Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bottoms up!

I am a gin girl. Served in a long glass, with lots of ice, a generous slug of the necessary, a squeeze of lime on top, then rubbed around the rim before topping up with a tonic. For preference, the gin should be Bombay Sapphire (thank you Gill!) followed by Gordon’s; I’m not that adverse to unbranded stuff either. But it must be a thick wedge of lime not lemon; this is the only conscious Americanism I have.

I was once thanked for my gin-mixing skills in a wedding speech. I like to think I can mix a decent drink – and was put in mind of my mixing mentor by a comment on Drunk Mummy’s blog about pink gin.

I worked behind the student union bar when I was at university. The permanent bar manager was a small, lean, grey haired man, with a Wikipedia-esque knowledge of alcohol. An old bottle of Angostura Bitters lurked behind the bar; no one ever used it and I asked what it was for. A couple of dashes in an empty glass, a measure of gin, swirl it around and voila – pink gin.

Angostura Bitters, however, I was informed, was poisonous in large amounts. Guinness, he told me, was no good for vegetarians: apparently in days of yore, the fattest rats in Dublin lived in the brewery’s malting room and occasionally were swept into the mixture along with the grain. Bitter, he said, was fermented over fish scales.

He also told me the addition of quinine to tonic water dated back to the days of the British Empire. Apparently, it was used to guard against malaria and the only way the British could be persuaded to take it was in their G&T. I think a nice glass of gin would persuade me to take my medicine too…

30 comments:

Sarnia said...

As well as a dry, chilled white wine I am also a gin girl, M&M. And - like you - much prefer a wodge of lime instead of lemon.

Oh - and the tonic must be really fresh - no two day old stuff - it has to be very, very fizzy and it mustn't be 'slimline' or supermarket own brand.

I'm quaffing away on a (very large) Bombay Sapphire G&T as I type - coincidence!

ziggi said...

me too! me too!
I have just finished the Bombay (I love the blue glass) and am starting on the Tanqueray - I can recommend that. I usually have to rely on what's on special offer in the duty free shop though! I have had the same bottle of Angosturas in the fridge since 2003 - doesn't seem to go off and hasn't poisoned me yet.
I can't say I mind whether it's lime or lemon being of good peasant stock but only like a gin martini as opposed to the vodka one 007 drinks - bottoms up MM - it's good for your seat!

ziggi said...

me too! me too!
I have just finished the Bombay (I love the blue glass) and am starting on the Tanqueray - I can recommend that. I usually have to rely on what's on special offer in the duty free shop though! I have had the same bottle of Angosturas in the fridge since 2003 - doesn't seem to go off and hasn't poisoned me yet.
I can't say I mind whether it's lime or lemon being of good peasant stock but only like a gin martini as opposed to the vodka one 007 drinks - bottoms up MM - it's good for your seat!

ziggi said...

god lord I'm already seeing double and I've only had the one sip!
Sorry about that!

Gill said...

Juniper Green gin is very nice and is also organic. The tonic you buy in Lidl is very good and cheap. I prefer it to sh you know who. Slimline is horrible and dries out my mouth. Bitters are good too. Noilly Prat is the best Vermouth to make a cocktail. Here's hoping some nice kind drink salesman is giving free samples again! Hint Hint!!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Yes ladies, as we all love it so much, I think we should start a gin campaign! (Gill is very good at this ...)

Drunk Mummy said...

My Nan claimed she was given Guinness in hospital, after she was recovering from some illness. At least, that was the excuse she gave for glugging the stuff at every opportunity. Your student union bar manager sounds like a character from a Two Ronnies sketch.

Brom said...

Oh no, not Gin. Smell puts me off straight away. I'm a Beer man myself including a lot of the theory. I have never heard of Fish scales being used in the brewing process. However, they use the swim bladders of sturgeon to clear the beer once its made. Yes really. It's calle Isinglass Finings. Perhaps that's what he was referring to?

Anyway - Cheers.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Sloe Gin! Why has no-one mentioned sloe gin? A fine Christmas tipple that lasts all year round...you rape the sloe bushes in September, freeze the berries for a month or so (it kills the maggots), mix with lots of gin and sugar and ferment until Christmas eve when you are up until the wee hours wrapping presents.
Gosh, I'm almost getting excited about Christmas, that can't be right can it?

mutterings and meanderings said...

DM, my mum was told to drink stout when she was pregnant with my sister because of the high iron count.

Brom, it was something about being 'passed over' fish scales - and it was def scales he said (but we are going back to the latter years of the 1980s here)

Pig, mum and I make sloe gin. I actually have a batch of sloes in my freezer at the moment. I adore the stuff - I also adore picking the berries. I like anything where I can pick it, make it and eat/drink it!

Plus, sloe gin is a grand warmer when you're out not-foxhunting, as is a Percy Special (whisky and cherry brandy)which is divine!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

In the summer there's nothing like a long gin and tonic out on the lawn. Thank you for deigning to supply we lesser mortals with your abundant gin knowledge. Clearly the way some of those young gentlemen at university might have enticed you to their breeze block lairs would have been with gin traps... If only they'd known...

Anonymous said...

Oh ! baby baby baby - you haven't lived until you've had a Plymouth Gin and Tonic ! Chuck out the Bombay Sapphire - cheap gin, expensively marketed. Gordon's is very good, but Plymouth is the 'real thing' when it comes to gin.

Not many places do it [severnshed in bristol being an honourable exception] but you really can taste the difference. Just a word of warning. Once you've tasted it, you will be spoiled for anything else, and will not being going back to the unbranded stuff ever again.

But you get what you pay for in life..and you do only live once..

Anonymous said...

gill, very interesting post - I have not tried the organic gin [although have seen it in the 'offie'] but may now give it a whirl.

as for the tonic, yes, that lidl thing rings a bell. I think it must be because Schh..you know who which is 'non-slimline' now ALSO contains some artificial sweeteners. I think it may be a smidgin of saccharine rather than that bloody aspartame they put in the 'slimline'.

But the only Sch..I could find with no artificial sweetener was that 'readymix' stuff which had already been adulterated with lemon juice.

[not bad for a picnic or something, but clearly not the same as having 'ice and a slice']

I tell 'ya, these bloody marketing men have got something to answer for and that's a fact..

rilly super said...

M&M, your description in the first paragraph sounds better than sex, although perhaps that is just because I can remember what a G&T is like much better than I can recall the more distant memory of the other thing, sigh

I can second anonymous's recommendation of plymouth gin by the way, but remember, enjoy responsibly ('bollocks to that!' I can hear all of M&M's readers shout)

Gill said...

Yeah the Lidl stuff doesn't have any sweeteners in- and Plymouth gin is great, (I always buy whatever is on special offer so I'm currently on Plymouth)
I'm not picky about my Gin being Organic but the Juniper Green one does have a nice aromatic taste.
Sloe Gin is fab too- I make it every year- freezing the sloes is supposed to enhance the natural sugars. I think the magggots get killed by alcohol anyway!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rilly, We have so much in common.

Plymouth Gin, a hankering for rumpy pumpy, a love of the country but a yearning for the finer things in life which only the city can provide...

But the best things in life are free - well if Gill's absinthe fairy can be presumed upon to drop by with a bottle or two. What say you we make a weekend of it ?

Nunhead Mum of One said...

Then perhaps you're the only person that can tell me what a "Gin and It" is then please!

How many times have I heard that in bars and on t'telly? How many times have I peered into the gloom of a backlit bar to see exactly what the barmaid is doing with the It?

I also found out yesterday that my favourite summer drink Pimms contains an element of gin! I can't drink gin - it makes me cry. Not just sniffles, full on sobs. Maybe this is why I don't have hangovers on Pimms, just deep and gloomy doom!

mountainear said...

Many years ago (when dinosaurs roamed the earth?) and in hospital having had the babies-that-are-now-men I was offered, as were the other new mothers, bottles of stout. Mackeson I think. Very Ena Sharples - but then this was Manchester in the shadow of Coronation Street. It was to build our strength up. Wouldn't get that on the NHS today would you?

On matters of gin - I can recommend what must be a brand local to us and available fom our local wine merchant, Tanners of Shrewsbury. 'Hereford Gin'is very very strong, definately kicks like a mule not like wussy supermarket Gordons. After 2 or 3 it really doesn't matter what you put with it....

rilly super said...

anonymous, pick me up from Temple Meads at three! I shall be wearing a red carnation, carrying a copy of the times and finishing off a bottle of gin still in the paper bag.

mountainear, do you think that Tanners of Shewsbury might be responsible for you finding yourself in a maternity ward drinking macksons dear? I understand alcohol accounts for a significant number of hospital admissions such as your own.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I think I should advertise this blog as a dating service! Go Rilly and anon!!

Plymouth Gin sounds good - I'll give it a go...

YP, I always imagined you as a John Smith's man!

NMO, gin and It is 'gin and Italian' - gin and vermouth, otherwise known as a gin martini...

Mountainear, I've never had Hereford gin but can vouch for the strength of the locally-made rough cider (we used to drink it with a dash of orange cordial to take the edge off)

Karen said...

I like a nice G&T in summer but prefer lemon to lime. I don't have a gin preference yet.

It's funny that you were talking about sloe gin as I was just mentioning to a colleague at work how my mum and dad make it every year.

Also odd about you saying about the rats in Guiness. I was telling her about the body found in No7 vat at Jack Daniels. Hopefully they don't do the same nowadays...

The Grocer said...

From my youthful memory you country girls never needed any persuasion.

ziggi said...

nunhead - gin and it is a gin martini, 1 part gin and 1 part dry vermouth (noilly prat by choice)
a greek olive and cold!

actually 2 parts gin and 2 parts vermouth usually work better . . .

or is it 3 . . ?

50/50 in a large glass!

Gill said...

I always thought gin and it was made with sweet red Vermouth and not dry white.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Karen, I imagine the Jack Daniels man was suitably pickled!

Boasting, are we now, Grocer?

Ziggi, that's how I know an Gin and It, although I think Gill's version would be rather yummy...

@themill said...

Perfect gin M&M. I'll be there in 5 minutes.

mutterings and meanderings said...

@themill, I'm trying to work out where you are ... the only 'mill' I can think of in the vicinity is Spindlestone...or is it @ a sawmill?

dulwichmum said...

My father in law had a long career in The Navy, and he makes gin and tonic drinking sound positively medicinal! But really, I doubt that a litre each evening can be good for anyone...

dulwichmum said...

My FIL swears by Plymouth Gin too by the way!

The Grocer said...

I was referring to drinking M&M, I think you have misinterpreted, I shall have to mutter less :)