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Cocktails & Dreams (Blink Blink Blinkerdy Blink): Is A £15 Cocktail Worth £15?…

Away from cooking I love films and of all the films I’ve watched (which are a lot) I know 5 of them line for line: Days of Thunder, Top Gun, War Games, Escape to Victory & Cocktail. I don’t have a thing for Tom Cruise but during the 80’s & 90’s he made some cult movies.

For those of you that haven’t seen Cocktail it’s a love story (aren’t all the best films?), boy meets girl, boy messes it up, boy does all he can to win back girl

Sorry I digressed.

At a pivotal point in the movie Tom Cruise & Brian Brown discuss names for their potential bar should life go to plan (which it doesn’t). Tom Cruise comes up with the name Cocktails & Dreams where he explains the neon light will go blink blink blinkerdy blink.

I may have originally written this post 2 years ago (I know this as I am now 37 not 35) but its almost as if I wrote it yesterday.

Have you ever bough a car or item of clothing based on the fact that nobody owns anything like it?

And once you’ve bought said car or item of clothing every time you take a drive you pass the same car in the same colour or you go out with your friends and 6 of you are all wearing the same shirt.

This is what is happening to me with gin.

Having defected from drinking spiced rum to gin about 18 months ago this is how I’m now feeling. Everywhere I go I see gin on the menu and having been to London for the weekend I didn’t realise exactly how trendy drinking gin now is.

As I’ve got older (I turned 35 two days prior to writing this post) I have moved further away from my childhood home of London and now find myself living in Cheltenham. I know Cheltenham isn’t the metropolis that Manchester, Liverpool & Birmingham are but we do have the internet (except in my street, where we don’t have an Internet signal – Fast forward 2 years and we now have internet) and a lot of good bars and restaurants which even have Michelin stars.

In Cheltenham we have a good section of bars to go out to on a Friday night with one bar offering 2 cocktails for £7 including live music. So you could imagine my fright when gin cocktails were priced £11 – £15 each in London. Before you start telling me that capital cities are always more expensive I am aware of this (I still have my receipt from my 9 euro pint in Paris).

So back to my questions is a cocktail worth £15?

Let me breakdown how they get to a £15 price tag and can make your own mind up:

2 or more good shots of premium alcohol: Worth £7

This isn’t a fishbowl cocktail that you get abroad where it’s mixed with cheap local alcohol. This is the premium stuff and full shots.

Mixer: Worth: £1.75

Doesn’t matter where you go they always use tonics or juice to mix your cocktail. If your going to have a mixer you might as well have freshly squeezed juices or home made tonics.

Bar snacks: Worth: £2

If you’re paying £15 for a drink you will be getting some sort of home made snack wither its bread & oil or home crisps & nuts it beats dry roasted nuts & pork scratchings.

Service: Worth: 10%

Sitting down and not having to queue for a drink in worth a lot. Also the fact that you get a bill at the end makes you feel that the barman doesn’t think you’re going to do a runner.

Capital City Premium: 15-20%

Well it is the city.

Surroundings: 5%

Sitting in a nice bucket seat surrounded by other cool and funky people sure beats standing on beer stained carpet.

Total price: Exceeds £15.

Could I drink in cocktail bars every time I went out (which isn’t that often)? No, but a special treat or something different I’d recommend giving it a try.

Places to try gin cocktails in London:

The Grazing Goat: www.thegrazinggoat.co.uk

A bar/restaurant with hotel rooms (This way our base for the weekend and you’ll see more about this in another post).

Drink of choice: Marble Parched £8.50

– Sipsmith London Dry gin, Cointreau orange liqueur, peach schnapps, fresh lime juice & peach bitters

Had I of known that it came pink and in a martini glass I may have chose a different drink but the barman was kind enough to spare me the embarrassment and put it in a tumbler.

Zoilo: www.zoilo.co.uk

Drink of choice: Normal G&T £7.00

Hendricks gin & Fevertree tonic

Regretted not having their signature cocktail Mr Hendricks (Hendricks gin, cucumber, lemon, mint syrup & egg whites £7.95) but this was only due to the fact I was eating.

Cecconis: www.cecconis.co.uk

Their website calls themselves a classic modern day Italian restaurant and I couldn’t agree more. Retro lampshades and waiters in white jackets and black ties made you feel like you were in a gangster movie. The only thing missing was the head off the family sitting in the corner.

Drink of choice: Eastern Standard £10 including bread & oil

Fresh Lime Juice, Sugar Syrup, Cucumber Slices, Mint Leaves

Satoria: www.sartoria-restaurant.co.uk/

We all moan about poor service ( I’ll be sure to upload my post about poor service) so it’s nice to write about good service. Having chosen 2 cocktails one of them was not to our liking (This was nothing to with the barman). After leaving the drink nearly full and ordering a new one the barman came to ask what the problem was. When we explained that the cocktail wasn’t to our likely he took the time to explain why the drink tasted the way it did. On paying the bill the offending cocktail had been removed.

Drink of choice: Hendrinks Mule £10

Hendricks Gin, Martini Blanco, elderflower & ginger beer

Churchill Bar www.london.churchill.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/TheChurchillBar.html

I’m saving the best till last. Set in the London Hyatt hotel this bar was like stepping back in to the 1940’s.

Drink of choice: Gin Blitz (well this is churchills bar) £15 with olives and cheese straws

Star anise and fresh lavender flavours with City of London Gin and homemade tonics garnished with thyme leaves.

And if you want to know how I make my G&T check out my recipe:

My perfect G&T for a sunny (or any other) day.

Ingredient’s
100ml Good quality slim line tonic (or standard tonic). It’s best to use small 200ml bottles of tonic so it doesn’t lose it’s fizz.
1 Lime
25ml Good quality gin
Ice Cubes
Elderflower cordial (optional)

Method
Start by rolling your lime about 6 times on your chopping board, this will help the juice come out the limes. Cut the lime in half and then in to thirds. This will give you 6 wedges. Don’t worry you can free what you don’t use for next time.

Squeeze a lime wedge in to a nice hi ball glass and then drop in the lime wedge. Crack open your gin and pour out 1 shot (2 if you want a double). If you don’t have a measure use the lid it’s 15ml.

Fill glass with ice, pour in 100ml of tonic and stir. If the drink doesn’t feel the glass add ice. Finish off with a another wedge of lime and an optional shot of elderflower cordial.

If this isn’t perfect enough for you try a supersonic gin & tonic. Use the above recipe but replace the ice with gin granita.

Gin granita

Ingredients
100ml Water
200g Caster sugar
150ml Gin
500ml Tonic water
2 Lemons, juiced

Method
Heat the sugar & water until sugar has dissolved. Add the gin, lemon juice & tonic water. Allow to cool and place in freezer for two hours. Stirring the granita every 30 minutes.

 

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