F O O D & D R I N K Perfect pairings THIS MONTH THE GINTLEMAN, THE MIDLANDS’ LEADING RACONTEUR AT HOUSE PARTIES AND VENUES THROUGHOUT BIRMINGHAM, SHARES HIS MUSINGS ON GIN MATCHING FOUR PILLARS BLOODY SHIRAZ GIN When you think of gin, your mind may automatically turn to a tonic match, then onto seeing how good your garnish game is in order to create the perfect G&T. A free-to-download app for iPhone or Android called Ginventory should now alleviate those combination headaches. And so the next phase to master is ‘What food will work for my next G&T soirée?’ Gin’s a surprisingly versatile drink to snack match; aside from the plethora of cake-flavoured gin liqueurs, there’s that afternoon tea staple of cucumber sandwiches, or scones with clotted cream and Pinksters gin-infused jam. I’m sure you’re all aware of foods with the words ‘gin and tonic’ in the title, whether it’s crisps, popcorn, ice cream, lollies and chocolate, or ginfused cheese, sausages and salmon and so on; mayonnaise, thankfully, may be a bridge too far! I do like the look of Patchworks pâtés - pheasant liver with Chase Sloe and Mulberry Gin, with its autumnal hedgerow flavours for later this year. But I digress. Over the last few years at my bite size gin tastings, I’ve placed an emphasis on serving simple hors d’oeuvres that compliment the citrus, floral, spicy, savoury and fruity flavour profiles, as well as the botanical compositions that categorise the most popular gins. Here are a selection of non gin tainted appetisers... Nuts Almonds, with their smooth, salty, rich and creamy nuttiness balance citrus, floral and woody notes in gin, as do hazelnuts and macadamias. Seafood Cold cured smoked salmon, such as Heston’s Lapsang Souchong tea smoked salmon with an added citrus bite of lemon juice, will always compliment the variety of citrus, floral and herbaceous themed gins plus salted foraged botanicals like samphire and seaweeds. Ideal when complemented with dill and capers or cucumber ribbons on a cocktail blini pancake. Also try crab cakes with a citrus aioli, mackerel pâté, scallops and oysters or quality sushi with a Japanese gin and yuzu tonic. 32
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