When the cold air starts to bite the end of your nose, and the leaves are russet red just before they take their final flight to the ground, it’s time for warming cocktails. Fortunately, bright minds and alert tastebuds at the Goring Hotel have succeeded in creating three new Country Life cocktails for the autumnal air.
Once again, I was set the task of tasting the concoctions and this time brought along with me the Editor of Countrylife.co.uk to lessen the weight of the job – or, share in next day’s hangover, whichever you prefer.
First up was the Goring Comforter, but renamed the Early Russet during the tasting session, due to its gorgeous pale russet colour which brought to mind wintry sunsets. The drink is like an autumnal Pimm’s – it deceptively doesn’t taste alcoholic but three or four would prevent you from standing up to say goodbye to your hosts. The drink has a spicy warmth and I would recommend it as a drink to sip as you watch someone else rake the leaves in.
Next was the Apple Sour. The key flavour provides a grown-up means to the childish delight of biting into the windfallen fruit. An enticing warm, pale green in colour with a thin slice of apple on the side and a red grape nestling at the bottom of a martini glass. There is an essence of Calvados which doesn’t hit the back of the throat, it gives more the hint of firm liquor. This is the grande dame of the apple martini – a drink for the older, wiser gentleman. There are no shocks, only warmth.
Lastly, thank goodness, as the tasters by this point are only just still standing, is brought out the Pear & Basil Martini. This is for savoury rather than sweet tooths. The pear and basil are the topnotes, and the texture of pear is unusual yet, somehow, comforting. The basil aroma awakens the senses and disgorges the throat, in readiness for you to tip it down.
The Early Russet or The Goring Comforter
Sloe berries with Southern Comfort and a twist of lime
25ml Sloe Gin
25ml Southern Comfort
1 shot lime cordial
4 dashes of angostura bitter
Put all ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain. Top with soda and serve on ice.
Calvados and Schnapps, with a red grape instead of an olive in a martini glass
1 1/2; shots Calvados
3/4; shot Apple Schnapps (sour)
3/4; shot lemon juice
1 shot apple juice muddled
1/4; shot syrup
Place all ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain. Serve in a martini glass.
Pear and Basil Martini
1/4; chopped pear (muddled)
10ml lemon juice
4 basil leaves
Place all ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain. Serve in a chilled martini glass.