In what might come as a bit of a shock to you, I didn’t like gin until recently.
I know, I know: if you’re a woman of a certain age working in a certain sector or having given birth to a certain amount of children, gin is supposed to be a survival thing. “Gin O’Clock!” we’re assumed to exclaim daily as the clock ticks over to 7pm (or is it 6? or even 5?), before pouring ourselves a large measure of the botanical stuff over a mountain of ice, glugging it down while our angels play with their fish fingers.
Not me: until this year I really wasn’t that fussed with it. Give me a lovely glass of wine over a hard taste of a spirit, I’d say.
But then I got to know gin a little better. Some of the loveliest women around were extolling the virtues of this tingy tangy drink; I was intrigued at the combinations of mixers (my favourites are Fentimans and of course, Fever-Tree) and to be honest, the bottles are just so pretty. I’ve since discovered the complexities in the different varieties of gin can be quite mind-blowing, and it’s lovely to sip on this refreshing and tasty drink as an alternative to the somewhat heavier glass of wine.
So now I will happily order a glass of Hendricks with cucumber on a (rare) night out, or request an afternoon Gin Fizz (YUM) on holiday. And, when I’m at home, I do love to experiment with my own collection come cocktail hour. Gin O’Clock, indeed.
Here are three of my favourite ways to drink gin inspired by three brilliant women in my life. I raise a little glass to each of them each time I mix their respective drinks, and what better way to pay tribute to them than with gin?
The INPO Life Basil Smash
Vicky INPO is one of the loveliest, most positive and happiest women I know, and it’s impossible to be within six feet of her without breaking into the biggest grin. Owner of the most beautiful gin rainbow in the whole of Britain (probably), Vicky posted this recipe over on her Instagram this summer and I was immediately hooked. I’d never made a cocktail with basil before, but by gosh this works:
50ml Gin – I like Adnams for this one
Handful Basil leaves
25ml Fresh lemon juice
15ml Sugar syrup (it’s mega easy to make your own)
- Put basil and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker; I have lost mine so used a Kilner jar which worked fine. If you want more of a basil taste you can muddle the ingredients at this point (I use the end of a rolling pin)
- Add three cubes of ice and give the shaker a really good shake.
- Add the sugar syrup and lemon juice and give another good shake.
- Enjoy – and then make another because there’s no way you can stick with just one ;)
The Collagin Grapefruit Gin
I adore Collagin: Gin infused with collagin, what’s not to love?! Led by two brilliant women who you may recognise from a very successful appearence on Dragon’s Den, Cam and Liz (I have an interview with Cam to look forward to soon!), this gin tastes beautiful and comes in a bottle that wouldn’t look out of place on a dressing table.
Cam and Liz recommends Collagin is best served with slices of grapefruit, and I can confirm this is one of my current favourite drinks.
Rhubarb Gin and Ginger
This is a drink that was introduced to me at the village pub by my friend Amy; her daughter’s middle name is Juniper so you know she’ll be into her gin. It’s a simultaneously refreshing yet warming drink and is the one I reach for if I need something a little sweeter come Gin O’Clock (yep, I said it).
The Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin is served over ice and then topped off with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale. Bonus points if you pop a little sprig of rosemary in there: delicious.
Tell me, as I am a newly-converted gin fan, what are your favourite ways to drink gin?