Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gin & It and early Molly Keane

I've been making Damson jelly today, which got slightly fraught. It boiled over once, and then despite repeated wrinkle tests didn't seem to be reaching a setting point, which was around the time that I started mixing Gin & Its (because multitasking). Eventually I potted the jelly anyway, judging by the way it's sticking to everything it touched it did reach setting point, even if it didn't want to wrinkle on the cold saucer provided for it.

I was grateful for the cocktail by then. The Gin and It is one of the great neglected classic cocktails, the It being short for Italian Vermouth. It's half and half gin and vermouth, an orange garnish or a drop of bitters being optional, stirred over ice and strained into a glass. Simple and delicious.

If you want a stronger, dryer, version use less vermouth (the Savoy Cocktail Book has a recipe for an Artillery cocktail which is 1/3rd vermouth 2/3rds gin which is great, I also like it about a 1/4 vermouth 3/4's gin - which probably also has its own name, I think of them all as Gin & It).

Today because I was using the slightly more bitter Dopo Teatro Vermouth I used the slightly sweeter than I'd normally go for Tanqueray Sevilla gin. This was last summers big success which I bought, quite liked, and then couldn't really work out what to do with, which is my perennial problem with flavoured gin.

For a gin and tonic I prefer a gin that's really heavy on the juniper, and dry. The slightly sweeter flavoured styles aren't sweet enough to treat like liqueurs and so tend to sit neglected at the back of the shelf but this is a combination that really worked. The orange character worked nicely with the vermouth, and overall the sweetness was just right. Orange flavoured gins go back a long way so it doesn't feel like I'm taking a liberty with the Gin & It either.

I can't remember where I first saw a Gin and It mentioned, it might have been in an Angela Thirkell book, but it could also have been in a Molly Keane. Her impoverished Anglo Irish aristocracy might have had definite views about flavoured gins, but this mix also has something of the stirrup cup about it so it feels like a good match for her earlier books where hunting is more likely to be discussed and there are pre war standards to be maintained.

1 comment:

  1. Sold!
    Given my recent discovery and love of vermouth, & my old love affair with gin, this sounds like a match made in heaven :-)

    PS I could be developing some really bad habits by reading these posts.