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I was really looking forward to this Bank Holiday weekend, with no plans apart from visiting family and a swimming gala on Saturday. The weather was forecast to be good on both Saturday on Sunday with chance of rain on Monday so with gin and mixers in hand, that were bought during our trip to Asda on Friday, we were set for a good weekend.
You can see pictures from our Asda shop in my Google+ album here.
Sunday morning we spent tidying up the garden, clearing out some of the garage, taking apart a playhouse and building the new garden furniture that we bought at Asda during the gin shop. In the afternoon my parents came up, and my Mum being the seasoned gin and tonic lover that she is was an ideal guinea pig to try my cocktails. Using a little cocktail book of mine (150 Classic Cocktails by Chancellor Press) I set to work making the first (of many) gin based cocktails, using the attractively packaged Bombay Sapphire.
With plenty of ice loaded up in my 50p carboot sale bargain glass ice bucket and some ready made sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated gently in a pan until the sugar has dissolved) I made a very refreshing Albermarle Fizz.
Albermarle Fizz - serves 1
4-6 Ice Cubes
1 measure (25ml) Gin
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 dashes of Raspberry Syrup (I used Chambord Raspberry Liquor)
1/2 tsp Sugar Syrup
Soda Water to top up
Cocktail Cherries to decorate
- Mix the ice, gin, lemon juice and syrups together
- Pour into a glass and top up with soda water
- Decorate with cherries
I tripled the measures and made in a jug, which we enjoyed sitting on the new garden furniture in the sunshine with friends who had also joined us for the evening. I think out of all the cocktails this was my favourite, a very light & refreshing drink that slipped down easily in the sunshine.
Next we tried a simple, but just as refreshing Gin and Bitter Cranberry. Bitter Cranberry is fizzy and fruity just like bitter lemon, but with cranberries instead of lemon, obviously. With lots of ice it's perfect for a hot day.
On Monday I continued the weekend of Bank Holiday Gin cocktails and invited some friends round to sample more of the Bombay Sapphire delights. The friends, who are normally vodka rather than gin drinkers, were surprised how nice the cocktails were, with a very subtle and not at all overpowering taste of gin. After being almost blown away in the garden we decided to party in the warmth of the kitchen.
We started off gently with a gin and pink grapefruit fizz - a measure of gin mixed with equal parts pink grapefruit juice and soda water and plenty of ice - the only criticism was that the grapefruit juice had bits in as I picked up the wrong one.
We then tried a gin and orange fizz - the same as the grapefruit but with orange juice - how clever!
Last but not least, and a favourite with my friends, was a Sydney Fizz, which I made a couple of jugs of.
Sydney Fizz - Serves 1
4-5 Ice cubes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp Grenadine
1 measure Gin
Equal parts soda water and Orange juice to top up (although by this point I had run out of soda water and topped up instead with bitter lemon)
Again I tripled the measures and made it up in a jug
A small amount of dancing may have been involved, accompanied by lots of laughing, followed by some mighty nibbles of home-made oven baked chips and oven roasted sausage bites and vegetables, with barbecue and ranch dips.
We never got around to trying out one of the cocktails that I really wanted to make so the French '75 will have to wait until next time.
French '75 - serves 1
1 measure gin
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp Caster sugar
Chilled champagne or sparkling dry white wine
orange slice to decorate
When all the fun is over you can rinse the empty Bombay Sapphire bottle out, scrub off the label and have a lovely bottle which I'm sure can be upcycled into something very useful - any ideas gratefully received.