Sometimes I wonder when the gin bubble will burst and it’ll stop being cool. Not any time soon I expect since, as my pal Jonathan and I were discussing, gin is essentially so very easy to make. You take some neutral spirits (which are more or less vodka), add various flavors, historically juniper but these days take your pick – hyssop, frankincense, strawberries, whatever - mix ‘em up and there you have an artisanal uniquely flavored gin. The possibilities are endless. Exhaustingly so.
I was having this conversation in the Port House House on the Strand in London, a Spanish wine and tapas bar where they have a gin and tonic menu (of course they do).
What you see above on the left is made with Aviation Gin, which I thought was a basic gin that I bought in California in supermarkets, but I guess I may have been wrong about that. There’s some lavender in there too. I forget the name of the gin in the one on the right (which is the same as the one at the top of this post) but there’s orange peel in the glass and it tasted vaguely of marmalade.
And these were just fine but they weren’t the real reason I was there. When I’d been there before I’d had the morcilla con heuvos cordones, black pudding from Burgos with a fried quail egg on top, which was spectacular - the morcilla rather than the egg - so I had to go back and have it again – and I did – and it was every bit as good as I remembered it, though now I’m thinking I could do it myself if I found a source for the right morcilla.
Also on the menu were Papas Arrugadas, Canarian wrinkled potatoes with a mojo sauce, which seemed irresistible but they were a disappointment – a bit soggy I’d have said, but maybe they were meant to be that way.
Here’s something similar I made earlier, in fact years back.
And as if my gin ruminations had come back to haunt me today I got some targeted advertising (yeah right) for non-alcoholic gin and tonic. I mean, really, why would you? Really.