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Cocktails fit for a Queen

At Majestic, we think there’s any excuse for a party. Or for a majestically fine cocktail. In honour of The Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations, I’ve devised some delicious libations for you to raise a glass and enjoy.

If you’re a fan of the mixed drink, you may know that the first written definition of a cocktail comes from a newspaper article published in 1806, which describes a ‘cock-tail’ as a mixture of “Spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” For those familiar with the ‘Old Fashioned’ cocktail, this goes some way to explaining how the drink got its name.

The name cocktail, naturally, is shrouded in mystery; there are theories, all pretty plausible. My preferred story is that mixed-breed horses were often marked by having their tails cut short, thus known as cock-tails. It’s as good an answer as any.

I was a bartender before I joined Majestic, so spirits and cocktails hold a very special place in my heart. Gin, in particular, has long been a great love of mine. Co-incidentally, it is also a favourite indulgence of Her Majesty The Queen, as it was The Queen Mother.  The latter was said to enjoy a Dubonnet & Gin of an occasion, and rumour has it her daughter enjoys the same from time to time.

Her Royal Majestic

How could we not? A thoroughly British combination of magnificently complex Pickering’s Gin from Edinburgh, with delectably floral Belvoir elderflower cordial finished off with fine English fizz from Balfour, crafted at Hush Heath Manor.  A truly Majestic cocktail to celebrate summer, birthdays and anything else that comes once, twice, or thrice a year.

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Method: Simple in the extreme. Simply combine all ingredient in a flute glass and garnish with a pear slice.

Lillibet

Sometimes we all lust for something refreshing, fun and fruity.  Lillibet was the childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth II, which we thought perfectly appropriate for a mischievously sweet yet refined drink.  Such as this.

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  • 25ml Strawberry & Basil Cordial
  • 125ml Prosecco
  • 5ml Balsamic Vinegar

Method: Add cordial to a glass, a dash of Balsamic Vinegar, and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Since strawberry & basil cordial isn’t something you’ll usually have to hand, we thought we’d give you an easy to follow recipe. It takes about 30 minutes to make, then an hour or so to cool, and will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Crush 300g strawberries and a handful of basil leaves in a pan with equal parts sugar and water – about 500ml when combined. Bring to the boil then simmer and stir until dissolved. Sieve into a measuring jug, add the juice of one lemon, stir through then allow to cool.  If you wish to clarify it further you can run it through a muslin cloth.  Don’t try coffee paper, you’ll be waiting forever.

Alternatively, steep a fistful of basil in some Strawberry Ribena overnight.  It’s a bit sugary, but works in a pinch.

La Vie En Rosemary

A perfectly summery drink, this combines juniper-licious, citrussy and aromatic gin with herby rosemary and earthy pomegranate, with a lick of smooth sweetness from fine British honey.

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  • 50ml Bathtub Gin
  • 25ml Pomegranate Juice (freshly squeezed if you can)
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary
  • 25ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Runny Honey (or Agave Syrup)

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake hard & strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Mumm’s Ruin

Sometimes a cocktail starts with the name.  In this case, the idea of combining ‘Mother’s Ruin’ with Mumm Champagne was too much to resist.  Sweet, aromatic and succulent sloe gin adds delicious hedgerow flavours to fine and toasty Champagne, with a dazzling citrus lift.

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Method: Combine Sloe Gin & Mumm in a flute glass, squeeze a lemon peel over the top, then add a lemon peel garnish.

If you’ve got some great drinks ideas for the Queen’s Birthday – or simply for celebrating the summer months – we’d love to hear them in the commments below!

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