I’ve just moved to a new area of London – Bethnal Green – and have been experiencing all the ups and downs that a move and a new location brings with it.
Up until now, I seem to have lived near Afro-Caribbean communities so am bereft not to discover a Paks hair shop locally or a stockist of some of my favourite drinks ingredients (luckily I stocked up on hibiscus before I moved). But a walk home tossed up one of those small, throwaway happenings that somehow contribute so much to a positive experience of a neighbourhood.
I recently bought a bottle of Chase Marmalade vodka and after a long day, had every intention of tasting it (which I did – the hype was all justified) and perhaps playing around with some new drinks. So I popped into a corner shop on the way home in an optimistic quest for pink grapefruit but instead I was presented with an array of exotic fruit and veg. In particular, a gnarly selection of unfamiliar looking lemons or limes caught my eye.
A helpful assistant said these were Bengali and insisted on leading me to where the European lemons resided. I resisted his blandishments and instead persuaded him to tell me the different Bengali varieties and what their flavours were, eventually walking away with a Jara lemon and the promise it was the best variety a nd very sour.
With a powerful, mildly pungent aroma it has a sharp, lemony taste tempered with grapefruit. I had decided to make a loose interpretation of a breakfast Martini and the resulting drink was reminiscent of a White Lady. Although I’m a huge fan of White Ladies, I fancy the Bengal breakfast Martini’s complexity and soury-sharpness might well prove my new favourite sours style drink.
I now can’t wait to explore more of my new ‘hood’ to see what else serendipity has in store for me. In the meantime I’m going back to my cornershop to buy me some more lemons.
Bengal Breakfast Martini
2 Chase Marmalade vodka (or 2 vodka with a teaspoon of breakfast marmalade)
0.5 dry vermouth
0.5 Jara lemon (or 0.5 lemon and 0.5 grapefruit)
Few dashes of orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir fairly gently until well chilled and pour into Martini glass. Add garnish of lemon peel or cape gooseberry.
Tip: I find the vodka adds enough sweetness but still allows the tart juice to shine through. If you have a sweet tooth just add a few dashes of sugar syrup. Admittedly, I’d been testing cup cake icing for a birthday party so was in need of an antidote to all the sugar I’d been ‘forced’ to consume…
(I used the lemon before I remembered to take a photo so will buy another one and upload a pic soon.)