...maybe just one more cider...and maybe a G&T on the side?".
I had a lot of fun.
I met my husband at his office and we walked over to The Gherkin in the sunshine, purposely a little early so that we could try some of the new mixed drinks that Bury Court has on the menu.
We started with Shaky Pete's Ginger Brew (left - featuring Beefeater gin, London Pride, ginger syrup and lemon) and a Sherry Cobbler (right - Hidalgo Amontillado Napoleon, Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 yr. Bourbon, Cointreau, syrup and orange bitters). The Sherry Cobbler was arguably the most popular mixed drink of the
19th century, which is a fun fact to tell your mates as you enjoy one. The Shakey Pete's Ginger Brew was properly delicious, and won the coveted title of "Husband's Second Favourite Mixed Drink Of The Evening". I'm sure they'll update the menu soon to reflect such an accolade.
We then headed over to the 'masterclass area' to meet Briony from Sipsmith and our fellow gin drinkers...
As a huge Sipsmith fan, I was pleased to see we'd get to try their sloe gin and Summer Cup...
Briony took us through the basics of tasting (top tip: always smell with your mouth open) and confirmed to me what I'd always assumed: Sipsmith is lovingly made here in London and they care deeply about each and every batch. Sipsmith make in a year what a company like Tanqueray make in a morning, so a lot of attention goes into making it taste so damn delicious.
We learnt about the history of gin and the humble G&T, before moving on to a very delicious Sloe Negroni. I never think to drink sloe gin outside of the Christmas season, but the Sloe Negroni has convinced me it needs to be enjoyed all year round.
But whilst the sloe and 'standard' gins could be enjoyed without mixers, I didn't expect to be able to enjoy the VJOP (that's their 'Very Junipery Over Proof, at 57.7%ABV) without something to take the edge off. I was wrong. For my half-hearted tasting notes I just scribbled down "VJOP = worryingly drinkable". Ahem. Less than 3000 bottles of the powerful stuff have been made and I will definitely be making sure that one of the said bottles falls into my clutches.
The Sipsmith Summer Cup was a revelation. A bit like Pimms (but a LOT nicer, imho) it's infused with Earl Grey and can be served with ice and lemon, lemonade, ginger ale or tonic. We tried it with lots of ice and lemonade in a wine glass and it made me want to be BBQing and wearing a sun dress immediately. Again, one to add to the shopping list.
After our masterclass we were far too giddy to just go home, we wanted to carry on!
So back to the mixed drinks menu we went...
We tried the Pegu Club (Cointreau, Beefeater Gin, lime, orange and bitters) next and this was one of my favourite drinks of the evening. I guess the gin masterclass had started something!
To be sensible, we made sure we *actually ate* something alongside all this booze. We were meeting friends for dinner in Chelsea so couldn't dig in to the full menu (as tempting as it looked!) but the arancini balls were too inviting to pass up. The cheesy mushroomy goodness needs to be sampled, take it from me!
Next up was the Regent's Punch, a slightly special mix of Courvoisier VS, Appleton UX, Orange Curacao, Ceylon Arrack, lemon, orange, pineapple-green tea syrup & Cava. This was the historic drink that would be given to the Prince Regent to make him more 'agreeable', so you can imagine the effect it has. It was my husband's favourite!
For our last round we opted for the Artist's Special (left - Johnnie Walker Black Label, Hidalgo Oloroso Sherry, lemon juice and raspberry syrup) and the Brandy Sangaree (right - Courvoisier VS Exclusif, Dows Fine Ruby port, Marashino and syrup). The Artist's Special turned out to be my favourite drink of the evening, so I can now officially say I like sherry. Does that make me an official grown up?
I highly recommend you go along to a masterclass, they're a lot of fun....not to mention genuinely very informative. There are gin and whiskey masterclasses this week and fortified wine masterclasses are coming soon, just make sure you book your free spot in advance here.
Thank you for having me Bury Court, I'll be back!