I love an “English Garden” cocktail. I also love the “Bramble”. Anything that combines fruit, floral tones, and gin into something best drunk in mid-spring is a big double thumbs up for me, and it makes me really proud of both English cocktail culture, and the delicious range of natural fruits and herbs we can grow – even in the middle of the city. What I’ve made here is a whimsical nod towards spring. As the temperature gets slightly warmer every day, and the sun inches on later into the day, I know that very soon flowers will be cropping up everywhere. Though its still only February, I feel just about ready to fling open my window, and shove all my jumpers to the back of my wardrobe. But until then, I’ll have to make do with memories of last year.
I name this one “Gainsborough’s Garden”, after one of my favourite painters, Thomas Gainsborough; a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts and arguably one of the greatest 18th century painters. He was primarily a portrait painter, although much preferred to paint the English countryside. Often in his portraits, you can see tiny nods towards the natural beauty of flora. Much like this cocktail does too!
My own cocktail contains all the things you can grow yourself in even the smallest of English gardens, and never loses touch with the sweet tastes of natural flora. I think another motivating factor for creating this cocktail was simply that my little flat does not have enough flowers in it at the moment! Not only do they create a gorgeous aroma – but they’re actually pretty beneficial for your mental health. I encourage anyone feeling anxious, depressed, or with low motivation this season to go out and buy a potted flower or two. No, it won’t cure you – but it will bring a little smile every time you water them, catch sight of them, or use them as a food garnish.
This drink is best served over ice in a highball glass – however, if preferred, it can be strained directly into a champagne saucer and garnished with a single rose, as below. When created with the correct proportions, it should be a highly floral drink, with subtle citrus notes from the raspberry lemonade, with a balanced rose syrup. If you like your drink shorter and more intense, go for the saucer version. If you’re like me, and want to sip the cocktail over a longer period of time as the ice (partially crushed) melts – go for the highball!
Gainsborough's Garden Cocktail
For the Rose Simple Syrup
- 35 ml Rose Water
- 10 ml Clear Honey
- 50 ml Water
- 10 g Caster Sugar
For the Cocktail
- 70 ml Wild Berry Gin
- 35 ml Lavender Liqueur
- 10 ml Pressed Beetroot Juice
- 2 dashes Blossom Bitters
- 200 ml Raspberry Lemonade
Combine honey, water and sugar in a pan and heat on a medium temperature until completely combined. Take off the heat, leave to cool, and add in 35ml Rose Water.
In a shaker, combine your Rose Simple Syrup, Wild Berry Gin, Lavender Liqueur, Beet Juice and Blossom Bitters with ice. Shake thoroughly.
Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice, and top with approx 200ml Raspberry Lemonade.
Garnish with flowers.