- Food & Drink
Is it too late to talk about summer? We have blue skies still, and on the days when I put on a jumper I end up smelling like a teenager’s trainer because it’s still to warm to wear wool. But the air is cool in the morning. The leaves are falling from the trees. And last night, when I crawled into bed, the sheets made me shiver.
But according to the PR who asked if I’d like a bottle of spirits from the Waitrose Ltd collection (sure!) summer doesn’t officially end till the 23rd September. So there’s still time for one more barbecue. One more trip to the sea.
And crucially, there’s still time for one more blogpost about summer cocktails. Because that’s why I was sent a bottle of booze. So, with the speed and timing that makes me ever so popular with PRs, let me tell you about my summer cocktail.
I was allowed to pick any bottle of Waitrose spirits I liked. Gin would have been the obvious choice. Or whisky, because I do like to splash about in Scotland’s smoky waters. But the time of mincemeat making and Christmas cake baking is nearly upon us, so I asked for cognac. A spirit I associate with warm firesides, long nights and Father Christmas. I’ll admit it took me a few days contemplation (drinking) to work out how I could cast cognac as the taste of summer.
Blackberries seemed like a good place to start. The cognac arrived at the end of August, and blackberries are always summer’s last hurrah. They’re best friends with apples, as my mum’s blackberry and apple pies used to prove. And both of them like ginger. Which meant I was looking at shaking up something that was a bit like a bramble, with a touch of Moscow mule. But with cognac.
A few rounds with the cocktail shaker brought me to the Orchard Ramble, so named because ramble sounds like bramble and apples come from orchards and, well, you probably get the etymology. It falls under the heading of ‘troublingly easy to drink’ and also ‘troublingly easy to get drunk on’, depending on how much ginger ale you can fit into the glass. I imagine a tray of them being carried into the garden on a Sunday lunchtime as a pre-roast sharpener. The warmth of the sun, the chill in the air and the sense that, once again, the seasons are on the turn.
Put the blackberries in a tall glass and muddle them – give them a bit of a crushing with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin (or a muddler, obviously).
Smash up some ice (a handful of ice wrapped up in a tea towel and given a sound beating with a rolling pin works for me). Fill the blackberry glass with crushed ice.
Measure the cognac, apple juice, lime juice and stock syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add a couple of dashes of bitters and a few ice cubes. Screw on the lid and gently shake it all together.
Strain the cocktail into the glass and top up with ginger ale.
If you’re in the mood for more summer cocktails Waitrose Cellar has a collection of recipes here.