Gin-gle bells

I’m a gin drinker, always have been and no doubt always will be. But in the world today there is an obsession with the gin and in particular those that are “artisanally” created. Don’t get me wrong, many of them are really very delicious and by that I mean those that hold true to the ideals of a real gin and not those that have been fiddled with to the point of being beyond recognition.

When I want a gin I probably don’t want it tainted with rhubarb or violets and certainly never with coconut – whoever thought that was a good idea needs a good talking too.

So when it comes to a classic G&T then I invariably chose a tried and tested brand and for me I love the clean classic lines of Bombay Sapphire. The first time I tried it I was most definitely tempted by the crystal blue bottle, but once tasted I realised that this was a classic and classy gin, unadulterated by fashionable whimsy.

It makes a perfect G&T, especially when you apply the same rules of going with a classic mixer and again avoiding the fashionable alternatives. A slice of lime or lemon, I will give in to those options yes.

It also works well in a classic martini, yes I like mine made with gin and not vodka, and yes I like them dirty – ask your bar-keep! A classic gin makes many a good cocktail and Bombay Sapphire is more than at home in a good negroni too. At this time of year I will always keep a few bottles of the Canadian classic mixer Clamato juice. It’s a fine tomato drink, not craggy like conventional tomato juice and when mixed with gin and a dash of fino sherry it makes a superb kick-start to any day or party, not as filling as a conventional bloody Mary, and far easier, especially before a seasonal feast.

Over the years I have also leant that gin is a great cooking ingredient – trust me. IN the past I have. Stuffed a goose with prunes soaked in gin to great effect, the balance of the botanicals works well with the the rich game and sweet fruit. This year I am soaking soft dried figs in Bombay Sapphire then popping them into the centre of my thyme stuffing balls to serve with partridge, give it a try and a merry Christmas to you all, now where is the ice…

Bombay Sapphire’s Senior Brand Ambassador Sam Carter also has top tips for hosting the ultimate night in.

His ‘dos and don’ts’ will save you time and effort whilst offering your family and friends an experience they will never forget. Create something unusual, memorable and extraordinary but most of all, have fun!

Plan your cocktail menu

Choosing the right cocktails for the occasion is essential. You wouldnt want to be drinking a summery mimosa at a Christmas dinner party! A well-balanced cocktail menu is key.

Create a menu of long and short drinks; strong and weak; bright and clear; deep and fruity; anything to create a bit of variety. Look at different methods of making cocktails, such as shaking (Aviation) , stirring (Bombay Sapphire Dry Martini) , building (Bombay Sapphire and Tonic), “thrown” (Bombay Maryand blended.

A great rule of thumb is to stick to only one spirit per cocktail. Theres a classic bartendersrhyme to remember a well-balanced cocktail 1 part sweet, 2 parts sour, 3 parts alcohol and 4 parts weak. A great example of this is the classic Tom Collins. Cocktails are about care, craft, attention to detail, accuracy and balance. 

Be creative with your equipment

You dont have to be a professional bartender to make a great cocktail. Grab a large chopping board, serrated knife, egg cup to measure liquid ingredients in parts, a chopstick to stir, a juicer, a Kilner jar to shake, and youve got a workable set of cocktail-making equipment without even realising it! These are great little tricks to be the ultimate at-home bartender and show off to your friends and family.

Try to incorporate a range of different glasswarehighballs, tumblers, champagne flutes, small and large stemmed wine glasses, balloons, martinis, coupetteswhatever you can get your hands on, after all variety is the spice of life!

Top tip: you always need more ice than you think. Buy twice as much as you think you need for well-made drinks. 

Get your guests mixing

Stick your recipes to the wall above your chosen bar area or write them up on a chalk board so that your guests can get involved and have a go themselves. 

Consider batched cocktails for ease

Batched cocktails are a super-efficient way of making consistent cocktails for any entertaining occasion. They can be made by multiplying the individual servings of the liquid ingredients by the number of people at your party and combining them in a large container so that youve made enough for everyone, simply divide into individual glasses. They save you time in the kitchen while leaving you to do the more important stuff entertaining your guests. A great cocktail to batch is the BOMBAY Mary.

If these tips have inspired you to get creative, tag your concoctions on social media with @bombaysapphireuk and #StirCreativity.

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