Cocktail Hour- my favourite Gins and Gin Cocktails

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After releasing my Citrus Coaster crochet pattern, I had a few people ask me for gin recommendations. I decided it was only fair that I compile a list of my favourite gins as well as my favourite gin cocktails (complete with recipes)!

Have your coasters (and glasses) at the ready!


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**Keep scrolling through the article for recipes and recommendations**

Believe it or not, but I never used to like gin. Shocker I know. It was something that my fine and sophisticated palette had to grow into… and with that, I only experienced my first gin drink about 6 years ago.


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Living in Birmingham means that a lot of great bars are practically on my doorstep, and I’ll never forget trying to find 40 St Paul’s, as incidentally it’s not located at number 40 St Paul’s, and instead is behind an old black door elsewhere on the square. Tres exclusive!

The award-winning bar itself only seats about 25 people, so it’s super hard to get into. But the gin cocktails are amazing and I was hooked from my first sip! My first was a Parma Violet take on the iconic Tom Collins (at St Paul’s it’s called a Tom from Toulouse) but since then I’ve grown to love the rhubarb variation you can make easily at home.

Tom from Toulouse at 40 St Pauls

Rhubarb Tom Collins

Ingredients:

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

  • 1 rhubarb stalk, trimmed and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
  • 100g caster sugar

Main recipe:

  • 2 shots gin (try a nice Tanqueray)
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 100ml Champagne (because if you’re going for decadence, go big or go home! Sub for soda water if pennies won’t stretch)

Method:

For the simple syrup:

In a small pot, combine the rhubarb and sugar with 150ml water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer. It should thicken slightly and turn bright pink (about 20 mins)

Let the syrup cool then pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl to get the bits out.

You can make this in advance and keep for a week in the fridge.


For the cocktail:

In a cocktail shaker, combine 30ml of the rhubarb simple syrup with the gin and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until completely mixed, about 20 seconds.

Strain into a highball glass and top with Champagne.


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Zymurgorium Manchester Gin

You try spelling this one! This is my “treat” gin. Or rather, gin-based liqueur. I absolutely adore their Parma Violet liqueur and was so happy when Weatherspoons chains announced their introduction to their booze cabinets UK-wide.

And I can now get bottles straight off the shelf in my local B&M so I’m happier now I can stock up immediately instead of waiting for Amazon to deliver my precious bottle of deliciousness.

The recipe for this cocktail is easy, and it’s the way I first tried this liqueur at the Birmingham Gin Festival 2 years ago- with my favourite Fevertree tonic water and a slice of lemon.


In a glass, combine 30ml of the Parma Violet liqueur with the tonic water, ice and lemon. Stir until mixed.

Needless to say, I was a little surprised when my drink arrived with half a plant in it!

Want to boost this already 18% vol tipple? Drop a shot of Bombay Sapphire in too! Or make it into an Aviation Cocktail if you want to get more fancy (just add 1/2 a shot of Maraschino Liqueur and a cherry on top!)


Frozen Bramble

So while we’re on the liqueur bandwagon, if you’ve got a blackberry liqueur to hand, or a Creme de Mure, then you can replace the Parma Violet in the above recipe with it and garnish with a blackberry and completely transform your cocktail into a Frozen Bramble.

As with all cocktails though, don’t forget the ice- otherwise this won’t really be a “Frozen” Bramble!

Mum and I love a good gin tasting session!

Monkey 47

If you’re feeling like you want a taste of Sweden, instead of popping down to your local IKEA for a dose of lingonberries, grab yourself a bottle of lingonberry-based Monkey 47 (actually from Germany). You don’t need anything else other than a little tonic for this one because it really is just. that. good.

Don’t ruin it. Garnish it with a raspberry or lemon if you really must…

My Monkey 47 treat to myself at the Art Hotel in Eindhoven

Bubble Bath

Unfortunately I can’t give you the recipe for this one, but if you live in the UK make sure you head down to your local Alchemist (the restaurant chain and not a witch-Doctor) and ask for a Bubble Bath cocktail.

Made with delectable Tanqueray gin, Aperol, Chambord, lemon and apple juice, you could probably try to make this at home: but you’ll struggle to come by the last ingredient- fairy liquid- without raiding the secret vaults behind the bar. So just go out for this science-experiment instead…


Violet Fizz

Can you tell I like Parma Violets? And if you like the taste of soapy bathwater just like me, you might be just as adventurous to try a bit of egg white in your cocktail. Risky, I know!

I used to work away quite a lot, which meant I’d end up eating out quite a lot. In particular, I spent a lot of time in Liverpool and my favourite food place was an all-you-can-eat meat feast steakhouse/brasserie! There, I discovered the humble Violet Fizz, and because I ate there a lot, it was still on the menu for me, even when it was off the menu.


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Ingredients:

  • 2 shots gin (try Gordon’s with this one)
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 100ml of soda water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 shot Parma Violet liqueur

Combine ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker. The secret to this one is to keep shaking until the egg goes frothy. This is when it’s emulsified. Keep shaking and then strain into a champagne saucer.


Bombay Sapphire

Bombay is probably my favourite gin. Scratch that. It is my favourite gin. It’s not only affordable, but it’s dry and peppery and makes a great mixer with a tonic. There’s a reason it’s been around- and stayed so popular- for so long.


Ely Gin

A few weekends ago, A’s parents treated us to a weekend away just outside Ely. The weather, as we really should have predicted as it’s the UK, was miserable, and it meant that we spent more times pottering around shops than actually sight-seeing. A nice relaxing time was had, and we visited a quaint little shop full of local Ely gin.

The best part about Ely gin is the variety. So many flavours to choose from. I was spoilt for choice- especially when options included Breakfast Marmalade, Chocolate Orange and Afternoon Tea!

Eventually it was Rhubarb, Chocolate Orange and Raspberry that won out!

Rhubarb is having it’s time now in the gin-world so that was first to hit my basket. I love that it can be dressed up in a cocktail or dressed down with just a plain Fevertree tonic water. Chocolate Orange was my more “risky” pick and I can’t wait to try this with a some star anise in my tonic water to make it that extra little bit spicy.


Regardless of which gin you pick, don’t scrimp on the tonic water. You don’t want to drown your good quality, yummy gin with a poor tonic water- because what a waste that would be! Schweppes and Fevertree are my usual go to! Enjoy!

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