Discerning Drinking, Chapter Two.

Originally posted 11th February 2012

Another day, another two bottles added to the fabled Carmine’s Bar at Limehouse.  Today saw the addition of St. Germain elderflower liqueur (French for Saint German, or German Street, I assume) and also the addition of – shock, horror – a non-alcoholic bottle of Sirop de Gomme, which is definitely French for Sugar Syrup.  Sugar syrup is an essential mainstay of mixology, for two main reasons.

Firstly, it an excellent sweetener and can take the edge off very dry drinks.  Secondly (and more importantly in my case) it can mask failure.  If yours truly has overdone it on the lemon juice or whatever, sugar syrup can help even out the drink.  The syrup can be made in-house by adding sugar to boiling water (once cooled, it can keep for weeks) but I had a go a few times and was never sure of how syrupy it should be, so today I just happened across a bottle in town and thought that this can be the benchmark that all future homemade attempts can aspire to.  At 6 quid a bottle, you can’t go wrong really.

I also invested in Martini glasses today; the Carmine’s is becoming more comprehensive every day!

So, in true tradition, once returned to the warmth of the bar apartment, I had to make a drink using my new acquisitions.  Please pay attention because the following drink will rock your world.  If you like gin.  And tea.  And elderflower.

The G and Tea

Oh yes, you can see where this one is going.  See it, savour it, ENJOY it, because this is quite possibly the best alcoholic drink I have tried to date.  Here is what you need:

  • Bags of ice (best served cold)
  • 1 ½ shots Gin
  • 1 shot St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 shot cold English Breakfast tea (just brew it and leave to cool down)
  • Topped with Tonic water (none of that Slimline shit)

Best start off with brewing the tea.  Don’t stick the hot brew in the fridge you fool!  Leave it to cool on the counter, maybe stick the mug in a bath of cold water to speed things up if you are in desperate need of booze.  Combine the gin, elderflower and tea in the shaker (I also added some elderflower syrup I had handy) and shake over ice.  Pour into a looooong glass with ice and top with tonic.  Add cupcakes, Total Wipeout and serve.

I ♥ this drink, I really do.  It is a fantastic take on the classic G&T, but the tea and elderflower really come through and you get everything balanced on the palate.  It is dangerously drinkable but packs a real punch.  If you like your cocktails floral, dry and laced with gin then this is for you.  If not, then try the damn thing anyway, it is that good.

The Return to Gerry’s, and an introduction to Konik’s Tail

St. Germain was bought from Gerry’s obviously.  Next up on the list is a replacement bottle of Triple Sec as I am almost out, Grand Marnier (one of the big 14) and a bottle of Wray and Nephew over-proof rum.  Why, you may ask?  Well, over-proof rum does sound a bit awesome, doesn’t it?

The tasting in Gerry’s was featuring limited edition premium Polish vodka, Konik’s Tail.  The vodka is limited to 400 bottles per year and was selling at a reasonable £30.  The guy at the tasting makes it himself.  As you may have read, I am all good for vodka at the moment but this stuff was good and is definitely on my hit list.  Check it out here!

OK, I am due to go out in one hour and I already have a hangover.  Better have a shower!

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Konik website, attributed to Voltaire:

“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; she requires the hand of time”

Well, when I make a coffee it seems to take half an hour.  Tastes great but I am never on time these days.

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