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…