Cocktails are truly the most opulent of beverages. Copious and delicious ingredients, exotic garnishes, precise measures and methods of mixing all add to the feeling you’re being treated to something savour rather than devour.
When the lovely folks at George’s Great British Kitchen told us they were hosting a Williams GB Gin cocktail making and tasting night, I was seriously rather excited. Despite having never eaten at George’s I have heard some great things about the menu, and I was looking forward to experimenting with a delicious gin, rather than my usual simplistic formula of: Gin + Tonic + Ice.
On our arrival the tables were beautifully set, and my magpie tendencies delighted in the beautifully designed menus, copper stirrers, shakers, strainers and concoction of garnishes scattered around. My friend and I sat at a table of six and immediately a conversation began bubbling about cocktails, distilleries, and all things GIN.
Our host gave us some history on Williams GB, the beginnings of Chase Distillery and how the love affair with gin turned into a business. William Chase, a potato farmer from Herefordshire, first broke into the food and drink business with Tyrrells crisps, later experimenting with a potato vodka which went on to be voted World’s Best Vodka in the San Francisco Spirits Competition. A few years on, with some further experimentation at the Chase Distillery, William’s GB gin was born. Infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almond, coriander, cardamom, cloves, liquorice and lemon, this juniper delight has a distinct flavour indeed.
The first drink, a classic G&T; Williams GB, Fever Tree tonic with a twist of lime and ginger. The gin had a distinctive taste, and helped along by some fancy stirring and patience the flavour was released nicely with subtle notes from the ginger. Certainly a step up from the supermarket home brand I’m used to!
The second on the menu was an Elderflower Gin Martini with a mint garnish – a little more kick to it than the previous, but a perfect sipper. I tend to choose against martinis as the glasses seem so small, but now think I shall have to place it in the same realm of dark chocolate, port and strong cheese – small quantities being just fine when the flavour is so rich and decadent.
While nursing the martinis, George’s made everyone’s eyes light up by bringing out trays of starter snacks. True to it’s name, the food was the epitome of great British cuisine, but with interesting twists added; fritters of mushy peas, or pickle and goats cheese, battered squid, katsu chicken goujons and handmade scotch eggs. Beginning to feel the gin, it was a welcome break for chatter and absolutely delicious. I also made sure to peruse the menu for a future visit, which will have to be soon, because a macaroni cheese burger is something I must try.
The final drink of the night was a cocktail of Williams GB, ginger beer, apple juice and garnish, and a splash of sugar syrup to sweeten things up. One of those drinks that transports you, just for a second, to an exotic beach somewhere, and something I will definitely recreate at home.
At the end of the evening we each had a small bottle of Williams GB to take home so we could treat ourselves to a decadent homemade cocktail, which I will indeed be doing. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening, from the atmosphere and the setting to the drinks and food. A big thanks George’s and Williams GB!