Tag Archives: Gin & Tonic

Happy World Gin Day 2012!

Today is World Gin Day!  How exciting is that?!  (If your answer was not something along the lines of “super duper exciting!” then just a heads up that this post might not be for you…)  Now, I’m a big fan of gin, in case you weren’t aware.  I was clearly spoilt in St Andrews when it came to Gin & Tonics, because every bartender in any pub or bar knows how to make a proper G&T (and if they don’t, they’re soon corrected).  Here in NZ…not so much.  I’ve run up against bartenders that think tonic and lemonade are interchangeable (they’re really not – have you ever tried Gin & Lemonade?  It’s foul.), and almost every G&T I’ve been served has a wedge of lemon rather than lime.  That might sound petty, but it really does affect the taste.  Particularly a gin such as Hendrick’s.  I know, I know – I’m still recovering from that particular experience.  I think I’ve just been going to the wrong bars here, but it’s still a little upsetting.  If anybody happens to know of a bar in Auckland that makes good G&Ts and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for it, then do please let me know!

Just like last year, I’m obviously not going to let World Gin Day pass by without blogging something gin-themed.  I’ve had this recipe idea planned since about April, when Craig sent me a link to a post on Total Food Geeks Edinburgh about lemonade scones, which I’d never heard of before.  The most important ingredient of the recipe is fizzy lemonade.  You know what else is fizzy?  Gin & Tonic is fizzy (though perhaps not quite as much).  You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?  That’s right.  Gin & Tonic scones.  Yes, really.  Clearly the perfect way to celebrate World Gin Day.

Whilst I had the idea back in April, it’s taken me a while to actually try it out, mostly because I was a little confused by the cream situation here in NZ and couldn’t find a double cream equivalent anywhere.  I’ll save the details for another post (bet you can’t wait), but it turns out that standard pouring cream here is somewhere between UK single cream and UK double cream.  So I made do with that.  Thankfully the recipe worked wonderfully.  The scones are light, fluffy and delicious, with a subtle G&T flavour.  I must admit that I could only just taste the gin, but that’s more a reflection on my taste buds than the actual recipe.  These scones would be perfect for an afternoon snack, served with lime curd (I told you that I had something special lined up for the batch I posted about yesterday) and accompanied, of course, by a Gin & Tonic.

Gin & Tonic scones

Makes 10-12 scones
Adapted from Total Food Geeks Edinburgh

Make sure to use a gin that goes with lime, such as Gordon’s, in this recipe.  You’re baking with it, so save your best gin for drinking.  Use freshly-opened tonic if possible to get the maximum amount of bubbles.  These are best eaten fresh, but can be made the evening before and covered with a tea e until the next day.  These are utterly delicious served with lime curd (click for the recipe – it’s very easy to make), but would probably also be tasty with lime marmalade.

Ingredients

300g all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ large unwaxed lime (zest before cutting it in half)
50 ml gin (I used Gordon’s)
100 ml tonic
150ml UK double cream or NZ cream

Directions

1.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper.  Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.

2.  Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and stir together.

3.  Zest the ½ lime (zest the lime before cutting it in half), and juice it.  Add the juice and zest to a measuring jug, along with the gin and the tonic.  Add the cream and stir together (an ice-cream float type texture is normal).

4.  Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the flour using a large wooden spoon (be as gentle as possible so as not to destroy the air bubbles).  The mixture should come together into a dough – you may need to use your hands towards the end.  The dough should be light and soft.  If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little more flour.

5.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Gently roll the dough out to a 2 cm thickness.  Cut out the scones using a floured 6cm round cutter and place them on the baking tray.  Gently combine the scraps to make more scones (these ones might not come out quite as presentably – consider them quality control).

6.  Bake for 16 mins until the scones are golden and risen.  Cool on a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel (apparently this keeps the tops soft).

7.  Serve with lime curd whilst still just warm.  They’re also delicious fully cooled.

Enjoy!  And happy World Gin Day!!!  (Also, drink responsibly, etc. etc.)

PS – Fun fact: this post contains the word “gin” or “G&T” 22 times (excluding those two)…  Definitely a successful blog post.

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Happy (belated) World Gin Day 2011!

Yes, that’s right, yesterday was World Gin Day!  In case you don’t already know, I’m quite a big gin fan, so I don’t think I don’t have to tell you quite how enthusiastic I was about a whole day dedicated to gin…  (By the way, if you don’t like gin, I wouldn’t really bother with the rest of this post.)

I obviously wasn’t going to let World Gin Day slip away without making something gin-related.  I was originally going to do something in the form of baked goods (for a change), but none of my fellow gin-lovers are currently here in St Andrews, and I feel that eating an entire batch of gin-packed baked goods of whatever description all by myself smacks somewhat of alcoholism and very much of loneliness.  So I’ve had to change my plans a little.  Never fear though, I’ve still got something exciting for you…

I needed to find something that could either be made in an individual portion or could be stored for a while.  I was drawing a blank on something that I could make an individual portion of, which left finding something that I could make and have a little bit of today and then store for a while until everybody gets back.  I decided to make a Gin & Tonic granita, which is basically a Slush Puppie (remember those?  I haven’t one in forever!) but alcoholised.  With the bonus that it can be stored in the freezer, though it might require some vigorous stirring to break up the crystals after a few days.

As I was looking up G&T granita recipes, a rather genius idea hit me: I could add some of the cucumber liqueur that I’ve not really sure what to do with.  It goes wonderfully with regular G&Ts, so there’s no particular reason why it wouldn’t work in a granita.  This turned out to be a rather inspired idea, if I do say so myself…  I thoroughly enjoyed my portion of the granita, and the rest is currently sitting quite contently in the freezer, waiting for Kat and Craig to drop by, or anybody else with a penchant for gin.  I only ran into one issue whilst making this: it took forever.  The recipe that I adapted stated that it required 2 hours of total freezing time.  However, the extra alcohol in the liqueur in addition to the increased quantity of gin that I used meant that the first ice crystals started forming in the granita about 4 hours after going into the freezer.  I totally forgot to take the higher alcohol content into account, and in total, the granita required a stint of about 9 hours in the freezer.  Nine hours.  Which is why this post is going up today rather than yesterday (I didn’t have time to sort the photos out last night).  Woops.  On the plus side, at least that means that you can just pop in the freezer and go about your daily business and just check on it from time to time when you’re home, without worrying about it.

Gin & Tonic granita

Makes about 1 litre
Adapted from delicious. online

The granita takes a while to freeze, so it would probably be a good idea to make it the day before you’re planning on serving it and then just stir it up enthusiastically just before serving up.  Although I’ve suggested serving it as a dessert in martini glasses or tumblers, the granita would also work perfectly served as an amuse-bouche in shot glasses.  It’s also quite yummy to drink when it melts.  Obviously, make sure you use a good quality gin because you’ll definitely be able to taste it – I chose Bombay Sapphire because it’s very aromatic.

Ingredients

100ml water
200g caster sugar
175ml gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
75ml cucumber liqueur
500ml tonic water (without saccharin)
Cucumber slices, to garnish

Directions

1.  Heat the water and sugar together in a large saucepan for about 5 mins until all the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and mix in the gin, cucumber liqueur and tonic.  Allow to cool a little before pouring into a freezer-proof container and allowing to cool fully to room temperature before freezing.

2.  After about 4 hours, remove and break up any ice crystals that have formed using a fork, before returning to the freezer.  After about 1 ½ hours, remove the granita and once again break up any ice crystals up with a fork before returning to the freezer.  Repeat after 1 ½ hours, and once again after a further 1 ½ hours.  Just before serving, break the ice crystals up to Slush Puppie consistency, and serve in martini glasses or tumblers, each garnished with a slice of cucumber.

Enjoy!  (And just pretend it’s still World Gin Day!)

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Cocktail in a macaron: Gin & Tonic

Today is Craig’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Craig (when you eventually get round to reading this)!

Now Craig is a big fan of gin, so obviously his birthday present just had to be something gin-related.  I decided to attempt to make Gin & Tonic macarons because I think macarons make brilliant presents – they’re something a little different, they look lovely, and I haven’t yet come across any good ones in St Andrews.   They also involve gin, so I was pretty sure they would go down well.  Providing they were tasty, obviously.

I wasn’t sure exactly how to go about making them though.  The gin would be incorporated into the filling, along with some lime zest and juice – that was straightforward enough.  I decided that a white chocolate ganache would be the best type of filling, simply because I find that a ganache can take more liquid (read: alcohol) than a buttercream.  The tricky part was working out how to incorporate the tonic.  I realised at this point that I actually had no idea what tonic tastes like.  I drink it all the time in G&Ts, but never on its own.  So I tasted it, and I think Kat’s description of “like bitter lemon and seltzer water” is pretty apt.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan.  So how on Earth was I going to include the tonic element?  I made myself a G&T (all in the name of culinary research, of course) and realised that whenever Kat, Craig or I make a G&T, the amount of gin that goes in effectively covers any taste the tonic might have contributed to the drink.  So I decided to add a bit of lemon zest, in an attempt to faintly echo the bitter lemon element of the tonic, but I felt that would be enough, because let’s be honest here, it’s all about the gin.

So how did they turn out?  Well, they were gin-y and lime-y.  And thus I think I can say that they were yummy.  The tonic flavour may have gotten slightly lost, but well, the tonic in a G&T is really there just to dilute the gin a little, so I don’t think that matters too much.  And anyway, Craig did manage to guess that they were supposed to be G&T macarons just from smelling them, so they can’t have been that far off.

Gin & Tonic macarons

Makes about 60 small macarons (so about 120 shells of 1.5/2 cm diameter)
Macaron shell recipe based on Mad About Macarons!
Ganache recipe adapted from Pure Gourmandise

I added a speckled pattern to the shells just for a little bit of colour.  Since the only colourful thing in a G&T is the lime, I went for green, which coincidentally also matches the bottle of Gordon’s gin that I used.  Make sure you leave these at least 24h before eating them, in order to allow the ganache to soak into the shells a bit.  They can be stored in an airtight box in the fridge – just remember to bring them out at least 30mins before eating them, so that you can appreciate the flavour fully!

Ingredients

For the macaron shells:
100g aged egg whites (age them for 4-5 days in a sealed jar in the fridge)
66g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
180g icing sugar
Green food colouring (optional)

For the ganache:
40g single cream
150g white chocolate
40ml gin
Zest of 1 lime + 1 tsp of lime juice
Zest of ½ lemon

Directions

To make the macaron shells:
1. Line three or four flat baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.  Prepare a piping bag with a plain nozzle.

2.  Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds together (don’t skip this step!)  Sift them through a medium sieve into a large bowl.  Sift them again if necessary.

3.  Make the French meringue by whisking the egg whites at room temperature (take them out of the fridge 2h beforehand) to glossy firm peaks, gradually adding the caster sugar.

4.  Incorporate the French meringue into the dry ingredients using a large spatula and mix well.  Now work on the mixture by pressing down well with the spatula, going backwards and forwards, to press out the oxygen from the egg whites (this is the macaronnage stage), until you have a smooth mixture.  Don’t do this for longer than 5 minutes.  The result should be a soft and brilliant mixture that forms a “ribbon” on the spatula.

5.  Transfer the mixture to the previously prepared piping bag and pipe out the desired size of rounds (mine were about 1.5-2cm in diameter).  Press the nozzle right down on the paper and finish off with a flourish to obtain a nice round.  Leave a good space between them so they can spread out.

6.  Leave to set for about 30mins (this helps to produce the feet).  Preheat the oven to fan-oven 160°C.  Pour a little green food colouring into a small dish, dip a paintbrush in the colouring (a clean one that isn’t used for actual painting, obviously), and flick the colouring across the shells whilst they set.  When you can feel that a skin has formed over the top, they are ready to go into the oven.

7.  Bake one tray at a time in the centre of the oven for about 8-10mins (to see if they are done, touch the top – if there is a “wobble,” leave them in 2-3mins longer).  Leave them to cool on the baking trays, and when they are completely cool, carefully remove them and pair them up by size.

To make the ganache filling:
8.  Whilst the macarons are setting and cooking, make the ganache filling.  Heat the cream, and as soon as it starts boiling, add the white chocolate (broken into pieces), the gin, the lime and lemon zest and the 1 tsp of lime juice, and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth (don’t let it boil or you will boil off the alcohol and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?).  Allow the mixture to thicken in the fridge (or freezer if necessary).

9.  Once cool, use a teaspoon to deposit a good dollop of  ganache onto one shell of each pair.  Then place the partner shell on top, and use a slight twisting motion to push the shell down onto the filling.

10.  Leave in the fridge for at least 24h before serving (I know, it’s difficult!  But so worth it!!)

Enjoy!

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