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Gin Cocktails Anyone?


Many years ago before my children had even been thought about, I lived in a cottage with a large garden. Something of a dream really, except for the endless work required just to maintain the status quo! Many evenings and weekends involved hard labour, such as knocking down the old structurally unsound kitchen, masonry painting, pulling weeds and cutting seemingly endless hedges. But one of the bonuses of all this outside work was the interaction I had with my lovely neighbours, which generally started over the garden fence on a mild summer’s evening. The day’s hammering or chopping or mowing would cease, a little gentle pottering and then ‘chink’ the tell tale sound of an early evening drink.

“Fancy a gin and tonic Jane?”

Gin and Tonic


There’s nothing quite like it al fresco, is there? (No not that!) If I was still working, the glass would be passed over the fence while I finished what I was doing. At some point my neighbours would often end up in my garden or I in theirs, but a general rule of thumb was followed. The glass wasn’t returned empty. No. You either finished your drink and returned the favour by passing fresh drinks back, or you kept the glass until the next time when it would be your ’round’ and so the social cycle continued.

I know I was lucky to have such friendly neighbours and I have such fond memories of those G & T days, that when a ‘shoppertunity’ for a Bombay Sapphire cocktail evening came around through #cbias, I knew this one had my name on it.

Since having children I haven’t been as sociable as I used to be, so as part of my quest to rediscover myself as “not just a mum” I’m actively trying to organise more social occasions with people whose company I really enjoy! I’m really looking forward to this cocktail evening.

On Friday I googled gin cocktails and initially found some American recipes with unfamiliar ingredients. After a little more searching I ended up on Bombay Sapphire’s own site. Before entering the site I was informed

You must be of legal drinking age in your country of residence to enter this site

and I had to enter my date of birth to prove I’m of legal drinking age. I just about qualified *coughs furiously* and so I was able to navigate the site, where I found a couple of very appealing recipes.

Bombay Sapphire Shopportunity

The simple ingredients in this Bramble look like a good refreshing mixture and I have some creme de cassis in the cupboard so I’ll definitely try this one

  Bombay Sapphire Shopportunity

Peach and Elderflower Collins Mmmm. Crushed peach sounds good. I’ll start with these two and maybe compare them with a regular gin and tonic too.

Bombay Sapphire Shopportunity

Saturday was the day of my little get together – hoorah! I got up early and started to make a little ice


And a little more in case that’s not enough . . that should do it

Bombay Sapphire Shopportunity

And then I headed to Waitrose to buy the ingredients You can see lots more about my shopping experience at Waitrose Portishead and how I selected the ingredients by clicking on the photo below.

Cocktail Party Shopping at Waitrose

Finally it was party time. Our friends turned up ready for a relaxing evening after hosting a hectic children’s party and as I am such a top hostess, of course I put them straight to work. Firstly I handed T a lime and some fancy twirly implement which was supposed to create a spiral garnish just like on the professional image.

Lime twirly thing

2 twists later and we had our first casualty of the evening – the end snapped off. Lucky for us that the rustic look is so much more ‘in’!

1st Casualty of the Evening!

I got started on crushing the ice. Hard work? No that rolling pin is virtually a power tool. It’s quite noisy so it’s a good thing the children are such heavy sleepers . . .

The ice Crusher

. . . .Oops. Well they would never have settled without sampling the snacks.

Snack Monsters

These crunchy salt and vinegar peanuts were terribly moreish.

salt & vinegar peanuts

And the smokehouse almonds were really tasty. Twiglets are just Twiglets. You really don’t need to see a photo do you?Almonds

Time to get back to the Bombay Sapphire Bramble before our guests get too dehydrated.

Still desperate for his first drink, T is manually squeezing lemons as though his life depends on it.

T winces as he squeezes his own lemons

Now to pour Bombay Sapphire into a glass with the lemon and caster sugar, add ice, drizzle over Cassis.

Bramble Garnish

and voila our first cocktail is born


The unanimous verdict is that this cocktail is truly delicious. Its sharp taste and masses of crushed ice reminded me of drinks I’ve had in the Caribbean.

Bramble passes the V test

 Oh yes, we all approved 😉 And now for something completely different –

peaches and ice

the Bombay Sapphire Peach and elderflower Collins.

crushed peach

First we crushed the peaches

then added lemon juice, elderflower cordial, Bombay Sapphire and ice.

impromptu measuring jug

Handy tip – if you’ve recently smashed your measuring jug (and forgotten to replace it) a baby’s bottle makes a handy alternative!

Gin and What?

Another hit but it didn’t score quite as highly as the Bramble.

T checking Peach & Elderflower

V put together a recipe she knew including Angostura bitters, but that one definitely wasn’t for me. (Sorry V!)

Angastora Bitters

We wanted to be thorough in our research, so we also tried Bombay Sapphire with tonic and with cloudy lemonade, but the winning combination had been chosen right at the beginning.

baby bottle measure

So it was all hands to the deck to produce another batch of the Bombay Sapphire Bramble

lemon squeezing c/u

I love how everyone ‘volunteered’ to help in the kitchen

Jane & the baby bottle

crushing ice is fun!

I even let V have a turn with my rolling pin

crushed ice

Maybe that’s enough crushed ice!!

Bramble Tasting

That  really was a great evening. I was surprised to enjoy the cocktails so much. Thank you so much to our excellent guests for being such good sports. There was talk of a return visit – I wonder what jobs T and V will dream up for us to do when they ‘entertain’ us! Maybe I’ll suggest a restaurant!


And please remember to drink responsibly – otherwise I may have to set my children on you

4 comments… add one
  • Alison 07/06/2013, 13:06

    Looks like you had a great night

    • Jane 07/06/2013, 13:15

      Hi Alison
      Yes we really did. It’s so easy to just sit down and veg over a meal and drinks, but focussing on making the cocktails put a different, energetic dynamic on the evening. I would definitely do it again!
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Jane 29/05/2013, 23:14

    Thanks Kath, yes it is Phase Eight. Actually I was admiring the one you were wearing the other evening which was similar, wasn’t it?

    BTW I have a fabulous Zoggs swim suit which is actually long enough for me, thanks to your recommendation!

  • kath knittymummy 29/05/2013, 13:16

    Nice dress. Is it phase eight? If it is I’ve just ordered the matching skirt!

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