There's a surefire way to tell if you're in a bartender's flat - they'll have a lot of gin. At the last count, I had two different brands of genever on hand - which is two brands of genever more than a lot of Scottish liquor stores. This abundance brings with it a problem, unless you develop a taste for gin as a general condiment and so much of my downtime is spent doing labwork. When I say "lab", really I mean "kitchen", and "work"? We'd be safer calling that "faffing around" because, along with all the gin, your average bartender will accumulate a decent collection of stuff.
Like leaf gelatin, which I picked up ages ago and used maybe one time. I decided to dig an old recipe I'd picked up from Bramble's Jason Scott for solid Gin & Tonic cubes but somehow, I'd run out of citric acid. What are the chances? At any rate, it was a start and one thing led to another and...
Gin & Elderflower Jelly
3 sheets leaf gelatin
75ml gin (Blackwood's 2006 Vintage)
75ml elderflower cordial
Place the gelatin in a bowl of cold water and leave for 4-5 mins to soak. Remove the sheets and squeeze out any excess water. Transfer to a small pan and place over a low heat until the gelatin completely melts. Remove from heat and let the melted gelatin cool. Slowly add the gin and elderflower cordial, stirring constantly. Transfer to a mould and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set.
The thing about a gin-based dessert is that it ends up being pretty robust. As the jelly melts in the mouth, there's a pleasant floral flavour from the combination of the coriander and water mint in the Blackwood's with the elderflower, but there's also a big hit of booze on the finish. It's not unpleasant but it's a reminder that this is not jelly for kids. Needing something to temper the strength, I turned to gin's natural partner.
Lemon Tonic Granita
200ml tonic water (Fever Tree)
100g caster sugar
Using a zester, remove the zest from the lemons and combine with the sugar in a seal-able container. Shake thoroughly to mix the two and leave to infuse for 30 mins. Combine the lemon/sugar mix with the tonic in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Transfer this mixture into a shallow metal tray and place in the freezer for 2 hours. At this point, remove from the freezer and run a fork through the mixture, creating texture. Replace in the freezer; repeat this process every half hour or so until the granita is thoroughly frozen.
Gin and tonic is, of course, one of those iconic combinations like Ebony and Ivory, or the San Jose Sharks and postseason failure. It's so good, you could eat it.