Hendrick’s. It’s not for everyone. Or so they say, but really who can resist? I love the stuff.
I quite like gin anyway. I am a big fan of boutique gin operations, as you may have seen, given that I have written about London based Sipsmith before. They love to experiment, as it turns out Hendrick’s do too. The appeal of Hendrick’s for me is the gorgeous complex botanicals and the freshness and aromatics introduced by the rose and cucumber notes that are added post distillation. There are many other botanicals in there too like elderflower and coriander, but more on that later. More than anything, I do love the Hendrick’s G&T with ice and a slice (of cucumber). Try it sometime.
Recently, I found myself in Glasgow for a dinner which brought together an explosive pairing: Hendrick’s Gin and London’s own Bompass & Parr. Picked up at the airport by a gin mobile, the fabulous Hendrick’s car, complete with a rose for gear stick, a silver cucumber with wings on the front, and a bar in the boot – yes – BAR IN THE BOOT, we started our morning with a G&T with ice and that slice in the airport car park. I was won over.
For dinner we were whisked to a stately home outside Glasgow where we were greeted by the eccentric and well wrapped Lord Von Hendricks, smoking jacket and all. Cocktails were served initially from a bath in the entrance hall filled with G&T, slices of cucumber and rose petals. Gorgeous.
A tour through the house with his trusty, although slightly useless staff, somewhat highly strung wife, and lieutenant in tow, brought us to the Bompass & Parr canapés and more lovely gin cocktails. Favourites were the Hendrick’s cured salmon, and the tongue-in-cheek take on a chicken nugget, whole breaded quail breast with cucumber jam.
Dinner was in the kitchen, a most beautiful room that I could happily live in and never need for anything else. We had a two course meal (we had had rather a lot of the canapés) at a large table, dressed with pink and green jars and two pigs heads (freakishly with glass eyes), catered by Bompass & Parr with two Hendricks’s cocktails to match.
We started with a light crab dish with cucumber jelly, cucumber and tomato served with a deliciously tart celery sour, slick with egg white. Not too much at all, I loved this, and it was necessarily light, as the main course, and cocktail were quite meaty.
Mains were bath chaps, boiled potato bones with mushroom marrow and chestnuts with fried salsify, Hendrick’s mustard and Hendrick’s picallili. A wonderful play on food with the potato looking like a bone complete with marrow. The bath chaps were a resurrection of an old recipe from, yes, Bath, are the lower half of pig cheeks, and these were tender, falling apart at the touch of a fork. The star of the show though was the carnivorous Bullshot, billed as a Matador’s Dream of Hendrick’s Gin with beef consommé. The rich, oily beef consommé provided an intense partner for the Hendrick’s gin and the meal. It was delicious but intense, almost too much. I loved it though, and it sparked the table, polarising opinion as it went.
We retired to another room for dessert and indulged in a selection of Bompass & Parr gin jellies, and candyfloss Hendrick’s gin cocktails.
It was a wonderful evening, so much fun, so much great food and drink. And I am sorry that I can’t share it further by letting you know how you can go sometime soon. BUT, I did get some of the recipes and I will blog some tomorrow. One will be perfect for this weather, Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch. :)
Thanks to Hendrick’s and Bompass & Parr for a wonderful evening. Do keep an eye out for the events they host in London, like the recent Hendrick’s Horseless Carriage.