Cocktail Hour: Mango, Black Pepper & Gin Spritz
What to do when your favourite gin brand invite you to enjoy Friday night after work drinks and oysters on a rooftop overlooking the Thames, and ask you to take a bottle away with you to come up with a cocktail recipe for everyone to enjoy as we get into the swing of the final month of summer? Gin Mare have been hosting their Med Rooftops series around Europe this summer, so today I thought I’d share a few photos by way of inspiration for your own summer soirée along with my recipe for a Mango, Black Pepper & Gin Spritz today.
My spritz is inspired by Gin Mare’s signature gin and tonic serve: a double G&T made with 1724 tonic, garnished with a slice of ripe mango and a few fresh grinds of black pepper. It really is the perfect G&T to sip looking out over London while the office is just a tiny speck in the distance. I think I enjoyed it just as much as I do my all time favourite G&T, the Gin Mare and 1724 serve with grapefruit, basil and thyme at The Wife of Bath.
After going ages without trying frosé at all, a whole load seems to have come along at once. While I did enjoy the shocking pink, edible flower garnished grenadine number Sainsbury’s first made me, this number taught me that fresh strawberry puree is the answer instead (as demonstrated by the totally delicious one I had from Aviator at Hush at Cocktails in the City the other weekend), and that sloshing some gin in is a fantastic idea!
There are lots of delicious, al fresco summer snack foods that can be greatly improved by the addition of gin, too. I First encountered the idea of chasing an oyster with spirits at The Finnieston in Glasgow where oysters were served with a little spray bottle of whiskey, along with all of the usual condiments. Gin Mare’s oysters were much more my style; freshly shucked to order, topped with my usual trio of lemon juice, shallot vinegar and tabasco, but then given a kick with a good slosh of gin. My kind of oysters.
North London ice cream stalwarts Ruby Violet were also on hand dishing up mixed scoops of rosemary, basil, thyme and juniper ice creams, topped with Gin Mare and Tonic sorbet, and savoury toppings of thyme, candied peel and black olives, and rosemary brittle. The La Gelateria pop up at Mercato this summer has taught me that ice cream has so many delicious savoury uses, and this scoop was the perfect example of such.
You want to buy a small mango and let it go ripe for these spritz – frozen won’t do here. If you’re feeling impatient for your drink, buy ready cut slices, they’re just a little pricy! I know you’re pouring over ice, but as the mango is at room temperature when you make the puree make sure your soda water is ice cold too for a really refreshing drink. You can use tonic water too, but you’ll lose the clean, sweet, nectar-like taste of the perfectly ripe mango which simply sings of summer – and with only a few weeks until September, that is something we want to hold on to! The measurements below make two drinks in tall/ wine glasses.
- 1 Small, Ripe Mango
- 10 Ice Cubes
- 2 Double Shots Gin Mare (you’re at home – eyeball it!)
- Soda Water
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Peel and de-pit the mango, and chop it into rough chunks. You can set aside a couple of thin slices to garnish your glasses if you like (I did this in the pictures, but actually they look perfectly swish with just these lime green chevron paper straws in each glass!), before dumping it all in a blender (I have a basic Nutri Ninja, fyi). Divide the ice cubes between the glasses, and add the gin. Pour a good measure of soda water into the mango puree and stir until it is loose enough to drink and pour. Divide between each glass, top up with more soda water and stir each glass with a long spoon so that everything is cold and combined. Garnish with some freshly ground black pepper on top (optional, because some people won’t like spice in their drinks!)
For a few more seasonal gin cocktails, why not try my Grapefruit, Basil & Peppercorn Gin & Tonics, a Classic French 75, a Short Southside Fizz or some Gin & Watermelon Juice with Fresh Basil? For nibbles I’d recommend some Easy Asian Devilled Eggs, some Fried Green Tomatoes served with lashings of sriracha, or my Classic & Easy Summer Mini Crayfish Rolls. Or, just make these Boozy Gin & Tonic Jellies with Fresh Blueberries!