I promised the friendly people at Richmond Towers Communications – a leading PR company in the food and drink world – that I’d come up with a recipe or two with the Beefeater 24 they sent me after the Chivas Brothers’ cocktail and canapé evening at Hixters last month. Having got my act rolling with Jonathan’s G&T on Friday, I continued the ‘cooling off’ theme by making some citrus and gin sorbet yesterday. With the hot and humid weather we’re experiencing at the moment, I thought this would be another great way to cool off in the evening – and get a nice little touch of gin with it too!
Beefeater 24 comes in a gorgeous bottle. The patterned glass with its bright red base is very art nouveau and is apparently inspired by an early 20th century flask found in the James Burrough Company archive. James Burrough was the founder of the Beefeater distillery in the late 19th century. The ’24’ gin is one of Beefeater’s special gins infused with 12 exotic botanicals for 24 hours prior to distillation. These include rare Japanese sencha tea, Chinese green tea, Seville orange peel, grapefruit peel and lemon peel, as well as – of course – juniper. I thought I’d like to pick up some of these flavours in the sorbet and decided to make it a three citrus base – grapefruit, orange and lemon. I bought a gorgeous red grapefruit.
Sourcing Seville oranges at this time of year is impossible (they’re in season for a short time around January) but I thought the organic Valencian oranges I found in Waitrose would make a great alternative. I used an unwaxed lemon as I was going to use the peel. First of all I made a sugar syrup base for the sorbet by combining 400ml water with 170g sugar in a pan. I used a vegetable peeler to add the zest of 1 pink or red grapefruit, 1 orange and 1 lemon. Then you need to gently bring it to the boil, stirring all the while, and then letting it bubble fairly rigorously for about 5 minutes to form a light syrup. Turn the heat off and leave to cool.
Once it’s cool enough for you to be able to comfortably hold the warm pan on the palm of your hand (take care checking!) add 1 leaf of gelatine and immerse in the syrup. Leave for a little while then stir until the gelatine is absorbed into the syrup. This addition of a little gelatine helps with the texture and keeping of the sorbet. When it’s cool, strain it into a jug to remove the peel. Meanwhile, juice the grapefruit, lemon and orange that you used for the peel, plus one extra orange. This should give you about 300ml of juice.
When the syrup is completely cold combine it with the juice. Now pour in 35ml Beefeater 24 gin.
Gin, of course, doesn’t freeze so you have to be a little careful about measurements but this seemed to work OK for me: a good gin flavour but the sorbet held shape. It won’t freeze hard though. Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker.
Churn for about 20 minutes or until you have a good, creamy sorbet. Now put the sorbet into a freezer container and freeze until needed.
Of course, I couldn’t resist trying some immediately; neither could Jonathan who happened to be around.
It was wonderful: so gloriously cooling and fresh but with that lovely background flavour of gin combining with the three citruses. I loved the combination of the three citruses too: the sweet orange, the tangy lemon and the bitter-sweet red grapefruit. What a perfect way to cool down on a hot summer’s day – though strictly for adults, of course, with the gin addition!