This is a Sponsored Post in association with Schweppes 1783
Well, I think it is fair to say that I was not expecting a vintage Daimler DS420 from the 1970s, complete with uniformed and peak capped chauffeur, to be waiting outside my home to take me, Hannah and both sausage dogs to Goodwood.
I was thinking more along the lines of a Ford Galaxy people mover…apparently my neighbours were verreee interested in knowing who could be travelling in such style but George the Chauffeur says that discretion is his middle name so he would never divulge the names of his passengers to onlookers.
You may remember that I have stayed at Goodwood before – back in 2014 I shot a lovely story for The Great Boden Diaries all around the Goodwood Estate, and we overnighted at The Goodwood Hotel.
This trip was somewhat different – fewer trunks of clothes and props, (although the same number of dogs), and more cocktail making and eating of the delicious snacks and meals at every opportunity, as we were staying at Goodwood’s very discreet and insanely luxurious private house Hound Lodge, as guests of Schweppes 1783.
oh that car WAS wonderful. It’s the same car in which the Queen Mother used to travel; it has very low and wide windows so the impression inside is of endless light and air. Truly Schweppes outdid themselves with this.
I think the funniest moment was as we drove past all the tourists queuing for 221B Baker Street. They started waving at me thinking I must be important, maybe even royal, to be travelling in this glorious car. Of course we waved back (Lettice already had her paws on the window sill, so I lifted one for her).
I teased Hannah via WhatsApp all the way from my house in Camden to hers in Putney so, by the time George knocked on her door forty minutes later, she was expecting some ropey old minicab.
Her face! Just brilliant.
I had been thrilled when the very nice people at Schweppes asked if I would like to bring a dog on our country retreat. And they didn’t then bat an eyelid when I suggested bringing a brace of sausages.
As it turns out, Goodwood’s The Kennels (now the estate’s members’ club), and later Hound Lodge where we were staying, were once considered to be the most luxurious dog houses in the world. That’s because Goodwood was the home of the world’s first major fox hunt and the very reason the first Duke of Richmond bought a house at Goodwood in 1697.
The Duke was renowned for spending far more time and money on his hounds and horses than on his friends and guests. He even famously installed central heating in The Kennels 100 years before the human owners were able to enjoy it at Goodwood House. (Rest assured, the central heating and open fires at Hound Lodge are in excellent working order.)
These days Hound Lodge is a butler-staffed, ten bedroom country house sitting at the very apex of English luxury – it has recently been completely restored for humans to enjoy, and hounds (and hunds) are warmly welcomed as not only do they form part of the heritage and history of the building, they provide a source of inspiration for much of the interior. If necessary, visiting dogs can even stay in one of the old whelping kennels. (Above.)
Although I was dying to check out my room, first things first – a little leg stretch for the hunds around the building.
Then it was back inside to find our room. We had been placed in Dido, (named for one of the past Duke’s favourite hounds) in the far corner of the ground floor, and goodness it was magnificent.
Here’s Maisie exploring the corridor between our room and the drawing room.
And, of course, our room came with supplies. Of the whisky, Schweppes ginger ale, and homemade biscuit variety. Essentials of life.
The hunds were well-provisioned too. I no sooner took out their tin of food from Lettice’s own overnight bag than it was whisked away from me by our butler, and returned some minutes later in enamel bowls almost big enough for Lettice to bathe in,
Then it was time to convene in the huge drawing room for our Schweppes cocktail masterclass.
Schweppes 1783 is a collection of six natural flavoured mixers, named for founder Jacob Schweppe who, after ten years of research, invented the first industrial process to capture and bottle bubbles (the process of carbonation) in 1783. His invention, Schweppe’s Soda Water, was an immediate success and was endorsed by leading doctors and sold (mainly in pharmacies) as a treatment for a variety of ailments. By founding Schweppes in 1783 in Geneva, he founded the modern industry of soft drinks as the creator of the bubble.
My favourite Schweppes fact is that the little fountain decal on the neck of the bottles refers to the endless fountain of Schweppes Soda Water at the entrance to the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, where a million bottles were sold.
The six flavours in the 1783 collection are:
Cucumber Tonic Water – this is particularly food with fruity vodkas and dry, floral gins.
Salty Lemon Tonic Water – Its salty and citrusy notes merge with florals and aniseed, and are an ideal accompaniment for tequila and traditional spirits.
Crisp Tonic Water – A classic tonic water, known especially for its long-lasting bubbles, which help to carry the flavour of the spirit.
Light Tonic Water – Low in natural sugar.
Floral Tonic Water – Its aromas include vanilla and sandalwood and pairs very well with juniper-rich gins, flavoured vodkas and blanco tequilas.
Ginger Ale – Just gingery enough, and excellent paired with a light Scottish single malt.
Schweppes launched their Indian Tonic Water in 1870, inspired by the Britain colonial practice of preventing malaria in India by using quinine as an antidote to malaria. As quinine gives a bitter taste to the drink, the English colonists who settled in India mixed it with lime and gin. On returning home, they continued this practice and the drink became popular in the UK.
Of course these days we drink an extraordinarily wide range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails using tonic water, and our masterclass was designed to show us some new skills, as well as giving us the confidence to create beautifully balanced drinks. (Finally, I have been taught how to use a Boston shaker without spilling the contents down my arm.)
I’m exploring the world of alcohol-free cocktails at the moment, so I opted to make the signature Goodwood Cocktail (Schweppes is the tonic of choice across the Goodwood Estate), using Seedlip, a distilled non-alcoholic spirit.
Goodwood Signature Cocktail
50ml Seedlip Garden
20ml Lime Juice
15ml Elderflower Cordial
75ml Schweppes 1783 Cucumber Tonic
Lime, Pansies, Mint to Garnish
Build all ingredients apart from tonic within a Boston cocktail shaker. Shake, then strain into a highball glass over cubed ice. Top with Schweppes 1783 Cucumber Tonic, garnish with a wedge of lime, pansies, and a sprig of mint.
Then it was on to supper in the splendid dining room, for a four course meal which had infused the various flavours of Schweppes 1783 into the dishes.
We retired to the drawing room after dinner for a nightcap and a sit down – the dogs were exhausted by all the attention and I rather hoped this would mean they would sleep the sleep of the just.
Not so much.
I was woken very bright and early by Maisie attempting to climb over the sofa at the end of the bed.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw this Wedgwood Hunting Scene china at breakfast – this is the pattern that my grandmother had, and I have inherited, although it’s too precious to use every day. (Her’s was Coalport, now long discontinued.)
Then we all headed over over the road to The Kennels for a lovely lunch, where I spent some happy minutes looking for my favourite novels amongst the Penguins in the dining room.
Under the stairs is a bowl for every dog who is a member.
We ate the most delicious lunch, washed down, of course, with gin and Schweppes 1783 cucumber tonics.
Afterwards, we took Lettice and Maisie for a run in the grounds of The Kennels
Oh the sadness of leaving to go back to London. Although it was somewhat ameliorated by the treasure chect I found in the boot of the Daimler.