Gin and tonic, "supersonic", call it what you will, but this blend of fine clear alcohol and tonic water has been the age old bedfellow of the British psyche for as long as our fading memories will allow us to recall.
In Zurich recently, we drifted from different bar to restaurant to bar and back again, visiting the likes of the famous Cabaret Voltaire, the Old Fashioned Bar, the excellently adorned in flags Spanish Bodega, yet the bar of the town has to go to the Kronenhalle on Rämistrasse.
Kronenhalle is an understated speakeasy with liveried bartenders and artworks on the wall that include Miro, Picasso, Braque et al. The atmosphere is chic and relaxed with tabletops lamps made by Diego Giacometti (brother to the world famous sculptor, Alberto).
We sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Sipsmith G&T's to prepare the stomach for the night ahead. As it happened the bartender had a look of knowing and asked whether we'd like to try particular styles of gin. "Why not?" we replied and he started to pour…
The first I tasted was the Austrian Blue Gin, full of kick and juniper, it really set its own pace and was refreshing to a tee. My friend Ben looked over somewhat smugly holding his glass of Old Raj G&T. I tasted it and, wow, torpedo juice! At 55% alcohol strength, it is enough to awaken the ghosts of yesteryear. My grandmother was born in India, a child of the Raj to parents who were themselves second generation Anglo-Indian. The bright colours of the country stayed with her for the duration of her life and, I imagine, if she had one sniff of this fine elixir vitae, it would arouse a tapestry of dreams that every traveller to the East still desires to encounter.
With a change of tac, I followed suit with a glass of Deaths Door, an American number that promises no afterlife… yet there we were, grinning and sipping. It was quite delicious with extraordinary tastes of fennel that washed over the mouth leaving us smacking our lips for more!
The next gin served was Tanqueray Malacca and this is where the bartenders knowledge comes into play. He seized the tonic and put it out of our playful reach, insisting, calmly, that we must taste it neat. Wowx2, this is a great drop that really tickles the senses and can be supped continuously with ease and abandon, with nothing but the senses that are following suit.
We then tasted the Tanqueray Rangpur which has limes added during maceration giving it a fun tanginess that, accordingly to our all knowing bartender, is perfect for making gimlets.
Lastly as we were preparing to dive into the cool evening and meet our friends at the Cabaret Voltaire, he produces a "roady", this little snifter of K-Brock apple based gin. It was a little off the beaten gin track but great fun to wash around the mouth and get that hint of apple on the breath. The perfect end to a tour of gins that would put the spring back in Aunty's step, any day of the week!
Restaurant Bar Kronenhalle Zürich
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich
Discord in Odesa; pruning at Shabo goes on!
Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces.
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.