It has been a long and exceptionally trying day, one that started with being woken at 4.20 am by the sound of a lot of water hitting the floor somewhere in my flat. It turned out to be in the hall, the bathroom, the kitchen, and my bedroom because upstairs neighbour had fallen asleep in the bath. With the taps running. At 4 in the morning. He seemed reluctant to wake up and answer his door (probably because he knew who was on the other side of it) and had no adaquate explanation why, for the 3rd Monday in a row, there was water coming into my flat, through the light fittings, and frying the electrics in the process. Again. By 5 when the water had stopped pouring down and I'd run out of towels I decided just to go to work early - where there would be working lights.
Back home again I'm still not particularly happy (tired makes me grumpy) and very much in need of comfort. Or comforting thoughts.
Beefeater isn't the gin I was going to write about tonight (I'm still debating the relative merits of a nice cup of tea, or a gin - if it is a gin I think it's going to be the Bath gin with winking Jane Austen on the label) but I am sure that as soon as I've finished this I'm heading to bed with a Georgette Heyer - one of the funnier ones - for a couple of hours of glorious escapism. Even if I do have to use a torch to read by (which I will, dammit.)
No Heyer heroine, at least not one of her regency/historical ones (with the possible exception of Barbara from An Infamous Army) would have touched it, but Heyer herself did. It seems she fuelled late night writing sessions with a mix of gin and barbiturates, and chances are those gins would have been Gordon's or Beefeater.
Because it's both ubiquitous and relatively cheap Beefeater is often over looked but it's an excellent gin. It's history goes back to the 1860's, it's still bottles at 40% abv, and it's generally accepted as the definative dry London gin. The one against which all others are measured. If it's better than Beefeater it's something really special. And yet it still gets over looked and I'm as guilty of that as anybody, being far to often distracted, tempted, or otherwise seduced by something new.
As you might expect there's plenty of juniper both on the nose and the palate, where it's nicely balanced by citrus. It's exactly what a conservative type like Heyer would drift towards (I think she'd find my Bath gin vulgar, and might find winking Jane an insult) appreciating it for both its quality and the way it gets the job done (making an excellent gin and tonic). Nothing else feels appropriate for her.
It would also be an excellent base for a homemade fruit cup (mix with vermouth, triple sec, and a dash of bitters to get something very much like Pimm's, or just add to Pimm's to give it a bit more punch) and I can think of no better way to spend a summer afternoon than with just some such concoction whilst enjoying a re read of 'Devil's Cub' (or maybe 'Sylvester', or perhaps 'The Talisman Ring') it would be pure self indulgence.