World Book Day with Dorothy Parker

Plotting is underway to craft novel World Book Day costumes from general household detritus as the annual one-upmanship contest begins in the name of literature. Intrigue, suspense, conflict and happily ever afters lead us to seek solace and inspiration from gins with a literary connection.

Here are some ideas for a World Book Day gin tasting gathering. Dressing-up is a must with costumes inspired by literary figures, writers and actors who made gin and cocktail references, such as The Great Gatsby, James Bond 007, Noel Coward and Dorothy Parker’s infamous quatrain:

“I like to have a Martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
After four I’m under my host.”

Martinis to start, of course.

And to follow…

1. Poetic License Northern Dry Gin, Sunderland, 43.2% ABV

For the wild spirits

Distilled in Gracie – a 500-litre hybrid pot and column still in a back room of a hotel and bar overlooking the sea at Roker, Sunderland.

Using traditional methods, they hand crush the botanicals, macerate and then boil them to gradually and gently release their flavours.

A hefty punch of juniper is finely balanced with green cardamom for a warm and spicy flavour. Persian lime gives an intense citrus with a note of perfume and eucalyptus. The remaining botanicals are a closely guarded secret!

Serve with premium light tonic and grapefruit peel. Also works well with cardamom tonic and a twist of lime.

2. Makar Mulberry Cask Aged Gin, Glasgow, Scotland, 43% ABV

Poetry

Released last year from the Glasgow Distilling Company, it is matured for 10-weeks in 50-litre virgin casks made of mulberry wood which imparts a smooth vanilla sweetness.

A gin of many layers, pale to the eye, woody on the nose and sweet on the palate but with less botanical depth – a hint of lemon, thyme and sweet vanilla and a peppery finish.

Serve as a martini with vermouth and a classic green olive. Also works well with ginger ale and a lime wedge. Double Dutch Oak and spiced tonic with orange zest is a good match.

*A makar is a term from Scottish literature for a poet or bard

3. Stratford Gin, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, 45% ABV

A modern gin with a twist of history

Inspired by the Tudor Garden and the bard himself, it captures the flavours of herbs and flowers from Shakespeare’s time; combined with the boldness of juniper and sweetness of Mediterranean citrus.

Distilled in the London dry style in a small copper still at Shakespeare Distillery using a single shot distillation method with botanicals including rose, lemon balm, rosemary and English lovage (smells similar to celery when crushed); resulting in a strong floral flavour balanced with herbal sweetness.

Serve with premium tonic water, a slice of lemon and a sprig of rosemary. Also works with rose lemonade and a sprig of mint