If it’s gin, make mine a double

by Mark Broadbent

Mark Broadbent has enjoyed a food-obsessed career spanning three decades. He’s cooked in Five star Hotels, Two star Michelin restaurants, Gastro Pubs and Member’s Clubs, delivering unforgettable cuisine or acting as a consultant. London’s Bluebird was just one of his success stories. Under his creative direction, the restaurant achieved huge critical acclaim and was especially loved by AA Gill.

July 14th 2015

It’s summer, it’s nearly the weekend. So it’s hardly a surprise when conversation in the kitchen turned to cocktails today.

The real surprise was what tipple proved most popular with my team. By the way, this is a team that regularly rubs shoulders with some of the UK’s top mixologists, and gets to test out some pretty mind-blowing alcoholic concoctions (tough life isn’t it?).

Yet what came out as the beverage of choice for most in the kitchen today? The humble gin and tonic.

And while I would normally plump for something else – Dirty Vodka Martini if you’re asking – I must say it warms the heart to know the G&T is still a winner.

Originating in Holland, gin has a special place in the UK’s drinks cabinet – particularly in London, where it was enthusiastically – and perhaps disgracefully – embraced under the reign of King William of Orange in 1689.

Notoriously nicknamed Mother’s Ruin, the history of the Juniper berry-infused spirit has been far from squeaky clean. In the 1700s, hundreds of distilleries were churning out poor-quality, cheap gin (terrifying, sometimes made using sulphuric acid) and the result was riots, destitution and despair.

But by the mid-1800s, gin had cleaned up its act and the development of the now world-famous dry London gin helped it climb the ladder into respectability.

Nowadays, it’s a drink with a glint in its eye. Effortlessly classy in a James Bond shaken-not-stirred kind of a way, but with a nod to its raucous, hellraising history.

There’s a multitude of ways to serve a good gin cocktail, but the best place to start is with a damn fine Martini. Simple and elegant, it’s a timeless classic.

Classic Martini

This is your essential cocktail for entertaining. Sorry, I have to disagree with Bond on this one – it needs to be stirred. Shaking creates a cloudy cocktail and melts more of the ice, diluting the alcohol.

London Dry Gin50ml
Dey Vermouth5ml

Preparation Time: 1hr 30mins
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the gin and vermouth and stir until cold. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an olive.

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