Guy Warner: What’s your tonic?
- Credit: spiritofthecotswolds.co.uk
Why elderflower and gin are the only ingredients you need for this summer’s ultimate Cotswold Cocktail
This month I want to celebrate two of my all-time favourites – elderflower and gin. These two ingredients are a match made in the Cotswolds – cosy them up in the same glass with a touch of ice and you’ll soon be scrubbing tonic water from your shopping list.
We have an abundance of elderflower here in the Cotswolds, especially in the Stroud Valleys, and a growing number of locally-made gins. In fact, at the end of last year, Cheltenham was ranked in the top 20 best places in the world for gin, alongside Tokyo and Cape Town, thanks in part to gin bars such as Lily Gins and distilleries such as the award-wining Sibling Gin and Brennen and Brown. And if that’s not enough, The Great British Gin Festival is coming to Cheltenham Town Hall on July 14 with an array of over 100 gins to sip, savour and stock up on.
I’ve asked some of our favourite local drinks producers to create the ultimate Cotswold cocktail; if you’re stuck in a G&T rut, read on for some ginspiration...
1. Cotswold Gin
Created by Emma Keene from The Cotswold Brewing Company, this 100% grain-based gin uses ingredients inspired by flavours found on her doorstep – hops from the brewery, hawthorne berries from the bushes around the brewery and lemon balm from the garden, all unified by the key citrus note of lime.
Spirit of the Cotswolds
This simple cocktail shows how perfectly gin and elderflower complement each other, so much so that your much-loved G&T will soon be known as a G&E!
2 parts Cotswold Gin
1 part elderflower cordial
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Pour the ingredients into a tumbler over ice and top up with soda water. Garnish with lime or lemon.
Stroud’s bottlegreen will always be the original elderflower cordial. The story started in 1989 when husband and wife team Kit and Shireen decided to use their wine-making skills to make a soft drink using the abundance of local elderflowers. The cordials were sold at local farmers’ markets but in the 1990s, Delia Smith featured the cordial in a recipe on TV and a whole new market for elderflower cordial was born overnight.
Garden of Eden
This Garden of Eden recipe combines elderflower and gin but with a few surprises – don’t worry, no snakes to be seen!
10ml bottlegreen elderflower cordial
15ml lime juice
2 mint leaves
40ml cloudy apple juice
Shake all the ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled 12oz highball glass and garnish with apple peel and fresh mint.
Sibling Distillery is, as the name suggests, run by four siblings who have a very strong vision for what makes a true Cotswolds gin. Everything is made from start to finish at their Cheltenham distillery – rather than buying the base spirit in, the pioneering siblings ferment all the raw materials on site. This means their gin is guaranteed gluten free and vegan, and being triple distilled, has a unique smoothness.
This reverse-tini recipe is a simple, sophisticated cocktail, which uses a reverse ratio of vermouth to gin to leave you less shaken – just pleasantly stirred!
40ml Vermouth (Sibling uses Regal Rogue Wild Rose)
20ml Sibling Gin
1 dash orange bitters
Stir all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Locally-owned company Warner’s Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. Visit the website here.