At the moment our go-to drink – whether we’re entertaining or just rustling up dinner for one – has got to be a G&T. We’ve managed to amass a strong collection of gins coming from all over the UK and far beyond – if we had to guess we’d maybe say we had about 40 different bottles, and it’s growing daily. (Perks of writing about booze for a living!). It’s easy to rustle up, and won’t go to waste like an opened bottle of wine!
Anyway, the point of us telling you this is that obviously if you have all of these wonderful different gins with each of their many nuances, it goes without saying that you need a good tonic to pair them with. Which leads us nicely to a very exciting press trip we recently went on with Schweppes. They’ve recently launched a new range of premium mixers and we were whisked away for an overnight stay at the Goodwood Estate to have a taste!
Just in case we had any doubt that these were the crème de la crème of mixers, we were picked up in the ACTUAL Queen Mother’s old Daimler. Crazy hey! We giggled to ourselves all the way there despite getting stuck in hideous traffic – who CARES when the carpet beneath your feet is so luxurious and we’ve got car picnics on the back seat.
We were spending the night at Hound Lodge, one of the many properties on the Goodwood Estate. It’s an absolutely gorgeous ten bedroom property – complete with butlers – which we had all to ourselves for the night. We’ve already got eyes on it for our fortieth birthday party (yep, we’ve only just had our thirtieth!) but it was that good. Each room is decorated individually with ours full of chintzy liberty prints, a pink chaise lounge and cosy eiderdown quilt over the bed, with views onto the infamous Kennels outside.
Of course the best bit about the room is the ‘Butler Bell’ – it took us a while to think up a reason to use it but then we saw the whisky decanter and tonic and realised we were in desperate need of a bottle opener. The roll top bath was so inviting that we had to jump in at midnight with a nightcap because there was just no other time to squeeze it in and I wasn’t going home without experiencing it.
We spent the next few hours in the drawing room knocking up cocktails using the new range – cucumber, salty lemon, light, floral and ginger ale. We’ve included a couple of recipes at the bottom which are dead easy to knock up but 100 times more impressive than your bog standard G&T. Move over Fever Tree – the pros are ready to take back their share of the market.
Dinner was served on the Georgian dining room, complete with huge floral arrangements. The chef had been hard at work incorporating the new Schweppes flavours into each course – think smoked salmon with cucumber, pork with ginger ale.
All of the meat is organic and comes directly from the estate – the bacon we tried at breakfast was genuinely some of the best we’ve ever tasted. The country retreat continued the next day with a bracing morning of clay pigeon shooting (I was predictably shit at this) and an altogether more relaxing neck massage (unsurprisingly I got into the swing of this). A light lunch at The Kennels Restaurant rounded off our trip before a toot toot was heard outside and our driver arrived to take us back to reality. Booo. Well it was nice while it lasted.
Thanks for the stay Schweppes, we look forward to making these cocktails at home this World Gin Day (9th June!)
For more information about Schweppes, please visit www.coca-cola.co.uk
For more info on Hound Lodge, please visit: https://www.goodwood.com/estate/hound-lodge/