In the kitchen with the cocktails
Oh, the joys of convivial evenings mixing artisanal gins and delicious local flavourings
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@scarlettandmustard.co.uk
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