Afternoon tea and gin in Henley

Aug 26, 11 Afternoon tea and gin in Henley

Posted by in Spirits

Champagne and a boat ride down the Thames. Then High Tea and Gin. Perfect. If only we lived in a sunnier clime. As it was, we were greeted with torrential rain when we arrived at the Hotel du Vin in Henley. But not to worry, rather then have champagne on a boat, we were warmly seated on the leather banquettes of their lounge, daintily sipping away. Who needs a boat ride, anyway? 😉 The hotel more then made up for the rather trad English summer weather with a fantastic welcome. The Assistant Sommelier, Aranka Komjati came out and gave us a short tutorial on the house champagne. Lombard & C0, which was founded in 1925,  supply the HdV with their champagne. A light, fresh and fruity wine, plenty of green apple, lemon and lime on the nose and palate and the cutest little bubbles. I don’t know why but bubbles always make me happy and the ones in this champagne were particularly playful.  Afterwards, we headed into the bistro for afternoon tea. Tiered serving platters instantly appeared laden with finger sandwiches, brownies, cakes and, my favourite, scones with CLOTTED CREAM. I adore clotted cream although my arteries probably are against it, along with fresh strawberry jam. Heaven. Served alongside all those lovely pastries were loose leaf tea in charming blue and white china. After we’d had our fill of tea it was time for a quick look around the hotel. Originally, we were supposed to have our gin tasting on the “sun-drenched deck” of one of the master suites. We got to see the 2 floor suite and the now rain-drenched deck which had some specatular views of the Thames and the surrounding hills.  I should mention that the deck has it’s own personal bathtub so you can sip your favourite libation while having a good long soak.  Not to worry, there was also another giant bathtub in the second floor bathroom. Back in the bistro and time for gin. Not any old gin...

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Miller’s Gin and Fever Tree Tonic

Usually I stick to writing about wine but this past weekend a rep from Martin Miller’s Gin was in the shop giving out samples. Now, I’m not a big fan of gin and tonic so I was a bit dubious of trying his gin but I screwed up my face and gave it go. In my mind, G&T’s conjure up the taste memory of a bitter, artificial tasting cocktail that smells like cheap, citrusy perfume. I’ll gulp down a G&T if that’s all that’s available but generally steer clear of them. That is until this last Saturday. Martin Miller’s gin is an English gin that was created by 3 guys in Notting Hill, west London. After some trial and error, they came up with a citrusy, crisp, smooth, clean gin, that just smells cool. They use only quality botanicals and it’s distilled in the Black Country before being shipped to Iceland (!) to be mixed with lava-filtered spring water. The bottle is all sleek lines flaring out at the bottom. It kind of reminds me of a cricket bat. I think that game has affected me somewhat. The mixer was another quality product, Fever Tree tonic water. If you check out the ingredients on most commercially sold tonic water, the main ingredient used to add sweetness is either artificial sweetener or high fructose syrup which either leaves that horrible aftertaste or a sugary gloopiness. No wonder I don’t like tonic. Fever Tree only uses all natural ingredients, cane sugar and spring water. That’s it. No artificial sweetners, flavourings or preservatives. Put the two together and this gin and tonic was like no other I had ever tasted. Cool, refreshing, tasty, no cloying, bitter, artificial sweetner aftertaste, just a long, tall, icy libation rejuvenating me for the afternoon ahead. Everything a G&T should be but so often is disappointingly not…fabulous! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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