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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The boy and his poison: The Sussex Sparkler

I won't lie to you, initially this seemed to be the assignment from hell. "We're doing a Sussex week" they say. "Fantasic… Sussex is lovely!" I responded. Cue my internal monologue screaming 'what cocktails ever came out of Sussex, why do we never do a Cognac week, or a Venice week… or better still a tiki-themed Polynesian week?'.

It turns out I was doing Sussex a massive disservice. As well as its incredible selection of beers (which, incidentally, I may or may not have tried 'a lot of' to decide on a decent cocktail recipe) the county is also responsible for Bluebell Vineyard Estates and their incredible sparkling Hindleap. You can grab it from your local Oddbins or a number of other retailers…  and so you should. I was tempted to adapt a champagne and lavender cocktail I'd read about but finding fresh lavender can be a nightmare so cue a touch of experimentation. The freshness of the Bluebell Hindleap would be perfectly complimented by thyme, and whilst it's easy to make a thyme syrup, it's even easier to make one out of elderflower cordial. A touch of vodka to bring the drink up to adult levels of fun and you're done.

For the thyme and elderflower syrup:
  • 200ml of elderflower cordial
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
Make it:
  • Bring all the ingredients to the boil
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes
  • Pull out the thyme sprigs
For the cocktail you'll need:
  • A bottle of chilled Bluebell Hindleap (or Prosecco)
  • 50ml of elderflower and thyme syrup
  • 25ml of vodka
  • 1 sprig of thyme to garnish
Make it:
  • Add the syrup and vodka to a champagne flute
  • Stir to mix
  • Top up with the sparkling wine
  • Garnish with a sprig of thyme

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