- Food & Drink
Do you know the best way to convince people you are serving them a rare and expensive gin, and not a two-for-one special you bought in Asda? A heavy glass. Serve your gin in a heavy glass and people think you have splashed on the good stuff. Pour your finest, artisan gin into a plastic cup, on the other hand, and they will leave your house muttering about standards and spread rumours about your precarious financial situation.
It’s true, it really is. Or, at least, it was true in 2014 when Professor Charles Spence ran an incredibly important experiment on the impact your drinking vessel has on the flavour of your gin and tonic. Perhaps in the last two years people have got wise to the heavy glass trick, but I doubt it. People are very easy to fool. (My favourite bit of that report, incidentally, is when Charles Spence says: “We haven’t tested other cocktails, but I imagine that is true for them as well.” He won’t definitively commit to vodka tasting better in a heavy glass until he has put it to the test. Now that’s science.)
As an owner of glasses that can mostly be summed up as ’empty Nutella jars’, this was disappointing news. It has lingered with me for years. So when Dartington offered to send me some glasses, I leapt at the chance, imagining how much better my gin would taste out of Devonshire crystal. I opted for a pair of Dimple Highballs, which get their name from the dimple in the base. 24% lead crystal and handmade, they are reassuringly hefty and the glass ripples under my fingertips.
But I couldn’t drink an ordinary gin and tonic out of such fine glassware, and a colleague had just sent me a box of quinces. A timely coincidence. With a little dash of quince syrup in my G&T and a glass that has never contained chocolate hazelnut spread, my evening cocktail was finally up to snuff.
A pair of Dimple Highballs from Dartington costs £44 and you can order them here. I was sent the glasses as a gift.
Quince & Tonics
Put the sugar and water in a small pan with a little squeeze of lemon juice. Put the pan over a medium-low heat and warm till the sugar melts. While the sugar melts, peel the quince. Quarter it and slice out the core (quinces are hard, so you will need a good, sharp knife to hack away at it). Slice the quince into eight wedges. When the sugar has melted, add the quince wedges. Cover and gently simmer for 30-45 mins till the quince is tender when you press it with a skewer.
Take the quince off the heat. You will only need half the quince for your drinks, so you can eat the rest now with ice cream. Leave four wedges of quince to cool in a puddle of the syrup.
When you’re ready to make your drink, fill two Dartington Highball Glasses with a handful of ice. Pour in the gin and spoon around 15ml quince syrup into each glass. Pour in the tonic water and then stir the drink with a long spoon to mix. Tuck in a couple of wedges of quince (it’s important to have something to eat while you drink) and serve.