Monday, 24 August 2009

Strong or not-too-strong? That is the question.

I'm writing from the beautiful Cretan town of Hania, or Χανιά to be precise. This, apparently, roughly translates as 'free-pour' in English, and today I was presented with the strongest gin and tonic I have ever experienced.

Naturally, my eyes lit up upon realising that the barman practically had time to smoke the majority of his cigarette before returning the humble bottle of Gordon's to its vertical home. However, on first sip, I must admit that a strong G&T does not make for a good G&T. The pleasure of a good G&T lies mainly in its drinkability. A single shot, a small bottle of tonic (not slimline, don't be silly) and a good chunk of lime - maybe lemon - is all that is necessary for the creation of this much loved drink. If this divine ratio is tipped off balance, the drink is ruined.

As was I. Gin-zilla lasted a staggering 45 minutes before a particularly flamboyant episode of gesticulation on my part sent the glass, and its contents, to an early grave. Thank goodness. Beware the quadruple G&T!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Size does matter

Marks & Sparks the grand dame of the high street is selling ping pong sized lemons from South Africa perfectly formed to fit into your G&T. We’re off to stock up – four for a pound at your local M&S! Although we've never had a problem with using a large lemon up...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Health Warning: Gin and Dubonnet may cause you to live to 101

What's the perfect mixer for gin? Tonic? Why dilute the alcohol we say! Try Dubonnet and why not use the Queen Mum's recipe of 30% gin, 70% Dubonnet with a slice of lemon under the ice? She once noted before a trip, "... I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed..."

Ma'am, we salute you!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Handbags and Hayman's

Hayman's London Dry Gin

I often find myself at the bar with my good friend Tallulah Von Tramp - one time Paris showgirl, with the face of an angel and the mouth of a sailor. She’s been on my case since discovering I’m involved somewhat with the ladies of Gin Lane. I’ve explained many a time that this kind of scientific approach to the study of gin in its many guises requires patience, poise and restraint. Tallulah told me to ‘fuck off’, threw her cocktail at her face, complained loudly that there wasn’t enough Vodka in it, and ordered a pint of house white.

We were in a confusingly named bar in Islington. Upstairs was dark wood, low leather sofas, and felt a little like you might be in Barcelona provided you were running a temperature and squinted your eyes. Downstairs was a cavernous, semi-club affair, which involved loud electro and no people. As it was a Wednesday I opted for the only sensible choice – a Martini – featuring Hayman’s London Dry Gin in the starring role, with lead support from Noilly Prat vermouth and three green olives.

Whilst not necessarily a household name, the Hayman family is a stalwart of the gin world. The Hayman Distillers was founded in the nineteenth century by none other than James Burrough; the creator of the world famous Beefeater Gin and great Grandfather of Christopher Hayman, the current Chairman of Hayman’s. The family name has continued distilling fine gin to the present day under this name, while Beefeater Gin and James Burrough Limited were sold to Whitbread in 1987.

Hayman’s is a fine example of a London Dry Gin, and held up well against the oakiness of what many consider the Rolls Royce of vermouths. True to description, Hayman’s was light and pleasantly citrusy; a good, reliable choice for a mid-week Martini, and it would have leant itself well to tonic water and a hunk of lime. I would have obliged this urge had I not noticed my companion had inhaled her Eastern European Chardonnay and was now busily giving another girl’s shoes the evils…

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for twopence

(that rascal William Hogarth's 1751 print Gin Lane)

What is this wretched propaganda? We faithful gin drinkers know nothing of such debauched desparation. Only once have we sold an infant's clothes for a tipple, and we certainly don't make a habit of lifting our skirts on too frequent a basis.

So begone, you naysayers! Gin has class, as do the ladies and gents wot drink it. The ladies of Gin Lane are here to share with you our fabulous world, and perhaps invite you to a soiree or two.. Chin chin, darlings, see you at the bar.