In the kitchen with the cock­tails

Oh, the joys of con­vivial evenings mix­ing ar­ti­sanal gins and de­li­cious lo­cal flavour­ings

EADT Suffolk - - Food Bites -

I MUST con­fess that, in my old age, I am less en­am­oured with drink­ing wine, and it ap­pears the feel­ing is mu­tual, be­cause it doesn’t like me very much any more ei­ther. Even the small­est amount on a Fri­day evening makes the Satur­day morn­ing bike ride a trial rather than a plea­sure, not to men­tion the fact that it al­ways leads to com­fort eat­ing all day, as re­solve flies away into the fresh Suf­folk air, along with good hu­mour and gen­er­ally be­ing nice.

So it was with great an­tic­i­pa­tion that Colonel Mus­tard and I re­cently joined friends at a cock­tail mak­ing evening, run by two very en­ter­tain­ing Bul­gar­ian fel­lows with a good line in jug­gling glasses (we weren’t al­lowed to try that bit).

And what an ar­ray of glasses to choose from, be­fore you’ve got any­where near ice (crushed, flaked or cubed), liqueurs, spir­its, mix­ers, fruits or condi­ments. I think my favourite is the ‘coupe’, which some­how al­lows you to feel so­phis­ti­cated in an Au­drey Hep­burn kind of way, even when look­ing like her is about as likely as go­ing to see how dif­fer­ent Mars and Venus ac­tu­ally are. Own up -– how many of you thought that Blue Cu­ra­cao was pro­nounced CureACow? Well I can con­firm that it is pro­nounced CureASow, surely the per­fect liqueur for a vet which­ever way you say it.

A cock­tail is def­i­nitely the an­swer for me. A feel-good drink, which has so many in­car­na­tions that there must be at least sev­eral for ev­ery­one, and a bit like toast and tea, we all have our own ways of mak­ing them the proper way. From Pimms to Mar­gar­i­tas, Mo­ji­tos to Long Is­land Iced Teas, take your pick from long, short, punchy, smooth, sweet, sour or both. And how good does it sound when Col Mus­tard says those words: “Shall I mix you a lit­tle cock­tail dear?” I re­ally am Au­drey Hep­burn af­ter all.

All this has prompted me to won­der what a Suf­folk cock­tail might be. Per­haps some­thing cider-based, us­ing lo­cal As­pall, or Ed­ward’s Cor­dials from Sudbury, with a gen­er­ous glug of Ad­nams gin. One of the most im­por­tant as­pects will be its name. The Box­ing Hare per­haps, or the Oxlip Ob­sta­cle. I learnt, through a gen­eral knowl­edge cross­word clue, that this is the county flower of Suf­folk. Or maybe the Suf­folk Punch.

There is a bar in Man­hat­tan called the Suf­folk Arms, and their drink of the week was re­cently the ‘Duke of Suf­folk’, ap­par­ently fea­tur­ing gin, Earl Grey and English Break­fast teas, cream and su­gar. That’s quite a drink. I can imag­ine the 1st Duke of Suf­folk sip­ping on such a drink at his res­i­dence, Westhorpe Hall, near Stow­mar­ket.

So a cock­tail mak­ing kit to who­ever comes up with the best cock­tail please, both in name and taste. And don’t ex­pect me to look like Au­drey Hep­burn the morn­ing af­ter judg­ing them. Tweet @ Mis­sS­car­let­tGas, or email your an­swers to Mis­sS­car­lett@scar­let­tand­mus­

Un­for­tu­nately I don’t think Mrs Bee­ton would have ap­proved of the topic of this ar­ti­cle. In her book, How to Cook, she wrote: “While it is cus­tom­ary to serve al­co­holic drinks at par­ties, it is not al­ways re­spon­si­ble to serve con­cen­trated al­co­holic drinks if you are not serv­ing food at the same time. The rosé and cham­pagne cups are both de­li­cious, while be­ing light on al­co­hol con­tent – just the thing for par­ties and pic­nics.”

Bloody Mary in the mak­ing

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