How to make gin and tonic-infused fish and chips

People have been going crazy for novel gin-related recipes this year – but this one for gin-infused fish and chips really is intriguing.

It comes via the mind of Aiden Byrne, the chef who runs the kitchen (and indeed the entire establishment) at the Manchester House restaurant, to coincide with British Food Fortnight (which runs from September 23 to October 8).

Aiden uses cod cheeks and suggests Liverpool Gin and Lamb and Watt tonic for his recipe – he’s clearly not too worried about the notorious Manchester-Liverpool rivalry! It makes enough for two people.

Aiden Byrne’s gin-infused fish and chips 


For the fish

  • 500g of trimmed cod cheeks
  • 200g of plain flour
  • 150ml Lamb and Watt tonic water
  • 50ml Liverpool Gin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 17g fresh yeast (or 7 grams of dried yeast)
  • 15g coriander seeds
  • 5g juniper berries
  • Peel of 1 lemon (dried out)
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

For the chips

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  • 1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky chips
  • Groundnut oil for deep frying
  • Sea salt


Step 1: Get the batter ready

  • Place the coriander seeds into a small pan and toast in the oven for 10 minutes on 160oc, pound with a pestle and mortar with the dried lemon zest and the juniper berries and crush to a powder.
  • Dissolve the fresh yeast with the salt and the tonic water. Whisk in the flour, the crushed botanicals and leave in a covered bowl in a warm area (ideally above an oven to ferment). The batter will begin to bubble and exude the aromas from the botanicals and yeast.

Step 2: Prepare the chips

  • Place the cut chips into a bowl under running water for five minutes to wash the starch off.
  • Place two litres of cold water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes. Place the pan over a medium heat and simmer until the chips are almost falling apart (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).
  • Carefully remove the cooked chips and place them on a cooling rack to dry out. Place in the freezer for at least one hour to remove more moisture.

Step 3: Pre-frying the chips

  • Heat a deep-fat fryer or a deep pan no more than half filled with oil (to a depth of around 10 centimetres) to 130ºc.
  • Fry the chips in small batches until a light crust forms (approximately five minutes), remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Put the potatoes on a cooling rack and place in the freezer for at least one more hour.

Step 4: Finishing off

  • Heat the vegetable oil to 170 degrees C. Coat the cheeks in the batter and deep fry until golden brown and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the G&T battered cod with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Next heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180ºC and fry the chips until golden (approximately seven minutes).Drain and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Serve with crushed peas and tartar sauce.