So today is World Gin Day – a global celebration of all things gin. The simple idea is to get people together all around the world to drink gin whether it’s in a cocktail, with tonic or indeed neat, if it’s good enough! I don’t need an excuse, and someone you can be sure will partake in a snifter later today is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is, after all rumoured to be her drink of choice and as this weekend is laced with celebrations for her 90th birthday, I hope her special gin glass is full with her favourite cocktail.
So how does The Queen take her gin? I hear that there is a certain Queeny Cocktail (My wording, not hers) which she is rather fond of. It involves Dubonnet Rouge, a drink that my well-stocked cocktail cabinet didn’t contain until yesterday after BBC Radio Bristol’s Laura Rawlings and I had a conversation about what to talk about on her drive-time show. Somewhere, I read that this particular cocktail comes direct from the kitchen of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth…. I’m not too sure how true this is….. The website was not verified by the BBC so I can’t vouch for it’s truth! So, to cut a long story short, after a quick visit to Waitrose, I was in possession of my first bottle of Dubonnet Rouge!
So on my ‘Foodie Friday’ slot we not only spoke about my recent talk at the Food Service Forum, part of The London Produce Show at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. (A fantastic annual event for all parts of the fresh produce supply chain from seed to plate) but we also talked gin cocktails! So, yes – Back to the cocktail I fixed for us:
2 parts Dubonnet Rouge
1 part Gin
1 slice Lemon
2 ice cubes, plus more for shaker
But what gin to choose? In the last month, excitement for gin in the West Country has reached new levels with the opening of Psychopomp Distillery on St Michael’s Hill in Bristol, conveniently a stone’s throw from Broadcasting House, conveniently. The distillery and bar opened a month ago and is run by Danny and Liam who had been distilling gin as a hobby in a basement in Montpellier for 7½ years before opening Psychopomp.
Their ‘Woden’ gin is produced in a hand-made copper still “using a blend of classic and unconventional botanicals to produce a delicious, high quality spirit.” The gin is produced in small batches and is only available in very limited quantities, so I was lucky to get my hands on any for my radio appearance. If you want an idea of flavour, the particular botanicals used are juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cassia bark, grapefruit zest and fennel seed.
So as I arrived at the studio after a rather stormy cycle ride from Almondsbury, via Henleaze, St Michael’s Hill and Whiteladies Road, I produced my cocktail shaker out of my backpack along with freshly sliced lemon, the Dubonnet, the gin and some ice Liam gave me. The shaken cocktail (served in a regulation BBC plastic cup) went down a hit. Despite
Dubonnet being a sweet, spicy red wine based drink, when chilled down by ice and accompanied by the bitter hit of the gin and the zingy lemon it was surprisingly refreshing. Everyone in the studio including Laura and Producer Simon loved it. And to be honest, as soon I’ve finished writing this article, I will be making another batch and toasting the warm, selfless and unwavering reign her majesty. Happy Birthday ma’am!
To have a listen to my cocktail shaking antics click here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03w6c9f I’m 1h45 mins in!
‘Woden’ and their new summer recipe gin, ‘Charun’ are now available to buy online here http://psychopomp.linkpc.net/gin/cart1/catalog/ or in store at 145 St Michaels Hill, BS2 8DB.
Psychopomp is open Tuesday – Friday, 12 noon until 9pm.
For more information about Psychopomp and where you can buy their gin go to www.microdistillery.co.uk