Thursday, 10 September 2015

Photography picnic: easy gin cocktails

photograph by Karen Harvey

My talented friend Karen asked me to be her sidekick at a photography picnic she organised recently for Cambridge bloggers. As all I had to bring was myself and some cocktail recipes, I leapt at the chance to be Cocktail Girl to her Photography Woman. Like the superhero she is, Karen had organised a large supply of delicious Williams gin from Chase Distillery in addition to fabulous mason jar tumblers from Aladdin - the perfect picnic drinking receptacles. There was one for everybody in the audience.
photograph by Karen Harvey

I only managed to take a few photos. I was too busy making cocktails, chatting and generally having a lovely time. Sian and Alex from Bone White China brought many beautiful props and said very nice things about my cocktails so I enjoyed hanging out near them. Elisa from My Foodie Days made the most fantastic tart which was just as tasty as it was beautiful. I even remembered to take a photograph.

I kept the cocktail recipes simple so they could be assembled without fuss outdoors. I just had to spend some time juicing lemons and limes and preparing the cucumber puree before the picnic. Cocktail Girl loves her prep work!

lavender gin fizz (serves one in a large cup)

45mL gin
30mL lavender simple syrup
30mL freshly squeezed lemon juice
sparkling water
lemon slice and lavender sprig (fresh or dried) to garnish 

Combine the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in your glass or travel cup and stir well. Add plenty of ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a lavender sprig. Leave out the gin for a very respectable non-alcoholic version.

cucumber basil gin smash (serves one in a large cup)

30mL gin 
50mL (approx) pureed cucumber (I did this in advance at home)
30mL lemon balm infused simple syrup (or elderflower cordial)
30mL freshly squeezed lime juice
sparkling water
basil leaves and cucumber slice to garnish 

In a shaker, combine the gin, cucumber puree, basil leaves, simple syrup and lime juice. Add plenty of ice and shake hard for 30 seconds. Strain into your glass or travel cup. Add plenty of ice and top with a little sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and some basil leaves. Again, you can leave out the gin for a tasty non-alcoholic version.

If you are making this at home with more equipment, I would recommend muddling the cucumber directly (not making a puree. In a shaker, muddle a cup full of cucumber chunks, basil and sugar using a pestle or large spoon until the cucumber offers no more resistance. Add the lime juice, gin and plenty of ice. Put the lid on your shaker and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain the mixture into a glass. Top with a touch of sparkling water (or champagne if you are feeling decadent).  Garnish with cucumber and a basil leaf.