Introducing our self-titled welcome cocktail
At a formal affair, it is a nice idea to greet your guest with a little snifter, be it a glass of bubbly, a gin & tonic or better still a cocktail. We’ve wanted to design our own drink for a little while now, and move past the obvious “G&T” joke. It would be a classy way to start any dinner party (or potentially supper club – watch this space). However, making cocktails, as any bartender will tell you, is its own kind of animal that we aren’t quite ready to tame. We love a drink, there’s no doubt about that. We could drink cocktails for days but, when it comes to making them, we aren’t anywhere near as prolific.
“We thought it would only be fitting to start with gin, the mutual tipple of choice”
Luckily for us, a little bar tucked away in Manchester’s Northern Quarter was happy to lend a hand. The Pen & Pencil is an über-cool NQ bar which takes inspiration from mid-century New York with an extensive cocktail menu and a fabulous team behind it. G tentatively approached the subject with the bar manager Lewis while on her day job and he jumped at the chance. “What do you want?” he asked enthusiastically, you can tell a mile off that he loves what he does… that makes three of us. After an excitement fuelled deliberation between the pair of us, we thought it would only be fitting to start with gin, the mutual tipple of choice. Lewis went for Manchester Gin, and rightly so. It’s local, it’s handmade and it’s certainly delicious.
We didn’t know if it would be egotistical to go with the flavours of our name; ginseng (the Chinese root) and thyme (the English garden herb) … the combination didn’t sound promising. Furthermore, we had no idea if either of these components went with gin but Lewis was up for the challenge.
“We cannot wait to start using it as our signature welcome drink, and I’m sure our guests can’t either.”
Turns out, it was delicious. Let’s let that rest on The Pen & Pencil, rather than our random name choice. So, what’s in it? Simply watch the video below and see for yourself.
If you didn’t catch that it’s one measure of gin, half a measure of thyme liqueur (P&P used Thym), and half a measure of Lewis’ homemade ginseng syrup. This is stirred in a large tumbler over plenty of ice and finished with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. The sugar syrup is made up from brewing ginseng tea in hot water to the packet instructions. Match the weight of the water with caster sugar and add to the tea. Let this dissolve fully, and add a few dashes of Dandelion and Burdock bitters to taste. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? We cannot wait to start using it as our signature welcome drink, and I’m sure our guests can’t either.
In the meantime, make sure you pop in to Pen & Pencil in the Northern Quarter this week to give the “Ginseng & Thyme” a go. It’s available from Thursday 26th July – Wednesday 2nd August.
See you next Thursday,