Hey lovelies, so I’m back, bronzed, with a belly full of tapas, feeling recuperated and ready for some serious holidays blogging.
It would seem that the Gin Revolution which has taken the UK by storm has also hit Spain…I’m sure it’s hit many other places around the world too, but as I went to Spain, this is my only point of reference for this summer and for my next two blog pieces.
After leaving the house at 5am, our holiday gin journey began at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, where we had our usual beginning of the holiday tipple…a gin and bitter lemon with breakfast. Sadly, as we were flying so early, we couldn’t take advantage of Destination Gin, the Heathrow Gin Festival! Yup, you heard me right guys, Heathrow has it’s very own Gin Festival!! It runs until August 31st at Terminals 2, 3 and 5, offering samples of 11 different gins. You can take a look at the sampling schedule by clicking here.
Now I must confess, no gin was consumed by either Hubby or myself on the flight. We had been at a wedding the day before and were feeling slightly jaded through lack of sleep…obviously absolutely nothing to do with gin. Plus, once in Madrid,
we Hubby had a four and a half hour drive before we arrived in Moraira.
Flash forward many hours, several toll stops and a couple of stretch breaks.
We finally arrived in Moraira, greeted by one of my best ones, whose first words were…
“I can’t believe you’re here! Leave your bags, the boys can get them later. What do you want to drink…I have berry gin.”
…and this is one of the reasons I love her so much.
Their drinks cabinet consisted of, amongst other beverages, Gordon’s, Larios and The Northern Valley red fruits gin from Aldi. As I was in Spain, I felt it appropriate to start the holiday off with a Larios, by the pool, in the sun. First sip…this was definitely going to be a great couple of weeks! Larios is probably one of the best known gin brands in the Mediterranean, with it’s fruity, floral, citrus scent and mellow orange flavour, it makes a deliciously subtle and very drinkable gin and tonic.
The next day we headed off to the local Mercadona to grab some food, the boys needed beer, the Best One wanted to make mojitos and I of course wanted to check out the gin. I found a brilliant gin and tonic botanicals kit, made by Hacenado for just €2.70. The kit comprises of four compartments, each containing a different dried botanical. Pink pepper corns, cardamom, hibiscus petals and juniper berries. The back of the pack gives four detailed steps on how to pour the perfect gin and tonic, complete with little diagrams. I found the diagrams particularly useful before remembering the benefits of google translate. I’m disappointed that I only bought one of these packs, a bit silly on my part really. Luckily, I have friends who are heading over to Spain soonish, so I’m definitely going to be putting in an order. Interestingly, I have found an eerily similar pack for £3.99 from Lakeland, this would make a fab gift for any gin lover!
After working up a sweat in the supermarket, it was time for home and a nice cold, ice cold beverage. As the Best One fancied a mojito, I suggested that we perhaps have a ginjito instead. This cocktail uses the same ingredients as a mojito, limes, mint, sugar, ice and soda water, but replaces the rum with gin. I first tried one at our local SNUG bar and fell in love completely. At home I make these using Daffy’s gin, as it accentuates the mint, in the absence of Daffy’s, I went for the subtle Larios. This fast became our go-to poolside drink, deliciously, thirst-quenchingly refreshing and deceptively lethal when consumed in large quantities…it was just too drinkable! Even better, we found plastic cups, which fitted perfectly into our eBay bargain flamingo drinks holders, thus making our cocktails swimming pool friendly.
The next couple of days comprised mostly of sunning ourselves around the pool, and me reading Gin Glorious Gin by Olivia Williams, whilst partaking in the occasional tipple! The book really is a fantastic read which I would highly recommend, capturing the rich history of gin, in a fun and interesting way. Taking us from the Dutch Courage of William of Orange, through the despair and horror of William Hogarth’s Gin Lane, with appearances from the likes of Dickens and Churchill and featuring many other wonderful quotes and anecdotes, this book keeps you wanting more. Another brilliant quirk of this read is the inclusion of a gin cocktail recipe at the start of each chapter, although I’m not entirely sure how much of the book you’d get through if you drank each suggestion as you reached it.
I think our gin-iest day in Moraira was probably the Wednesday. Things started out calm, we took a short drive to Algas where, after many failed attempts to catch some rather illusive fish with a kiddies net, we stopped off at a great little restaurant with amazing views, Algas L’Andragó. The Best One had decided fairly early in the day that she was having a cocktail for lunch and this was clearly her sole motivation throughout the morning! The cocktail menu was great, although not too many containing gin. The Best One went for a frozen strawberry daiquiri, while I went for the Agua de Valencia, which combines cava, orange juice, vodka and of course gin.
“Half a litre or one litre?”
I checked my watch, assessed the fact it was only 12:30, I hadn’t yet eaten and the boys had only gone for a single bottle of beer each, and settled on the half litre option. When my pitcher arrived, I was not disappointed. So simple and utterly delicious, so much so that on our next trip to the supermarket I bought all the ingredients to make it at the villa. Imagine Bucks Fizz, with a kick, or a Mimosa with some punch. I will definitely be making some of this as an alternative Christmas morning drink, although I guess the only downside is that it has to be made in a large batch, rather than just being poured by the glass…come to think of it, is that really a bad thing? Polishing off our drinks, eating delicious food and surrounded by stunning views, I could actually feel any remnants of my stress evaporating in the sunshine.
Feeling suitably warmed on the inside by the cocktail and on the outside by the sun, it was time to nip back for a siesta. The plan for the evening was to pop over to see The Neighbours, and goodness, did they know how to pour a G&T. The Best One had pre-warned me about their generous hospitality, but I brushed it off…oh how wrong I was. Although The Neighbours are English, the amount of time they had been living in Spain was evident from their G&Ts. The laid back, free pouring Spanish attitude had most certainly rubbed off and oh my days, I’m not entirely sure pokey even begins to cover it. Interestingly the more I drank, the weaker the gins tasted, can’t for the life of me imagine why?…
The Neighbours put on a fantastic spread of nibbles and were so warm and inviting, it was like we had been friends for years. I finally got to have a real taste of The Northern Valley Red Fruits Gin, which was great. The tastes really reminded me of eating a summer fruits pudding, with the sweet flavour of the berries, carrying just the right amount of tartness to cut through the taste of the tonic. Aldi are being highly praised for their gins at the moment, and from drinking this I can see exactly why. I think a trip to Aldi is going to be in order very soon.
By the time we left The Neighbours place, we were all feeling rather squiffy, therefore the only sensible, and adult thing to do was to
go to bed drink more gin. This time it was most definitely Hubby’s idea, who, unbeknownst to the rest of us, had been inspired by the cocktail menu at Algas L’Andragó and had made a jug of Sangria earlier in the day. I use the name Sangria in the loosest of terms, before I’m lynched by a Spaniard or a Sangria Connoisseur. I should instead perhaps say, that Hubby had made a jug of Sangria inspired cocktail. Red wine, lemonade, oranges, lemons and gin…lots of gin. As I mentioned earlier, by this point I had become pretty immune to the potency of my drinks and merrily took down a few glasses of this delicious ruby coloured goodness. The Best One, much to our amusement, diluted hers down with a touch more lemonade. What a fantastic end to the night, playing games on the patio by the poolside with Hubby’s amazing Sangria, followed by a couple more G&Ts afterwards.
The praise we had for Hubby and his Sangria inspired cocktail was not so great the following morning, although the Best One felt unsurprisingly chipper.
Our time in Moraira was drawing to a close, but not before we got to experience a fiesta by the castle in the town. There was such a fantastic atmosphere, a real buzz of excitement and happiness, we danced and tried to sing along as best we could to the music. With a pop up bar in the street, the free pouring really came into play. Talk about getting your money’s worth, I think I paid about €4 for a very large G&T, going home is really going to take some getting used to!
So, first part of the holiday done, next stop Madrid!