Monday, 9 June 2014

It's a Gin Thing ...

Gin aperitif 
Of all the days in all the year dedicated to one thing or another, World Gin Day on Saturday June 14 is the one I like to support, celebrate and join in. Now in it's sixth year and dedicated to all things gin, it is a legitimate reason to, well, drink gin, or more gin than usual. *Coughs*

But this year my gin celebrations started early because I won a Twitter retweet competition. Hurrah. The prize for which was to attend an evening of food and gin cocktails at Shear's Yard, Leeds with Portobello Road Gin. Double Hurrah.

I am, it is true, a very happy (and sometimes quite merry) gin drinker but a largely unadventurous one. I mix gin with tonic, or orange, or grapefruit and, sometimes in special circumstances, more gin but there my experimentation ends. I don't usually drink gin with meals either, mainly because of what my mother might say.

The man from Portobello Road Gin had no such qualms and has clearly never met my mother. He had prepared a frankly mind-expanding selection of gin cocktails while the Shear's Yard chef had put together an equally mind-expanding menu to complement them. 

All seated at shared tables to experience (because it was an experience) gin and food in perfect harmony, we bonded with our neighbouring diners/drinkers as gin followed gin and course followed course. Though the gin had nothing to do with it, I'm always scintillating while dining with friends. Honest.

In between being scintillating and Instagramming every course (obviously), we drank and ate ...

It was the kind of meal Heston Blumenthal's better looking, younger brother might make. There was, in no particular order, lobster, rabbit, gin-cured sea trout, and liquorice ice-cream. Burnt Cucumber Sorbet, juniper-rubbed venison fillet and venison parfait, black pudding, and beetroot in the Eton Mess. There was dandelion and blueberry ketchup and edible flowers.

The man from Portobello Road Gin wasn't to be outdone though. There were flowers in the gin too, at least in the blue gin which was a homage to Victorian culinary genius, Alexis Soyer. There was a spicy gin-based Bloody Mary made with carrot juice and not one, but two kinds of Martini. One of them made with the only remaining bottle of Bole's Genuine Bitters IN THE WHOLE WORLD, and absinthe.

It wasn't so much a meal as a glorious exploration of colour, flavour and taste. With extra added gin. Oh, and if you can stand up after five of those, stonkingly large, gins.

I could. *Proud face*

So thank you Twitter, thank you Shear's Yard, thank you Portobello Road Gin and especially thank you to Andy and Anita, quite the loveliest couple that you've never met before to drink gin with. Fact.

*Enters more competitions*

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