It was World Gin Day on Saturday, not that I need any real persuasion to drink gin, and I thought this was a good prompt to show you the lovely botanical ice cubes I made for my mother’s birthday last summer.
We’re all gin drinkers in our family, and so were the guests, so I thought it might be a lovely idea to serve ice cold gin and tonics on a hot summer day, along with the traditional Champagne (we chose Laurent-Perrier Rose, which always seem suitable festive).
When I was younger, gin was very much seen as a drink of the older generation but over the last ten years or so there been a shift in perception as distillers both large and boutique have experimented with its flavour profile creating new delicious gins.
Whilst juniper is still there as a botanical element in the distilled grain spirit (legally within the EU, to be called gin, juniper must be present), it’s not now uncommon to discover all sorts of natural flavours in gins from chamomile to cardamom.
One of my absolute favourites, which pushes the traditional gin botanical boundaries, is Spain’s Gin Mare, made in a fishing village between the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada. It relies on Mediterranean botanicals for its distinctive rounded, aromatic flavour, all of which are distilled independently before the final blending.
There are Arbequina olives from Spain, citrus fruits from Spain -a custom blend of sweet oranges from Seville, bitter oranges from Valencia and lemons from Lleida, basil from Italy, thyme from Greece and rosemary from Turkey, along with juniper, coriander, and green cardamom.
I think it’s a lovely idea to make ice cubes that match a drink or cocktail, so in this case I matched the botanicals in the gin: we zested lemons, picked rosemary from the garden, and sourced edible pansy petals from my local greengrocer, arranged a piece of each in the individual ice cube tray holes, and simply poured water over them. (They take about four hours to freeze solid.)
There’s no point using blog standard tonic water, so we used lovely Fever Tree, and cut rosemary spears to useinstead of swizzle sticks, stripping off the needles from the bottom half of each sprig.
I’ve put together an edit of lovely heavy tumblers in the slideshow below.