British gin has come a long way since the days of Hogarth and ‘mother’s ruin’. It’s now one of the country’s most prized exports, and along with scotch whisky it’s a fine example of the care, curation and class that goes into the best of British craftsmanship.
The gin boom has made its presence felt in the growth of hundreds of small craft distilleries in recent years, with now nearly 250 across the UK.
Ahead of World Gin Day on Saturday 13th June – and with adventurous cocktails one of the best ways to break out of lockdown ennui – City A.M. spoke to drinks expert and author of the World Atlas of Gin Joel Harrison and asked him for three unique gin cocktail recipes that are easy enough to rustle up at home.
The Vesper Martini
Created by James Bond author Ian Fleming, this cocktail featured in his 1953 book Casino Royale where 007 asks for a drink with three measures of gin, one of vodka and half a measure of French dry vermouth, such as Lillet. This was likely to have been invented at Fleming’s regular drinking den, now the Dukes Hotel in London, where today Alessandro Palazzi makes one of the most famous gin Martinis in the world.
Mix the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shake for 15 seconds, then strain into a martini glass straight out the freezer. Garnish with lemon peel, squeezed to release the oils over the glass.
Gin lengthened with Champagne and sweetened with sugar, plus lemon juice and a dash of bitters, the origins of this cocktail can be traced back to the early 1900s and the New York Bar (now Harry’s New York Bar) in Paris.
Shake 50ml of gin with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and sugar syrup. Strain into a long champagne flute and top up with champagne. Garnish with lemon peel, again squeezed over the top.
A simple mix of equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth (like martini rosso), served over ice with a wedge of orange, this drink was reputedly first ordered by Count Negroni at Caff. Casoni in Florence, Italy, in 1919. You can lengthen it into a ‘summer negroni’ by replacing the campari with a fruity soft drink – a blood orange San Pellegrino goes down particularly well. Helpfully at the moment, you can prepare at home into a spare jar, and serve over ice if you’re headed to the park with friends.
Stir equal measures gin, campari and the vermouth in a shaker (but stir, don’t shake) with plenty of ice. Stir until well mixed and strain into a tumbler with fresh ice (the bigger the ice cube the better) and garnish with a slice of orange.