Made with bullace or damsons instead of sloes, the flavour profile of this ‘hedgerow’ gin is a little less complex than that of sloe gin and it’s ready to drink a lot sooner too, making it great for adding to autumn-themed cocktails or simply serving over ice as a fabulous seasonal tipple. That’s not to say that sloe gin isn’t worth making too in a few weeks’ time – there’s nothing nicer than a thimbleful on a cold dark night in winter – but this simpler alternative is tasting pretty good right now, as a fruity, seasonal segue into autumn.
I’ve always been a fan of Welsh rarebit toasts – my parents used to occasionally make them for lunch on Saturdays when I was small and I could never understand why they tasted so good. Now that I’m older, I understand that they’re pretty much pure ‘umami’. And I also know now just how good they taste with a cold drink.
The gin & tonic combination in these poached pears came about sort of by accident due to having no wine opener (or wine for that matter) in our new place to make my usual poaching recipe, but the G&T version turned out to be a real revelation – the gin gives a light bitterness that works beautifully as a counterpoint to the sweet fruitiness of the pear, and the various aromatics flavour the syrup beautifully.