Who else missed World Gin Day? Yup, that’s me raising my hand too. It was on 13th June this year, and this would have actually been the first year I would have taken part, as it’s taken me all of my drinking years (yes gin police, that would be from 18yrs old ahem), to actually get my head around gin.
NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING.
Slightly off tangent here, but hang in there. I only realised I liked tea after being in China and experiencing really good green tea in it’s homeland. I then came to realise it was black tea, and specifically milk in tea, that I couldn’t stand. Even now it gives me the heebies to think about it. And lo and behold I became a herbal tea fan in my late twenties. Unfortunately Ethiopia didn’t have quite the same effect on me with coffee, guess I just gotta visit more coffee producing countries. Shame.
Well the same thing happened with Gin. The big G&T. I was a rum and coke kinda girl for so long. But in your twenties when you’re knocking back a few more then necessary on a night out, coke was getting a bit much, and then when I entered the more respectable years of my life I started trying cocktails. But Gin & Tonic. Nah, not for me. I just couldn’t hack it. Then much like the tea story, I soon realised it was the tonic I couldn’t stand, so much bitterness.
This left me to experiment with Gin mixers, but also trying a nice Gin Liqueur on the rocks. It was actually The Gin Bothy that got me off on the hunt for a decent gin. I witnessed them receive a whopping great prize at Scottish Edge, and thought ‘What’s this Gin thing about?’. And so it began…
A CHALICE OF DREAMS.
Whilst on holiday last year in Orkney and Shetland, I found the Holy Grail of all Gins. I’m actually a little hesitant about giving you the secret, as it’s just too good. But I give you the Orkney Gin Company: Rhubarb Old Tom Gin. Holy Moly. And with ginger ale. But don’t let the rhubarb gin flavour put you off from trying with other things. It goes with so many flavours. Especially ones that might be growing in your garden, or out on a foraging walk.
And that’s exactly what I did, on a school night, I went and picked some Elderflower, made a nice gomme syrup (as those fancy mixologists like to call it) and popped it in with a bit of home grown mint and tonic, yes tonic. After all that fuss of not liking tonic, I’ve found the perfect combination. Add a bit of a sweetener, and use a really good tonic. It brings the bitterness right down. I have a pretty large pile of Bon Accord Tonic hanging around from the cafe days, and it’s coming in rather handy now. Especially with this lockdown shenanigans. And an Edinburgh based company. Winner.
So here you have it, a nice summery rhubarb gin cocktail that will make you feel like you’ve done something to earn it. Pair it with our Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad we did in our last blog and you have yourself a nice seasonal chomp.
And here’s a picture of an elderflower tree, very seasonal at the moment. They’re just coming out in Scotland, so go get ‘em tiger. I’ve been informed by my Mum that unfortunately the elderflower season has been and gone in England, but nae worries, you can substitute the elderflower for so many things: mint, thyme, ginger, lime….
RHUBARB GIN COCKTAIL WITH ELDERFLOWER
FOR THE SYRUP:
200g caster sugar
Around 8 sprigs of elderflower
FOR EVERYTHING ELSE:
25ml of Orkney Gin Company Rhubarb Gin (or any other but I recommend this highly)
15ml elderflower syrup
Bon Accord Tonic
Sprig of mint
Chuck all of the syrup ingredients in a pan over a medium heat. Leave to simmer for around half an hour.
Leave the elderflower in the syrup until cooled, then sieve. The syrup will be enough for a few days worth.
Serve with all of the other ingredients and lots of ice. How easy is that? Now you can experiment with other flavours too. Slainte!