Gin and tonic has been my elixir of choice since there was only really a choice of Gordon’s or Bombay Sapphire. But it has to be a French (or as it has become known in our household ‘dad-sized measure’) and it has to be served over ice with the correct accompaniment. Do not mix up your lime with your cucumber or fear the face of disdain. Such is my dedication to this tipple that most people in my life (husband, parents, friends, acquaintances) have become gin converts… and the clan continues to grow.
Since Squirt arrived on the scene my gin fascination has not been fulfilled for obvious reasons, but as I tap away in the garden in the summer sun, dog at my feet, roses around the arbour and feet in the paddling pool, the perfect scene would include a long G&T.
And so, to celebrate World Gin Day, a highlight on my calendar, this month I wanted to share my top five places of gin-spiration. If you have more for me to try, then please let me know.
#1 ROCKSIDE – ANGLESEY
We recently spent a long weekend at this stunning headland property at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey. Yes, the weather was more Med than Wales and with such scenery and picture windows there was no need for television but Daisy and I did discover this spectacular spot, complete with Adirondack chairs times two for watching the sun set across the Irish Sea.
Daisy did, eventually, give up her viewing position and Husband appeared with a Forager’s Gin: Black Label from the hills of Snowdonia served in a balloon glass, lots of ice and some fresh orange peel to accentuate the Sea Buckthorn. Super-rich yet smooth and perfect for the melting sun.
#2 GRAFENE – MANCHESTER
After a long day in meetings or shopping my favourite spot to indulge for those post-work cocktails is Grafene. I have been working my way through the speciality gin menu under the guidance of the mixologists there. For sharing the Sipsmith London Cup is a must, offering Earl Grey flavours and caramel and there’s obviously Manchester Gin but my favourite is an unusual gin from Galicia, Nordés, with berry flavours and a hint of sweetness paired with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and fresh mint.
For other gin lovers out there, Grafene is hosting a Sipsmith Gin Dinner on 20 June, 2018 pairing chef, Ben Mounsey’s creations with an exclusive gin flight!
#3 EAGLES NEST – BAY OF ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND
One of my favourite spots in the world was perched high amongst the manuka trees at the exclusive Eagles Nest estate and our villa, The Eyrie. As the evening birdsong chorus commences it was idyllic to sit, toes in the pool with a cold drink in hand.
Our tipple of favour was the rare Black Robin Rare Gin from the Chatham Islands. Inspired by the rare and endangered Black Robin, we were lucky enough to meet on our adventures, be comforted by the fact that with every bottle sold the company donates to help protect native wildlife.
#4 THE CHOLMONDELEY ARMS – CHESHIRE
After a long walk with Daisy we love to pick up the papers and while away a summer or winter’s afternoon at The Cholmondeley Arms. They have a gin for every day of the year and one extra for luck so you are not going to get bored. Recently celebrating 30 years, they have a three-day festival of gin 6-8 July, 2018 where all 366 gins will be on show alongside distillers, barbecue and music.
The one we keep coming back to is the earthy Forest Gin, served with grapefruit peel and rosemary. Not only do we love the flavours foraged within Macclesfield Forest but the lovely family story and the hand crafted ceramic bottle (which serves as a great single stem vase for anyone who’s interested).
#5 NORTHCOTE MANOR, LANGHO
Whilst I have to admit that gin is usurped by the fabulous seasonal menus served at Northcote Manor, it is the perfect start to your gastronomic feast. With menus by Lisa Goodwin-Allen and wine uniquely paired by Craig Bancroft, before you embark on your foodie journey of discovery of fine-dining and Northern hospitality enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic on the terrace, overlooking the kitchen garden and Lancashire hills.
This is time for a golden oldie (relative in gin terms) Hendricks, ice and cucumber. And relax.