardamom flavour, which some like to serve with chilli…. Not me. I’ll take it alone thanks!

Opihr Gin

My current favourite cheese from Waitrose. You must try it… Um, that’s if you like your cheese to be nice and pungent!

Waitrose Berthaut's Epoisses cheese

 

Before the drink (always wise), we paid a quick visit to Brixton and bagged these lovely cards designed by illustrator Rosie Webb. I intend to frame a few and try to find a spot for them on the stairs… wish me luck. That space is filling up fast.

Rosie Webb

Today, after a minor set back of the car and house keys being inside the house whilst we were outside (Doh), we managed to hot foot it to Brighton to spend a few hours in the lanes. We pretty much just shopped, ate ice cream and wore out the little dog by the sea front…

Brighton Pier

Gelato Gusto Brighton

We’ve been looking for a salad bowl for ages… and today I finally settled on this bamboo bowl from Oliver Bonas. Love.

Bamboo Bowl

We’re now supping more gin and eating a little more cheese before the weekend comes to a close – That’s after Alex cooked me yet another delicious Sri Lankan Duck Curry from the Simply Cook recipe kits. If you haven’t tried them, then I suggest giving it a go! Yum.

Simply Cook box

Well, that was my weekend. I hope yours was fab x

The London Gin Club

It’s fair to say that Alex and I have built up quite a collection of different gins in our house over the past six months. I used to be an avid wine drinker, but found that the after effects were a bit too much to handle, so moved onto gin, which seems to work much better for me. Mothers Ruin? Not in this house! We love a glass of gin every now and then, or a few gin cocktails over the weekend. Gin, gin, gin… I bloody love the stuff!

I follow a few gin blogs and am not sure why it has taken me this long to get involved and become a member of The London Gin Club. This marvelous club was launched in March 2012 and is located at The Star at Night bar in Soho. You don’t need to be a member to go and drink there, but who wouldn’t want to be part of this club?! You also don’t need to like gin, as many other drinks are served there. I’m not quite sure why you would want to go and not sample some new gin flavours though, but that’s easily said by a gin lover of epic proportions!

Alex and I went along to the Star At Night for the first time on Friday evening. We booked in advance and it was a good job we did – The place was buzzing and people were being turned away at 7.30pm. Things quietened down a bit later, but I don’t think there was an empty table for more than 10 minutes all night in the upstairs seating area. The bar itself stocks over 60 gins and they serve them in large balloon glasses (which opens up the flavours), accompanied by huge chunks of ice. They also serve platters, olives and small pies of which we ordered most of whilst we were there. The food took a long time to come, but the staff were doing the best they could and we had our gin to keep us company anyway.

We opted to try both of the tasting menus on the night, and boy was this a good decision! These menus change on a monthly basis and you get four different glasses of gin, each one falling into a different taste category (dry, sweet, floral, savoury etc). It’s best to have each gin with the same tonic, so you can compare the flavours and each comes with a different garnish. I now see gin in a totally different light. Unless I have a cocktail, I always just pour gin into a glass, add tonic and ice and drink it. This is great, but adding a garnish takes it to a whole other level!

I have to say this night out was one of my favourite for a while. The service was very attentive from the off, and the atmosphere in the bar was just perfect. The Star at night is a tables only bar and I love to sit down and drink. None of that standing around and get bashed about whilst people push passed you. Perfect!

Unfortunately. I failed to get any good pictures to show you because the bar is quite dimly lit and I forgot my DSLR. I have however, dragged out all my gin from behind our bar for you to take a peak at. I am yet to decide which is my favourite now we have started to add garnishes to the mix, but I’m known to ask for Beefeater 24 and Hendricks more frequently than the others.

 

 

Drinks we tried on the night…

Tasting menu 1  (£21 – £18 members)

25ml gin & Fever Tree tonic

London No 1: orange and blueberry
Adnams First Rate: thyme & olive
Colonel Fox: Lemon & raspberry
Sacred: grapefruit & rosemary

Tasting Menu 2 (£25 – £22 members)

No 3: Sicilian olive
Williams: pear
Geranium: orange peel
209: grapefruit

I also tried a Seventh Heaven cocktail, which was made with The London Gin Club’s very own gin (more info HERE).
Seventh Heaven is a very sweet gin made with vanilla syrup, lemon juice and plum bitters.

 

 

If you love gin and live in London, then I urge you to go. You can register to become a member in advance online here:
http://thelondonginclub.wordpress.com/contact-us
– Membership is free and if you remember to get your card stamped, then you get your 10th drink for free. What’s not to love? Sadly, we didn’t get the membership discount on the night, as the waitress thought that we wanted to register on the night and signed us up all over again. A bit of miscommunication that lost us a few £s, but for such a wonderful night all will be forgiven.

I loved it and I can’t wait to go back!

 

The London Gin Club & Bar – The Star at Night, 22 Great Chapel Street, Soho, W1F 8FR

 

 

Grey Goose Vodka Cocktail

In my last blog post, I mentioned that Grey Goose Taste by Appointment had created me a bespoke cocktail suited to my own personal tastes. It would certainly be rude of me not to share it with you, as I’m sure plenty of you will find it as tasty as I did. This is quite similar to a gin cocktail that I drink, but we have decided to purchase a bottle vodka and plan to sample the best of both worlds.

Unfortunately, we’d had a few too many cocktails by the time we got to this one so we failed to get a picture – It’s the taste that counts!

RECIPE
35ml GREY GOOSE vodka
Dash Tonic
25ml Kwaiteh lychee liqueur
20 ml fresh lime juice
3 x fresh strawberries
 
GARNISH
Rim glass with a slice of cucumber and discard. Add some Fresh strawberries

GLASS
Flute

METHOD
Muddle, shake and double strain
Top with tonic water

Discover your personal taste HERE

Enjoy x

Gin Cocktail Recipes

One of the most popular searches that bring people to my blog is Gin. I bloody LOVE the stuff! As it’s the weekend, I thought I’d post a few more gin cocktail recipes that I intend to try out very soon. I’ve been staying in a lot lately whilst we save to go away to San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a sneaky tipple or two.

Let’s see how these all go down shall we.

Cosmic Granny

1 shot Hendricks Gin
1 shot grand marnier
1 barspoon lime
1 shot Pomegranate

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well for 10-15 secs. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Gin and Tea

60ml Beefeater 24 Gin
75ml chilled English Breakfast Tea
20ml blackberry and lavender shrub (Recipe HERE)
10ml sugar syrup

Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled highball glass. Squeeze a lemon wedge into the glass and discard. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Recipe sourced from the Gin and Tales website.

The 12 ingredients used in Beefeater 24 are:Japanese Sencha Tea, Chinese green tea and then Seville orange peel, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, juniper, coriander seed, liquorice, angelica root, almond and orris root

GORDON’S PINK LADY

40ml Gordon’s gin
25ml triple sec
20ml lemon juice|
A raspberry to garnish

Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain into a martini glass.
Garnish your Pink Lady with a raspberry.

Serve in a martini glass.

Cucumber-Rosemary Gin and Tonic

1 cucumber
1 lime
3 sprigs rosemary
2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
4 oz. tonic water (preferably Q or Fever-Tree)
ice

Peel one half of a cucumber, and slice a lime into eight wedges. In a highball glass, add three slices of peeled cucumber, 1 sprig rosemary, juice from a lime wedge and 1 ounce gin. Muddle with the back of a spoon.

Strain through a mesh strainer into a second highball glass. Add several cubes of ice, and three slices of unpeeled cucumber. Top with remaining gin and tonic, and serve garnished with rosemary sprigs.


Pic & recipe courtesy of  The Kitchn:

Feel free to share your gin recipes with us all. Have you got some favourite gin cocktail recipes?

Gin And Elderflower Cocktails

I used to be able to knock back wine like nobody’s business, but then I hit thirty and it all became at little too much. You know the story… Night out. Drink lots of wine. Sore for days. Ouch! Drastic measures needed to be taken for me and my nights out to go the distance, so I shifted gear and moved onto gin and everything seemed a little less sore.

There is nothing quite like a simple gin and tonic after a hard days work (especially a Hendricks), but when the weekend kicks in I like to shake it up and add a few more flavours to the mix. My current favourite accompaniment to gin is elderflower and I’ve been trying out a few cocktails to find the perfect drink for the weekend…

Gin and elderflower sherbert

Makes 1 large tumbler or split into 2 martini glasses

50ml elderflower cordial
50ml good quality gin
a handful of ice
150ml bitter lemon
a few strips of lemon zest

Mix the elderflower cordial and gin together in a small glass or cup.  Add crushed ice to the glass then pour over the gin mixture. Top with bitter lemon and a few strips of lemon zest. Yum! This is becoming one of my firm favourites.

Gin & Elderflower Cocktails

Lychee Martini

Makes 2 martinis

4 lychees in syrup, from a can
50ml Gin
50ml Vermouth
25ml Lychee syrup

Put 1 lychee into each of 2 cocktail glasses, then place them carefully in the freezer for 20 minutes to get really cold.
Put the remaining lychees into a cocktail shaker, along with a good handful of ice, the lychee syrup, the gin and vermouth. Shake it and strain into cocktail glasses. Drink. Enjoy… Oh, and if you don’t shake too hard you can even eat the remaining lychees.

I adapted to suit my tastebuds  – You may prefer to make it with vodka the Jamie Oliver way.
Picture pinched from Mr Oliver.

Elderflower Martini

Makes 1 Martini

25ml Elderflower cordial
25ml gin
25ml dry vermouth
Juice of half a lime

Add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake it all about and pour into a martini glass. This one really works best with Hendricks gin but you can use any. I find Noilly Prat to be the best vermouth, but that is also down to personal taste.


Now, I’m heading off to go and make one – It is a bank holiday after all!
It would be great to hear some of your favourite gin or elderflower cocktail recipes.