What do you do to cool down when it’s the hottest day of the day of the year and the humidity levels are rising into the 80s (which according to my Google search puts humidity at ‘unbearable’; I don’t think we needed to be told)? Around 6.00pm Jonathan rang; what were my plans for the evening? Lyndsey was out, could he come round? When he arrived – Zeph, their Yorkshire terrier in tow – bearing a gift of a bottle of Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water, I knew he wasn’t there just for my Friday night bolognese. He’d remembered the bottle of Beefeater 24 that Richmond Towers Communications had sent me after the Chivas Brothers cocktail and canapé pairing event at Hixters last month.
I have a strange relationship with G&Ts. I never order them in a bar, I never make them, but if someone offers me one then I really enjoy it. And last night, a long cooling drink seemed like a perfect plan. But I had to leave the making of the G&T in expert hands while I stayed with food preparation.
Two tall glass were found, cucumber brought from the fridge, the ice tray removed from the freezer. The slices of cucumber went in over the ice, followed by the gin – 35ml each. Then the elderflower tonic water was slowly poured in.
Jonathan had been telling me for a while that he’d been using the Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water for an extra bright, fresh taste and it made a great G&T; the cucumber adds another dimension of freshness. How much tonic water to ice, this novice G&T maker asked. We worked out he’d used about 125ml in each glass, so roughly 1:3 but he said many people would prefer less tonic – or even more. It’s all a matter of taste. And he tasted it and checked.
I meanwhile had been cooking … as I do. I’d thrown – almost literally – two peppers into a hot oven just after he rang. Fifteen minutes later, or when I could see they were browning, I removed them, put them in a freezer bag for a couple of minutes, then removed. The skins slid off easily. I slit open, removed seeds and lay on a plate. I added some of Waitrose’s wonderful burrata; drizzled over extra virgin olive oil, scattered over torn basil. I also dashed down the road and came back with a still warm ciabatta from Ruben’s Bakehouse. Portions of bolognese ragu were warming on the hob for the main course.
We left the food waiting and went to sit in the garden. It was time to relax, slow down; cool down.
The G&T, long, exotic (Beefeater 24 contains 12 exotic botanicals) seemed the perfect drink for an almost tropical night. It’s definitely a drink for slowing down and cooling down on a Friday night when there’s no hurry, but just taking time to talk and reflect on a good ending to the week.