There are times in a woman’s life when a cocktail isn’t merely a pleasure but a downright necessity. A cold Martini on a Friday night to wash away the working week, a late-night Old Fashioned for drowning sorrows and shattered dreams or a pre-party French 75 to put you in the mood.
As necessitous as these all are, the most essential drink in my repertoire is the ‘lady pain’ cure. For a long while, I thought the only two possible cures for this ailment were champagne or gin. Far from being a depressant, gin is in fact an efficacious reviver and if anyone dares contradict me on this I’ll probably cry.
I found myself in the unprecedented position last month of being in need of said cure but with neither gin or champagne in the house. I’d been entertaining a lot but still – no gin?? This represented an emergency and luckily that’s when I’m at my best. A quick scan of the cocktail cabinet to peruse possibilities and I rose, without undue modesty, triumphantly to the occasion.
Not only did the drink fulfill its medical function satisfactorily but it tasted far more than the sum of its parts. The key ingredient to this was my homemade blackberry-infused brandy, which I’d previously struggled to incorporate this successfully into a drink. It has an unusual earthy character but here that added a complexity and lovely long finish to each mouthful when balanced out by a golden rum.
Another reason I loved this drink so much was it was the first time I’d used my Japanese ice ball molds (kindly carried over my by Japanese ‘mule’). I don’t have the patience to hand carve these or the money to buy an ice ball maker so these molds were a great alternative. I didn’t manage to get a clear ice ball though in spite of filtering and double-boiling my water. When I asked Tristan Stephenson of Purl about this, he suggested I need to freeze the balls in layers – if I ever have time I’ll try that…
Sorrowfully, I’ve only a few shots of blackberry brandy left. A new batch is imminent as soon as I can go bramble picking but there is still a three-month wait until the stuff is ready to use… oh well, I suppose I can just resort to gin in the meantime.
The following drink not only gets rid of cramps but probably all known germs.
2 golden rum
1 homemade blackberry-brandy
1 lime juice
Splash ginger beer
Build the first three ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice or one large ice ball/cube. Stir to chill and top with a splash of ginger beer.
Tip: if you don’t have blackberry brandy then just use half brandy and half creme de mure. To make blackberry brandy, simply add a few handfuls of blackberries to a bottle of brandy and infuse for three months then fine strain. Should keep indefinitely.