When I saw an ad for a gin tasting session and afternoon tea in Camden, north London with GandTeatime (such a clever name) the name of a friend of mine popped straight into mind. Over the years we’ve continually discussed our favourite gins, given each other many a birthday or Christmas bottle and speculated about the worthiness of a new brand.
The afternoon got off to a great start; we grabbed a table, filled a plate with all kinds of garnishes: lime, lemon, mint, coriander, mint, cucumber and/or pink grapefruit and enjoyed a glass of punch as we got to know the others.
Throughout the tastings we were given all the facts you could possibly want about gin, the origin and process of making it, as well as some historical facts about the time leading up to the Gin Act. We looked at Hogarth’s prints (see here) of London’s ‘Beer Alley’ and ‘Gin Lane.’ These are the martinis we were given to finish with, I actually liked mine and realised the reason I’ve never thought I liked it before is because one of my family makes them firewater strength!
We sampled this selection of gins, tasting each neat, discussing the flavours and then mixing it with tonic to our taste, adding all kinds of combos of garnishes. One of our table was extremely creative with hers, when she crushed some juniper berries into one glass we all stopped and admired her panache! As we went through each gin everyone gave a show of hands as to their favourite. No one voted for Beefeater, but I reckon it’s because it’s the cheaper one you grow up drinking (this did raise a few eyebrows as people wondered if I’d been suckled on a bottle of the good stuff) and your tastes move on to other tastes? The saffron gin was interesting, but ended up tasting exactly like Pimms when I drank it with orange and mint.
We decided Plymouth gin was the winning favourite on our table. I’ll buy a bottle next, after the Butlers (buy this gin if you too love the flavour of cardamon, it’s delicious drunk with tonic, lashings of ice and slices of cucumber) Chase and Hayman’s are dry…
We shouldn’t have but the girls on our table were so nice that we got chatting and had a cocktail with them. Then we had another cocktail and lots more chat and it was early evening and time to head off. We all staggered together to the tube, then after quite a few tipsy hugs and kisses we all went our separate ways!
If you can do something similar then make sure you have lots of afternoon tea. I swear the cake soaked up the gin superbly. (Trifle tummy?!) This was a really fun afternoon, and a bit of different thing to do with a friend.
A few days later I went to have lunch with another friend in Shoreditch. The East End is not an area of London that I know very well so it was interesting to have a look around. Tube trains on a roof? What’s that all about?! I’ve found a GREAT blog post here which tells you who, why, when and what. It’s fascinating.
Next time we’re going here for street food. It looks funky and the smells smelt good.
After lunch I dived into Forge and Co on Shoreditch High Street to see Grant Fleming’s The End of Apartheid (free) photo exhibition.
This greets you as you go down the stairs to the gallery space. It gave me goosebumps.
The room was big, you start on the left-hand side (not shown) and work your way around. The candid style of photography is really effective; conveying so much of the emotion of the time.
Goosebumps on goosebumps.
When I left the exhibition it was pouring and I got a jolt peering out from my raincoat’s hood and seeing Boxpark which I recognised from the last series of The Apprentice. It’s a pop-up mall made from containers and is much smarter than it sounds.
Move closer and get a better look… I need to do some Googling still for this one. Why is the facade left there? Is it the long left remnant of a WW2 bombed building? A listed building which best feature has been kept? Google google google incoming.
This is only a small collection of photos of what I noticed as I walked along to Brick Lane (my previous visit included here.)
Are you around London this Sunday? Either way this street art’s employed very effectively to advertise an event and campaign for a cause. That (aquamarine?) blue is to die for…
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.”
Nightmare in paint?
Forget my crocheted owl, perhaps this should be my new gravatar????
A wholesaler’s fabric warehouse, well I don’t mind if I do….
They supply fabric to tailors. You can buy a metre upwards of anything, even if you’re not a business customer. It’s not seasonal, and I don’t wear kilts, but I was so drawn to the tartans. They felt so soft and came in a selection of pretty colours. There was one beauty with pinky purpley lines.
I enjoy this kind of sign, it can give lots of clues to the history of an area. London street names can be very informative. Go and explore South London and you’ll soon figure out what was oringinally produced there.
The photo before this was to my right with this view ahead. They just tickled me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little photo tour.
My craft hiatus continues due to my very sore left elbow. It’s ok if I don’t do anything much with my left hand but that’s not too practical really as a leftie. It will settle, with some help, but hasn’t been this bad for about 10 years. I’m pretty sure it’s kneading dough while I make our weekly bread that’s done for it. Boo. I’m now only using my mixer’s dough hook which isn’t quite such a tactile or satisfyingly stress relieving exercise, I really like doing the knocking back and second short knead by hand.
I have been wondering if I should wrap up the blog until it’s better as it’s a craft focused blog with no craft, but then I look at BlogLovin and my fave craft bloggers are sharing: country walks, train trips, trips to the local market, their emerging Summer garden, a long lost and now found cake recipe and so I think FINE. Just relax; it’s your blog, write and show what you want. It’s diversification and I’ve always shared non-craft posts, there are just lots more of them right now.
How are you doing? Enjoying lovely Summer weather, like we have here today, or relaxing into Autumn and thinking of hot chocolate and winter wooly making?
Of course you can share pictures of trips! Even if it is a craft blog, you can share anything you want! I mean, you did post some pictures of fabrics (that’s pretty crafty) and showed pictures of someone else’s crafts (that bee is so cool!)- it most definitely counts.
Hey good points! If I include a few fabric or yarn pics it does kind of tick the box, however tenuously!
Please don’t go! I love the crafts…but I love posts like this too! I live in the US but was lucky enough to live in the UK for a few years when I was younger. I visit when I can but I wish I could live there again! So please…keep it up!
Ah that’s a lovely encouragement. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy seeing non-crafty pics too.
I love your photos of South London, i used to live in Middlesex in the 80’s and loved exploring around London. I love to visit but that doesn’t happen very often. Keep blogging x
I will. Thank you.
Really interesting! especially the gin. Have you tried this cocktail? https://www.inkling.com/read/cooking-for-geeks-jeff-potter-1st/chapter-6/sage-rush-gin-sage-and ever so easy if you have the ingredients (which I do).
I havent, this sounds good. I like the idea of sage with gin. Thanks Jane.
Yes I am rather fond of sage too and I have a big bush in the garden.
Love Camdenand Brick Lane but don’t know Shoreditch at all either. Mr P took me to a whisky tasting one time in London. It was very interesting and informative. Who knew they were all so different!? I love reading about what you’ve been up to… Keep on keeping on! Sending healing thoughts your way (better go back to no-knead bread!).
Thank you Mrs Patch. I’ll just use the dough hook and no elbow power. X
Have no fear, your fans are here! Don’t worry about the blog and the blog will take care of itself. I love your wanderings hither and yon, and you are the reason I’ve gone deeper into the no-knead bread business. I even bought Jim Lahey’s “my bread” book. Try the “Jim’s Irish Brown Bread”– and just use whatever beer you have on hand, even the non-alcoholic beer makes a superb loaf. And it has better keeping qualities that the original recipe. Yes, I made bread by hand for eons and wound up with elbow/arm issues….which come back when I make assumptions once I feel better. As I suggested before, get yourself a good stretching regimen (check with somebody who is familiar with your situation of course) and stick to it. It’s not just about the elbow, it’s the elbow that’s taking the flack at the end of the line. (and the massage, will help to maintain the tone of the stretching).
sounds like a heavenly day!!! All the right ingredients are there….. Gin, fabric, art…..I’m very envious…..
Your pics and tales make me want to visit London again! Don’t go anywhere.
oh, and by the way, “funky” has a different meaning over here. It ain’t good.