It’s Friday night. I have all my gear on and I am seated in a spectacular corner of a restaurant ready to carve my way through the chef’s most tasty meals. As is normal for a treat or other occasion to be celebrated, cocktails are ordered first to signal the start of the weekend. They arrive shortly – brave, beautiful and bold. Hooray, what a lovely evening! Cameras, poses and stares abound in all directions. Later the bill arrives and you attempt to maintain a warm and happy face, while internally struggling to deal with the thought that “THE COCKTAIL WAS PRICIER THAN MY MAINS!”. As you begin to invisibly weep in sorrow, you ask yourself “Why not make my own cocktail at home before heading out?”. This by no means abolishes the entire evening routine and necessitates sneaking around in town with a cocktail carefully concealed inside brown paper sheets. No, the purpose of making your own signature cocktail is to liberate yourself from the confined selection of awful yet expensive drinks at your local pub, instead drawing your ingredients from your own fridge and whatever happens to be lying around as you prepare to go out for an evening.
Having been bombarded with mixers and cocktails from buddies of all types, I began to feel a corresponding urge to concoct my own potion. Why this necessity? To throw people off balance when they walk through the door; to make them feel ashamed that they don’t know the recipe; to laugh at them when they’ve had 2 or 3. I didn’t want to create something overly complicated or I wouldn’t bother with recreation next time. Or I would wait for the right time to make it again, and in the meantime simply decide to open a bottle of white wine instead. However, what I have noticed more than anything is the fact that a beautifully presented cocktail seems to elicit a positive judgement with respect to its taste even before people have taken so much as a single sip. Artful presentation was therefore a crucial step in my plans. After playing around with blends of various interesting flavours, I reached a balance of replenishing zen, a holy grail to turn to when the clock ticks past 6pm on a Friday or Saturday evening – when the night remains very very young.
When I make this cocktail, I don’t usually measure how much of each ingredient I add – it all depends on who the lucky recipient is! Nevertheless, here is a rough recipe. Apple & Rhubarb juice can be replaced with pineapple juice, and without a doubt go for a good quality, top notch gin! Although the dried plants provide a gentle accent to the cocktails, as well as that all important aesthetic touch, you can still have a great night without them!
Apple & Rhubarb Juice 50ml
Tonic Water 125ml
Dried Bay Leaves tiny handful
Dried Rose Buds tiny handful
Fill a glass with ¾ of ice.
Pour in all liquid and stir.
Finish by placing about 3 roses and 3 or 4 bay leaves at the very top.
Serve. Best enjoyed without a straw.