Gin and Tonic advice courtesy of @GinMonkeyUK

This isn’t a standard martini post but the Gin Monkey very kindly gave me some advice on tonic water for those of you who would like some guidance for making G&Ts. I don’t drink G&Ts very frequently anymore but they were my drink of choice before I discovered the simplistic power of a martini.

  • Her basic rule for tonic is to stay away from artificial sugars and slimline at all costs.
  • Make sure it’s cold.
  • Add plenty of ice.

As regards certain brands, it will depend on the gin and your personal preference but Waitrose own brand tonic was recommended, as was Fever Tree and even the classic brand Schweppes.

And on the subject of garnishes it can also depend on the gin. A slice of lemon is more traditional, although some people prefer lime. Both the Gin Monkey and myself are in the lemon camp. Other gins, such as a Hendricks, go with a slice of cucumber. Pink grapefruit can work. Some like Gin Mare go well with rosemary and olive (I MUST try this amazing sounding gin in a martini – it seems made for it) but there are all sorts of possible pairings, often recommended by the gin-makers themselves. I’ve heard rumours about chilli and mangoes and while I’m a bit of a traditionalist I like both of those flavours.

You can see more about G&Ts on the Gin Monkeys site here. I particularly enjoyed the entry on Spain.

The Gin Monkey also provided her thoughts on favourite gins to use in a martini.

She agrees with my personal preferences for Beefeater and Plymouth gins but also recommends Beefeater 24, Tanqueray No. 10 and Martin Millers gin.

Finally, she recommended that I try out Fords Gin as being seriously impressive. So that’s on my to-do list.

Thank you to the Gin Monkey!

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Non-alcoholic rose and lemon drop martini

Yes, yes, non-alcoholic. I can’t drink all the time you know.

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After serving martinis, you might, as I do, find your fridge to be full of bald lemons, shaved of their peel but still bursting with juice. You can use them for all sorts of things, like cooking, putting them in hot water to drink in the morning, making ice cubes, or, as I have done today, juicing them and adding them to a cordial drink to make a refreshing, sweet and sour non-alcoholic beverage.

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Rooh Afza is a sweet, rose-flavoured syrupy cordial to dilute with water and drink, preferably on a hot day. It comes from Pakistan, a country I have never visited but where some of my family used to live (before partition in the old days of the British Raj).

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To counteract it’s strong sweetness I added the juice of a lemon to 35ml and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Stir well then place in the freezer for around 45 minutes. Pour into a chilled martini glass and top up with chilled tonic water. Garnish with a piece of lemon peel.

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You can also leave it in the freezer a little bit longer in individual shot glasses to make a miniature sorbet.

There you go, a non-alcoholic post on my otherwise gin-soaked blog. Pakistan Zindabad!

Earl Grey Gin & Tonic

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I previously made Earl Grey infused gin which I’ve used to make one or two martinis.

However, for a highly refreshing (and less alcoholic alternative) I would also recommend this infused drink for a nice gin and tonic (yes, I drink tonic water sometimes). Right now it’s in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere but if you’re in Australia, Chile, South Africa, the tropics, the equatorial regions or anywhere else currently enjoying warming weather this might be a nice drink to enjoy at the end of the day.

Otherwise you can wait until spring and summer if you’re in the northern latitudes, although so long as you’re wearing enough warm clothing it’s quite a nice drink for any time of year

If you keep the gin and the glass in the freezer prior to drinking this it will be even more refreshing.

* Take the glass and add some ice.
* Squeeze a slice of lemon peel over the inside of the glass so that the lemon oil is sprayed in over the ice
* Pour in a measure or two of the Earl Grey Gin
* Top up with tonic to your taste
* Use the lemon peel to stir the drink then drop it in the glass as a garnish
* As an alternative garnish to lemon, you could use a slice of fresh cucumber. It gives the drink a fresh grassy start, which is followed by the longer, slower more subtle arrival of the smoky earl grey flavour.