Advent 2017 – Day 3

3 Dec

Today’s drinks stare:

Vichy Catalan tonic water

This tonic water is just gently bubbly and barely has any smell- just a hint of minerals.

By itself it’s very mildly bitter and dry but has a stronger artificial sweetener taste.

In a G&T it’s very mild and let’s the gin shine the rather than taking over.

I usually prefer my tonic with more of a bitter kick but this went down very nicely.

Perez Cruz Winemakers Selection 2015

This is a mix of Cabernet, Syrah and Cot.

It smells of sweet cassis but is more dry when drunk. It’s full-bodied but light. Fruity and not too tanniny.

Nice to drink by itself and it disappeared pretty quickly!


Advent 2017 – Day 2

2 Dec

It’s Day 2 of the wine & tonic advent calendars and today’s drinks are:

Double Dutch Pomegranate & Basil

By itself this is an unusual drink which tastes artificial and has a strange mouthfeel. It’s not bubbly but a strange mix of gassy and flat. The combination of sweet and savoury is a real clash. It’s like eating a rhubarb & custard or pineapple chunk sweet wrapped in basil leaves.

But saying all that I kept coming back to it to have another sip… so I think it’d grow on me very quickly.

In a G&T it’s odd. Not of the flavours want to work together and they clash like mad. But it’s strangely intriguing and again I kept returning to it.

Conclusion… who knows! This is either truly awful or wonderful- it’ll take a few more tries to come to a a decision

Today’s wine is Anaru Sauvignon Blanc

This was truly delicious. A pleasant halfway point between dry and sweet and very moreish.

Dry enough to be drunk as an aperitif this isn’t going to dry your mouth out. Very quaffable and another one we’ll return to

Craft Gin Club

2 Dec

I’ve been a member of the Craft Gin Club for a couple of years now and really enjoy receiving my parcel every 2 months (you can also receive it monthly or quarterly) as it has introduced me to some really nice gins.

This month’s selection arrived today and it contained:

  • Batch Christmas edition gin
  • Fentimans ginger ale
  • Fentimans rose lemonade
  • Paterson’s shortbread fingers
  • Beech’s dark ginger chocolate
  • Bonne Maman salted caramel spread

It also cones with a 40-page magazine with info on the gin and other box contents, recipes and more.

It’s good value and introduces you to lots of new brands which I’ve really enjoyed.

It’s £40 a box but if you use the code ‘GINPALS10’ you’ll get £10 off and if you say recommend it to you then I will too!

Advent 2017 – Day 1

1 Dec

Having previously enjoyed gin & chocolate advent calendars I thought I’d do something different this year and make my own ‘tonic water advent calendar’

I had already stockpiled a few different tonics that I hadn’t got around to trying from my Craft Gin Club subscription but ordered lots more from Importonics who have a wide range and mixed packs.

But that wasn’t enough and preparing to fully enjoy the festive season I also got us a Virgin Wines advent calendar

So tonight we dove into both…

Today’s tonic is Macario tonic water from Italy.

By itself it’s gently bubbly and sweeter than other tonics I usually drink BUT not too sweet, nor syrupy. Just gently sweet which was really enjoyable.

In a G&T (I’m planning on using a recent kind gift of The Botanist gin every day) it was lovely. Very fresh with a hint of sweetness. When I added a big squeeze of fresh lemon it was a revelation! The lemon zing worked so well with the sweetness in the tonic and the drink went down very easily.

Ignoring its ‘retro pin-up label’ (which they claim to be ‘always fashionable’) this is definitely a tonic I would buy again

Today’s wine is The Black Pig 2015 Shiraz

This is a really fruity red full of berries and full-bodied but not bitter or tannin-y.

This we will definitely buy again

Spirit Show London

1 Dec

A trip to the Spirit Show London today to view and try lots of different brands in one place.

It took place at the Business Design Centre in Islington and we booked ‘premium’ tickets at £35 each which included:

  • Fast track entry to the show
  • Limited edition tasting glass
  • 6-bottle jute bag to carry all your shopping home!
  • Access to VIP Lounge
  • Complimentary mixology class and cocktail
  • Private cloakroom and ‘Shop and Drop’ facility
  • Canapés
  • All drink samples

The show itself was interesting and we enjoyed getting to see so many different spirits (mainly gin it seemed), talk to brands and try them.

We got to try lots of different things and purchased some from that including:

Elephant sloe gin- my favourite!

Elephant sloe gin

Haycocks spiced liqueur

These fabulous vermouths from Regal Rogue

These delicious snacks to accompany drinks from Made For Drink

I would have expected more ‘unusual spirits’ to try as it was hard to distinguish between all the gin brands or determine which ones to taste (there’s no limit on tastings other than what you can physically handle!)

It was good that there were lots of good places you could park your shopping and even have it easily and cheaply shipped to you.

I thought the premium tickets were worth it mainly as it gave us somewhere to return to and sit down every now and then but that wasn’t really worth £15 extra and there should have been seating for everyone. But we did get early entry and seeing how much it was filling up by the time we left we were glad of that.

My main criticism of the show is that even though their website said:

‘As well as eating, visitors are encouraged to drink plenty of water in between tastings and take regular breaks from tasting during the Show.

There will be free drinking water available in easily visible locations throughout the venue’

There was no easily accessible, or free, water. We asked multiple members of staff, asked at the VIP section and even tweeted the show (which they’ve ignored) but nothing.

Instead you had to go upstairs, potentially walk the whole length of the show, and buy some at the cafe – a ridiculous situation which showed a complete lack of care and would make me consider even giving them my money again available in easily visible locations throughout the venue.

Sloe Gin Sour

26 Nov

I know it’s still November but sometimes it’s good to plan ahead…

This great book from Victoria Moore (and her other amazing one which introduced me to the world of drinking …) always comes out at this time of year and this evening I’m enjoying a Sloe Gin Sour.

The ingredients are:

  • 50ml sloe gin
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 1tsp egg white (I love a froth so doubled the recipe and used a whole egg white)

All shaken up with ice

My sloe gin is not sweet so to add a sweeter touch, without sugar, I added some sweet Bar 40 Bitters which balanced it all out- heaven!

Negroni Week 2017 – Negroni Sour

6 Jun

It’s Negroni Week and I’m finally having my first of the week: a Negroni Sour.

-dry shake all the ingredients for a Negroni and an egg white with the whisk from a Hawthorne strainer

-add ice cubes and shake like mad

– if the egg white has taken away too much sour for your liking then add some in with lemon juice or some drops of these fab sour bitters from Bar 40 Bitters

– enjoy!

The drink is simply a Negroni with the added froth & silkiness that the egg white provides – delicious 

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