Cocktail Hour: Grapefruit, Basil and Peppercorn Gin & Tonics
I enjoy two different types of drinks at home. There is the glass of wine from an already open bottle I pour myself after work while I’m trying to throw dinner together, the hastily mixed G&T after a very long day, and whatever Asian beer is on offer in the off-licence around the corner to go with the Chinese food I ordered as I was leaving the office. Or, there is the slightly slower, more leisurely drink I take my time over at the weekends, or on a warm and sunny evening when I’ve made it home early. This gin and tonic serve is one of those leisurely drinks, inspired my my all time favourite gin to serve with my tonic: Gin Mare.
I was already slightly in love with Gin Mare after I tried it as part of a selection set before they invited me to a lunch at Rocksalt in Folkestone, but it was there (and at subsequent meals at Mark Sargent’s other Kent restaurants The Duke William in Ickham and The Wife of Bath in Wye, all of which offer Gin Mare as their house serve) I started really getting into which flavours in the glass really brought the gin out at its best. So, my current favourite G&T serve was born: fresh grapefruit and basil inspired by the house serve at The Wife of Bath (see it here), and lightly crushed peppercorns to bring out the savoury notes in the gin that are so celebrated in it’s menu listing at The London Gin Club (which I’d really recommend a visit to!)
I’ve also like to note that this is not a sponsored post: while I’ve been to events with them and they have given me a bottle in the past, it is genuinely the gin I drink at home when I’m not playing with something new for different recipes (I do still love to try new gins!) You can of course use whatever gin and tonics you wish, but the gin and the tonic usually matches the garnish, so my recommendation would be to pair Gin Mare with these flavours, finished with either 1724 tonic water (if you’re the sort of person who likes online shopping, this is my favourite tonic but I can only find it online), or Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water if you like to get all of your ingredients at the supermarket (you can get Gin Mare in Waitrose).
We don’t really need any measurements here, and getting the ingredients will give you enough to make at least 3-4 G&T’s (it is how much I usually get out of a bottle of Fevertree tonic, it depends on your glass size). So, instead I’m going to give you a few tips to get the most out of your drink.
A shot of gin is around 45ml, mix up either a single or a double. I always buy my ice; as it is made with distilled water in a controlled environment, it will always last longer in your drink before melting than homemade ice, even if it is better value for money. Always make sure you chill your tonic water. Lightly crush the peppercorns with the back of a spoon, and gently rub your basil leaves between your palms to release some of the oils to get the best flavour. If you’re using a packet of basil from the supermarket, in a packet rather than the pot, any leftovers will last longer if you press or such all of the air out of the bag and seal it with a clipit – though picking up a pot is better value and will always be fresh!
Gin and tonics can be very personal – how do you like yours? Do you have a favourite gin, garnishes and tonics, or do you just like to use whatever is to hand, or mix it up depending on your mood or what is in season? The next one I’m working on is figuring how to garnish Whitley Neill’s beautiful Quince Gin they sent me last year and I’ve only just opened, which has a lovely exotic flavour.