Thursday 20 February 2020


So I'm still feeling kind of peaky to be honest. I mean, this cold. Don't ask. PK and I went to a tasting a week or so back and I couln't taste a thing, let alone enjoy it. And there was some good stuff there, too. Burgundies, or something. I went home early. And now I'm still stuck with the half-life of the damn thing, enough to make me feel as if I've been sleeping rough for the last fortnight. I wish I was making this up.

Then, yesterday, I discover: gin and tomato juice written down in a notebook, by me, as if I meant to make some use of this concept. Gin and tomato juice? Somebody told me about it, I'll swear, but who? And why? Because it's delicious? Or did I find it on the internet and it's awful? In my weakened state, I can't decide. I'm sure I wrote it down because it's a good thing rather than a bad thing. And the more I think about it, the more I feel the certainty that gin and tomato juice is exactly what I need to deal with my cold. Or perhaps the exact opposite. Increasingly these days I find myself in this position.

Quick check, though. Yes, there it is, all over the internet: a Red Snapper - gin and basically tomato juice, and people seem to like it, and then it comes to me - it was in Sip - a book very kindly given to me as Christmas present by my gin-loving pal, along with a bottle of fabulous bespoke gin. Yes, Sip, there it is, sponsored by the famous Sipsmith and offering a hundred gin cocktails with this on page 129: basically a Bloody Mary but with gin, the result being a drink in which the 'Gin's herbaceous qualities and lack of sharpness compared to vodka make this a far superior combination.' I knew there was a reason why I'd singled it out. God, yes. It's just gin, Bloody Mary mix and a bit of pepper. It's beautiful.

I rush out, or rush as fast as my distemper allows me, get some Bloody Mary mix, chuck it in a glass with some gin and an ice cube and feast on the results. It is about the best thing that's happened this month. It is the best thing, by a mile, there's no getting away from the fact. Yes, I watched Winchester '73 last week, and that was fantastic, but that aside, this Red Snapper is so delicious I'm almost hysterical with enjoyment. And tomato! Who doesn't need some tomato from time to time? And gin?

But how could it be anything else? Anything with gin is good. Why do I have to keep reminding myself of this? Every few years, it seems, I wake up noisily to the fact that gin is unbeatable stuff, a drink to make every day seem like New Year's Eve, no, New Year's Eve is usually terrible round our way, some other day redolent of great promise and delight. Gin.

And if a Red Snapper isn't enough, check this out, from elsewhere in Sip:

Lords G & T - gin, tonic and a dash of port in a highball glass, a kind of bruised pink colour, the face of an elderly cricket fan
Gin Spritz - gin, Aperol, champagne. 'This drink cries out for a sunny afternoon' the recipe says, at the very least
Vesper - gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, Ian Fleming's favourite, I've had that somewhere and it was good
Reverse Martini - gin, four times as much vermouth, lemon peel. Julia Child, the TV chef, drank prodigious amounts of this stuff, reckoning it went better with fish than any white wine. She also claimed, apparently, that the two most important items in a kitchen were steak and gin
Gin and Dubonnet - favourite of the Queen Mother, along with a Gin and It. A simple classic

I could go on. I've got three different flavours of gin on the drinks tray, like The Three Graces, two green and one clear - the clear being the bespoke one which is so bespoke and high-tone I haven't even opened it yet, reckoning both myself and my habits as somehow beneath the gin itself. Of course, if I study Sip a bit harder and invest in some orange bitters and a bottle of triple sec, I might get myself to the point of making some even wilder drinks. I might also be shitfaced much of the time, but I'm not sure this wouldn't be an improvement. I'll ask around, once I'm over this cold.


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