‘Mother’s ruin’ leading into Father’s Day
Saturday 9th June was, believe it or not, ‘World Gin Day’! Yes, the spirit often referred to as ‘Mother’s ruin’ and the scourge of Hogarth’s London has, in case you haven’t noticed, seen a massive revival in recent years. This revival has given us a plethora of premium and ‘artisan’ gins (even Lidl has one). Apparently, there are well over 300 artisan gin distill- eries here in the UK now. Demand for interesting gins, made by small-scale craft and ar- tisan producers, has driven a near 20% rise in the total amount of this juniper-flavoured spirit sold. A total of 47m bottles worth £1.2bn were served up last year – enough, ac- cording to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, for 1.32bn G&Ts.
And while on that subject, ordering a G&T in the pub now seems to qualify you as ordering a ‘premium cocktail’, often a double measure, and often costing a great deal more than the old-style drink. I really enjoy a G&T – it is my ‘go-to’ drink but I do baulk at £10 or so for a glass. And there has also been an upsurge in ‘premium tonics’, which even the likes of Schweppes has now cashed in upon. Well good luck to them all, but I’m afraid that I’m just as happy with a bog-standard gin and my usual Schweppes Slimline tonic (the only one with no calories, that doesn’t use cheap sweeteners that give a nasty aftertaste).
To enjoy the flavours of different gins properly, I think there should be a fashion for drinking it with soda, as I do think (other than neat or in a dry Martini) it is the best way to taste a good gin. This makes a refreshing long drink without adding any unnecessary extra calories. You can vary the garnishes, depending on the gin, using herbs or cucumber and of course different citrus fruit. Waitrose recently stocked fresh bergamots (sadly not at the moment though). Wow, what a fantastic addition to a G&T a thin slice of bergamot makes. So complex, and adds another dimension to the drink – even just with tonic and ice, sans gin.
One of the ‘new gins’ I do like is Pinkster (the “Agreeably British Gin”). It is lovely served with a sprig of mint (and a raspberry if you have one to hand). Raspberries are steeped in this award-winning gin, lending it both its pink hue and subtle fruitiness. Those raspber- ries don’t go to waste afterwards - the gin-soaked berries are used to make Pinkster’s Boozy Berries and Gin Jam! Pinkster is available from Majestic, selected branches of M&S and Ocado – it isn’t cheap - £36 rrp a 70cl bottle – but it is delicious.
And next weekend it is ‘Father’s Day’. Apparently, the idea of a special day to honour fathers and celebrate fatherhood was introduced from the United States. There, a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother’s Day celebrations to plan a day to honour fathers. In the USA, Father’s Day has been celebrated in June since 1910. So this is now in our British calendar and a great excuse for everyone to cash in. Some of the information I have seen suggesting ‘perfect Father’s Day gifts’ has been quite staggering. I am assuming it is aimed at grown up, wealthy, folk with bottomless funds: for example, a Coravin for that wine loving Dad – a special offer for only £300! Or how about an achingly expensive gift of an annual subscription to The Summerton Club, a special craft spirits members club, apparently founded because the founder wanted a special Father’s Day gift for his own father? A snip at just £65 a month!
Far more fun would be to buy him a voucher from a great new local business: Eel Pie Brewing – Twickenham’s smallest brewery.
This tiny, (and we mean tiny) brewery is tucked away down Church Street. Its mission is to share a passion for producing and enjoying a great quality beer by understanding how it’s made and should be presented. A three-hour, hands-on session takes you through the brewing basics and lets you create your bespoke brew that you can keep
(along with full bragging rights!). It is the brainchild of local resident Guy Hutchinson, former Beer Quality Director for Heineken UK, so he knows what he is doing! At £40 a session, a voucher for this makes a great Father’s Day gift.
Call 07969 100626 or email email@example.com
Obviously, many of these gifts are far out of reach of your average school child’s pocket money budget. So more affordable, perhaps, is a giant personalised cookie from Prezzybox for £7.99 (but with a further £3.99 p&p!). But actually, why not encourage your children to make a giant cookie themselves for their Dad? Much more fun and likely to be appreciated much more!
If you are planning to go out for a meal on that Sunday, do make a reservation, as our wonderful Twickenham Festival will be in full swing, and there will be loads
of folk enjoying our ‘Arcadian idyll’. By the way, the
Petersham Hotel is offering a free dinner (£28.50 for three course fixed price menu) on that Sunday evening for fathers – full details are here. Lots of other places are also offering special offers linked to Father’s Day, so do check websites.