Gin is everywhere at the moment, it seems like we just can’t get enough of it. The days of it being referred to as mother’s ruin are over as it has become increasingly fashionable. A few weeks ago I was invited to a gin tasting evening with Nicholson’s pubs. I visited The Clachan in Central London with a group of other gin loving bloggers to learn more about the history of gin and to taste a diverse range of gins flavoured with an exotic blend of botanicals.
For those who haven’t heard of the Nicholson’s chain of pubs before, they started life as a gin distillery serving the finest pubs in London before opening their first pub in 1873. The venue for our gin tasting, The Clachan was built in 1898 and still retains many of the original features and with it’s dark wood interior it feels like a ‘proper’ pub. This summer Nicholson’s are offering a range of different gins across their 80 branches including Adnams, Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire, Chase GB, Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin and Tanqueray. Plenty to choose from if you fancy popping in for a quick G&T.
Although I’m very partial to a G&T I’d previously not explored many different gins, (downside of long term student budget) so I found it fascinating that there was so much variety in the flavour depending on which botanicals were used. For the tasting evening we sampled gin from Adnams (normally known for their beers), Bombay Sapphire, Chase and Opihr. I have found a new favourite in Opihr with it’s blend of botanicals collected along the ancient spice route that includes cumin, cardamom and coriander. The Chase gin was a close second with it’s heady nutmeg aroma. Now I know how diverse gin can be, I’m going to start curating my own little gin collection.
After all the fun of trying different gins, I decided it was time for a new gin based recipe on the blog. I’ve baked with gin several times in the past, it works very well in cake form. My favourite of these gin bakes was my boozy bramble cake made at the end of the summer last year.
Back in September last year I filled a large Kilner jar with sloes, sugar and gin, shook it up and left in the cupboard to infuse. A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time for a taste to see if the fruity gin was ready yet and the verdict was delicious!
My favourite way to enjoy sloe gin in the summer is chilled with tonic water and a twist of lime. The lime offsets the sweetness of the sloe gin. I came across a recipe for gin and tonic granita in Delicious magazine recently and thought I’d make a version with sloe gin instead. The result is this pretty pink, fruity sloe gin and tonic granita. I also wanted to finally enter the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge hosted by Kavey Eats. I’ve never entered this before as I don’t have an ice cream maker, but as she set the theme for May/June as sorbet and granita, I had no excuse not to take part.
- 100ml water
- 200g granulated sugar
- 150ml sloe gin
- 500ml tonic water
- juice of 2 limes
- thinly sliced lime zest to garnish
- Heat the water and sugar in a small pan until the sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the sloe gin, tonic water and lime juice together in a large jug, add the sugar syrup to stir well. Transfer to a freezer proof container and leave until cooled down to room temperature then place the container in the freezer.
- After 1-2 hours or when the mixture has just started to freeze, remove the container from the freezer and use a fork to break up the ice. Return to the freezer and freeze for another 1-2 hours and fork through again. Repeat this process until the granita is completely frozen. The total freezing time will depend on the depth of the container used.
- When ready to serve, fluff up the granita crystals using a fork and then divide between glasses and top with a couple of pieces of finely sliced lime zest.
Alternative serving suggestion: Instead of freezing fully into a granita, serve when half frozen as a slushy frozen cocktail.
For more frozen ginspiration check out Fuss Free Flavours’ gin and melon slushie.
I was invited to a gin tasting event with Nicholson’s pubs but was not required to write positively about the experience. All opinions are my own.