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Do you remember last summer (and indeed the summer before that?) when it got just too hot? That first hot summer I was still going into my old office in the House of Commons every day, and suffering the packed Jubilee Line home. On one of those sardine cans home I was dreaming of grabbing a packet of strawberries and some ice from the Sainsbury’s Local on the corner, and whizzing them up with some gin to make a fruity, boozy thirst quencher. Just before you got to the Sainsbury’s by my old flat you walk past the pub, and on that day my plans were nixed by my flatmate, already sitting outside with a pint inviting me to also sit down with a nice cold drink.
Last summer, I felt the heat just as much, this time living in a flat where the windows barely open and with no outside space – I’m telling you, summer is looking pretty rainy so far, but it better not heat up too much before we move into our new home (with gardens space!) at the end of July! Anyway, this time we were after nice cold drinks, but being out of wine and mixers, I turned to the pile of ripe peaches on the counter, the ice in the freezer and ended up making gin slushies, remembering that abandoned strawberry plan. We’re back on strawberries today as they’re newly in season, so when it finally heats up again, you know what to do on the way home!
I’ve made these slushies with Brighton Gin – a new, certified vegan gin made with organic wheat and locally grown coriander seed from the South coast that comes in the most wonderful bottle. They sent me a bottle of their ‘Seaside Strength‘ gin after I did a shout out for small indie gin brands on Twitter, and I think it is particularly great for whizzing up with a couple of handfuls of fresh fruit and ice because it has a really strong, classic gin flavour, enough to stand up against the fruit, but with a smooth finish that would also make for a great G&T – they recommend with a twist of orange, so I’m going to be drinking it with my new favourite orange tonic this summer.
While these slushies are just a simple blend of strawberries, gin and ice (with a bit of maple syrup perhaps dashed in for sweetness if the punnet of berries you’ve picked up are not as sweet as you’d like), the basil garnish is pretty integral, so please do not skimp on it! Scent is important. If you threw the leaves in the blender too you’d just end up with a slightly brown, pungent mess. But, by garnishing each glass with a generous basil sprig you get the scent every time you lift the glass to take a sip, lifting the strawberry flavour without actually tasting it. Clever, right?
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish
My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*