Celebrate the start of summer and the Wimbledon tournament with this quintessentially English cocktail made with strawberry, tea and gin – the Strawberry and Gin Smash, aka The Wimbledon.
It’s that time of year when every other day we are teased with bright blue skies and glorious sunshine then the next day follows torrential rain. Wimbledon is plastered across our TVs and it’s the perfect excuse to sip a cocktail or two with friends as we cheer on our tennis champs – in a polite, pleasant British way of course.
The start of Wimbledon has always marked the start of summer for me. As a child I remember being devastated that it meant The Simpsons wouldn’t be on TV for two whole weeks!!! But now I just see it as a good excuse to pour a stiff drink, nibble strawberries and cream as we get over excited about two people hitting a ball about on a very well manicured lawn. Is there anything more British?
A stiff drink
The official drink of Wimbledon is of course Pimms. Now I’m a big Pimms fan but after attending a couple of weddings and a summer party or two already this month I am well and truly Pimms’d out. Plus, I’ve got a feeling a stiff drink will be required when watching Andy Murray loose (I mean win) so I decided to come up with a quintessentially English cocktail that could take the place of the usual glass of Pimms this year.
For my cocktail I had to use the most British spirits of all – gin. I was hoping that if I looked hard enough I’d find a craft gin distillery based in Wimbledon, West London. Unfortunately not. If there’s a distillery I’ve overlooked, please do let me know in the comments!
Instead I opted for the rather floral “Bloom“. You could use any gin that happens to be lurking in the back of your drinks cabinet but I’d recommend something light and fragrant rather than deep and spicy.
The best of British
Considering that I was using the best of British gin I had to use the best local strawberries too. I do wonder whether the hundreds of thousands of strawberries eaten at Wimbledon every year are British but then again, the weather has been so poor this year I know shops are struggling to stock strawberries form our little Island. I wouldn’t blame Wimbledon if they were struggling too. We have a pick-your-own near us and were lucky enough to buy a local batch of these rosy red fruits.
Gin and strawberries aside, there’s one final, very British ingredient to my Strawberry and Gin Smash – tea.
I let the tea cold brew in the gin (easier the more gin your are pouring and the more cocktails you are making), before adding the tea infused gin to the strawberries and blitzing them up in a blender. Check out the full recipe below.
Strawberry and Gin Smash – The Recipe
- 50ml gin
- 1 English breakfast tea bag
- 6 strawberries
- Tonic water
- Begin by steeping the tea bag in the gin for 5 - 10 minutes.
- Remove the stalks from the strawberries and, using a hand blender, blitz together 4 of the strawberries along with the gin.
- Pour the gin and strawberry mix over the ice and top up with tonic water. Slice one of the remaining strawberries and add to the glass.
- Cut a small slit halfway into the strawberry, up from the base and rest on the rim of the glass.
What I love about this cocktail is that it is sweet without any added sugar. When British strawberries are at their best they quite literally taste of sunshine – warm and sweet. The tea infused gin brings a fragrant note, the tonic water a bitterness that helps to balance the drink. If, however, you do manage to get a sour bunch of strawberries you can add a drizzle of honey to sweeten it to your taste.
It’s a long drink that will easily slip down, smash after smash, set after set during Wimbledon this year. Who will you be cheering for?
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