Don’t worry, I missed London Cocktail Week too. Some prior drinks engagement …
Anyway, I was more upset to discover the ghastly news that The Empress of India, where I debuted my first English Martini – has changed hands! I’d been enticed there on several occasions and enjoyed her company immeasurably. But now her richly coloured, imperial vibe has been sapped by the new monochrome (gaaah) décor. Her seasonal British fare had been replaced by tapas-style platters. PLATTERS!
An afternoon cocktail would surely soften the blow, but – balls! – the drinks menu had also changed and with that I swiftly left.
I’m in love with a new girl now, anyway. Her name’s Prudence and she lives in West London. She’s no ordinary sex- pot. She is, in fact, the first copper-pot still to be established in the capital in almost 200 years and under the watchful eye of the Sipsmith distillery, she produces some of the finest London Dry gin!
This is artisan stuff, distilled in small batches in a still designed by Germany’s oldest distillery makers using ten of the world’s finest botanicals: Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Sevillian orange peel and Spanish lemon peel.
We’re getting along swimmingly, and don’t worry, Sipsmith still smacks of juniper, but it’s balanced with the fresh zest of lemon and coriander and the sweet spice of the Orient. SMELL IT. 85% of what we taste is in the nose, so we should spend longer using it.
The purity and elegance of this gin means it’s palatable without having to add mixer; just a little ice. In fact, the only thing they add after distillation is water from Lydwell Spring in Oxfordshire. If you do fancy a longer drink, give Fever Tree a whirl as their tonics are able to moderate the booze in a fine spirit without masking its subtleties.
And what about my old flame The English Martini? Well, we made our own by infusing an entire bottle of gin with a pack of rosemary and paired it with an elderflower cordial, shook with ice and strained with a squeeze of lemon. But we discovered a better version and what better gin to use than Sipsmith!
Two parts Sipsmith gin
One part St. Germain
– Bruise the rosemary sprigs in a shaker to release their oils.
– Add the gin, St. Germain and a squeeze of lemon and fill with sufficient ice.
– Allow the mixture to sit for a moment while you fetch your glass from the freezer.
– Shake your ingredients and strain into the glass
*wise words: Benjamin Proctor