Last Thursday and Friday, the garden of The Imperial in Chelsea was transformed into an edible 'Gin Garden' filled with plants, fruits and botanicals ready to be picked and used to flavour and garnish a delicious gin cocktail.
The garden was created by Caorunn (ka-roon!) and they invited me along to sample some of the cocktails and take in the atmosphere of the garden. After tasting the yummy gin I felt it only appropriate to make Caorunn the latest gin to feature in Gin Mondays, along with a cracking cocktail recipe I've developed for you to try at home.
We arrived at The Imperial and walked straight through into the beautiful garden. Unfortunately, it took a while for one of the waiting staff to notice I was trying to get their attention and when someone did eventually come over, she told me she couldn't help with the gin and had to get someone else! 10 minutes later and a waiter arrived; unfortunately, he could barely speak English so trying to explain why we were there and order drinks was a challenge... However, eventually we did manage to order two G&Ts to start with; I always try new gin in a G&T first so I can really taste the flavours. They arrived garnished with sliced apple which really enhanced the flavours.
Caorunn is the Gaelic word for the rowan berry, which is just one of the 5 unique botanicals foraged in Scotland and infused in the gin during the distillation process. As well as rowan berry, Caorunn is also infused with bog myrtle, heather, coul blush apple and dandelion leaf. They give the gin a really nice, earthy and slightly 'wild' flavour which I really love!
Once the G&Ts were gone (I don't know what happened to them, honest...), we ordered two of the gin cocktails. Adam went for the 'Goodness Rose' and I opted for the 'Mint Julep'. Both arrived looking great but we had a lot of fun picking more botanicals to compliment the flavours in the cocktails.
Goodness Rose: Caorunn Gin, Raspberry Jam, Rose Water, Orange Bitters, Pink Grapefruit Juice.
Mint Julep: Caorunn Gin, Sugar, Mint Leaves, Peach Bitters, Dandelion & Burdoch bitters.
The cocktails provided delicious combinations of flavours I've never really tried before and most definitely a cut above the usual cosmopolitans and mojitos available in most 'cocktail bars' these days. I've always been a little scared of using rose water in recipes; it's really easy to overdo it and end up with something that tastes like grandma's potpourri dish. Not good.
However, inspired by the Goodness Rose, I set out to create a rose-flavoured cocktail at home that could be created by anyone with just a basic cocktail cabinet and a few fresh extras. Leaning on the collective wisdom of Google and Twitter, I decided on my flavour combo of rose, cucumber and pomegranate and spent an evening blending them to achieve what I felt was the perfect combination for a sophisticated yet delicious drink. The Rosy Cheeks was born!
So, want to learn how to make your own Rosy Cheeks? Here we go...
Rosy Cheeks Cocktail
A fun yet sophisticated cocktail, blending the delicate flavours of rose and cucumber with juicy pomegranate.
- 1 handful whole ice cubes
- 1 long slice of cucumber
- 50ml Caorunn gin
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 0.5tsp rose water
- pomegranate juice To serve:
- 1 long slice of cucumber
- 1 glass lightly crushed ice
- A few pomegranate seeds
1. Using a vegetable peeler, take a long slice from the whole of the side of a cucumber. Place the ice cubes and cucumber into a cocktail shaker and, using either a muddler or the end of a rolling pin, smash the cucumber into a pulp. The ice will help with this process. 2. Add the gin, bitters, rose water and a splash of pomegranate juice to the shaker, add the lid and shake until mixed and a mist of condensation has formed on the outside of the shaker. 3. Take another slice of cucumber and twist around the inside of a glass; the moisture from the cucumber will help it stick to the glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. 4. Strain the cocktail over the ice into the glass and top up with more pomegranate juice if required. Sprinkle over the seeds and serve immediately.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One cocktail
I hope you've enjoyed this instalment of Gin Mondays. Stay tuned for more gin-related fun!
Disclaimer: Caorunn invited me for complimentary cocktails at The Imperial and supplied a bottle of gin for recipe preparation and photography. As always, I wasn't expected to write a positive review and all views expressed are my own personal opinions.