Can't afford to go out? Stay at home and make delicious cocktails with these gorgeous gin garnishes.
With what appears to be a new festival happening most weekends in a different venue, it’s fair to say that 2017 is the year gin went KAPOW! With prices ranging from about €6.50 to silly money, gin and tonics are delicious but very pricy. But here, look, we’re all in the same boat and I thought I might as well share my favourite gin garnishes with you. No more FOMO for you.
Forget the straws and the umbrellas, forget the fancy glasses (althouth I love the tall roundy ones best), all you need for a tasty night in with your friends is a few basic aromatics to mix into your G & T and turn them in gorgeous cocktails.
Good gin garnishes shouldn’t have much more than three ingredients. Use up your old citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits) by slicing and storing them in your freezer. Do the same with some berries (blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are your friends) and you will never need ice cubes again. The frozen fruit will keep your drink cold without watering it down and you’ll get a delicious gin and dessert all rolled into one. Some might call this genius.
For every sweet flavour you will want something to balance it, so this can be sour, or spicy or fresh. Think strawberries (sweet) with limes (sour) or black peppercorns (spicy) or mint or basil (fresh). Finally, a pinch of some rock salt will lift and enhance the flavours and bring them together . I simply can’t drink gin without that pinch of good salt anymore. It makes all the difference.
I throw ingredients with abandon and where you have have two or three measly raspberries floating in the your glass when you get to the pub, I like to pack my glass with the frozen fruit and top up the drink until everything is thawed. There’s drinking and eating in my gins and that’s just how I like it.
Once you’ve got those basics down go wild. Here are some examples of gin garnishes I’ve made in the last few weeks:
- Passion fruit and ginger
- Frozen mango, red chilli
- Frozen blackberries, cracked black pepper (I like the bity bits) and frozen lemon
- Frozen raspberries and rosemary
- Frozen strawberries and pineapple mint
- Frozen blueberries, sliced granny smith and fresh thyme leaves
- Frozen mango, ginger and basil
- Cucumber and black pepper
- Frozen raspberries, peppercorn and fresh mint
- Frozen grapes and tobasco (still not convinced about that one)
- Grapefruit, pink peppercorn and rosemary
- Frozen lemon and cloves
Finally, although I adore a good gin and tonic, I’m far from an expert. If you want to find out a bit more about all the gorgeous irish gins, I would recommend following Carol Smaul’s Gin & Griddle. She researches and knows gin the way I research and know food. Her blog if I’m not mistaken is the longest running blog about gin in Ireland and when I want to know about a new gin, that’s where I go for my information.
If you fancy a slightly more complicated gin and tonic, try this tropical fruit gin cocktail.