3 Simple Cocktail Recipes with BVI Gin

You guys know that I am excited for all of the re-openings coming soon right across the territory – some after the hurricane for the first time and some after closure for the summer season. We have much to look forward to in the Territory in the next couple of months. But as well as new venues and resorts coming up – we also have a new product! When most people think of Caribbean products and exports – the obvious answer is rum. But the BVI has been shaking things up recently and BVI Gin has been hitting shelves across the islands, stocked by many of the bars and restaurants. A small batch craft gin, locally distilled right here in the British Virgin Islands. Beautifully packaged, with a hand-illustrated map of the BVI on the bottle, it is an excellent new addition to the local bar scene. 

Easy Cocktail Recipes with BVI Gin

 

Made with a combination of 11 botanicals including juniper berries, coriander seeds, hibiscus flower, almond, oregano, liquorice root, angelica root, cassia bark, lemon peel, grapefruit oil and grains of paradise – BVI Gin pairs perfectly with any number of cocktail ingredients, but today I’m going to focus on three of them; hibiscus flower, grapefruit oil and lemon peel. 

 

You might remember that I like to keep a well-stocked bar cart – and I love any opportunity for a tasting and some cocktail development. So that’s what I have for you this morning. (Don’t judge me, I know it’s only Monday…). A little review of the BVI Gin and three of my favourite ways to serve it. 

 

Gin and Hibiscus Tonic – 

 

One of my Christmas presents from my mum this year was a jar of hibiscus flowers in syrup – because they are a perfect addition to prosecco and a host of other cocktails. I’ve since had to buy myself a new jar, because I just keep using them! Aside from prosecco, my favourite way to utilitise them is in a simple gin and tonic. Adding a touch a sweetness and working beautifully with the hibiscus flower featured in the gin. It makes for a refreshing sundowner – which also happens to look as good as it tastes. 

Easy cocktail recipes with BVI Gin - Hibiscus Gin and Tonic

Recipe 

50 ml BVI Gin

200 ml Fevertree Tonic Water

1-2 Hibiscus flowers and a tsp of syrup

 

Pour Gin and Tonic over ice in a highball glass, garnish with the hibiscus flowers and drizzle over the syrup. Serve with your favourite reusable straw. 

 

Salty Dog – 

 

Similar concept to my favourite tequila drink (the Paloma) a Salty Dog contains gin and grapefruit juice and is served with a salted rim. I’ve been drinking a variation of this recently and adding a splash of club soda for a touch of fizz. 


Easy cocktail recipes with BVI Gin - Salty Dog, Gin and Grapefruit Juice 

Recipe

50 ml BVI Gin

100 ml Grapefruit Juice 

Optional splash of Club Soda

 

Pour gin and grapefruit juice in a short glass over ice, garnish with a salted rim and a wedge of fresh grapefruit. 

 

 

French 75 – 

 

Deliciously sharp and effervescent champagne cocktail with gin and lemon juice. Easy to make either individual cocktails or make up a batch of the gin and lemon base for a group, that can then be topped up with the champagne when ready.

Easy Cocktails with BVI Gin - French 75, Gin and Lemon Cocktail

Recipe

25 ml BVI Gin

75 ml Champagne

15 ml lemon juice 

1 -2 dash simple syrup 

 

Combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake well over ice, strain into an iced champagne glass and top with fizz. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel. 

 

Do you have any favourite gin recipes that I should be trying? It is also worth noting that if all this sounds too complicated, one of the best ways to serve BVI Gin is a simple pour of 50 ml gin and 200 ml Fevertree tonic garnished with a twist of grapefruit peel. Simple but effective.

  

Currently bottles of BVI Gin are only available to buy at That’s The Spirit in Tortola Pier Park, but found in bars and restaurants across the islands. So remember, when you hit the bars support local, and ask for BVI Gin with your tonic!


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Easy Cocktails That Impress

Little known fact about me – for 6 years I worked in cocktail bars (very, very busy cocktail bars).

The downside of this is that I am unapologetically snobby about my cocktails. I don’t like my mojitos too sweet, God help you if you go anywhere near my margarita with sour mix, I want my drinks garnished correctly, I demand quality spirits with clean, fresh ingredients and I mix a mean iced tea (actually about 20 variations thereof).

The upside is that I can teach you a few things about mixed drinks.

Now, unlike most cocktail guides, I don’t expect everyone to keep a fully stocked bar cart, so I’m listing my favourite recipes based on the 4-key white spirits. This way, no matter which of the staples you happen to have on hand, you can rustle up a tasty libation.

Tequila

The simplest and most beautiful tequila drink (in my humble opinion) is the Paloma. Wonderfully sharp and refreshing – only 5 ingredients required.

Refreshing Grapefruit and Tequila Palomas

tequila

grapefruit juice

simple syrup*

club soda

fresh lime juice

:: Mix equal parts grapefruit juice, tequila and club soda (1/4 cup) – add a teaspoon of simple syrup and a quarter lime squeezed. Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime or grapefruit. (Salt rim on the glass or a sprig of rosemary are also optional extras). Serve and enjoy!

FYI – many recipes will just mix tequila with a grapefruit soda and it is still very tasty, but I’d urge you to try making it from scratch – it is so much better!
Gin

Elevating the classic G&T with the quintessentially British pink gin.

gin

angostura bitters

fresh lime juice

tonic

:: Add two shots of your preferred gin with five dashes of angostura bitters and a quarter lime squeezed to a large glass with ice – top with tonic water – stir and serve garnished with a slice of lemon.

Vodka – the secret to this is a good quality (read: fiery) ginger beer – the Moscow mule.

Cold Moscow Mules - Ginger Beer, lime and Vodka

Vodka

Fresh Lime Juice

Ginger Beer

:: Add two shots of your favourite vodka to a tall glass (or copper mug, if you have one) and half a lime squeezed (some recipes call for you to drop the lime shell into your drink – I’ll leave that up to you) and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a wheel of lime and enjoy!

Rum

Ernest Hemingway’s favourite, the classic daiquiri. Not all daiquiris are blended with fruit. In fact, I much prefer it when they’re not. A classic daiquiri requires only three ingredients. (Not to be confused with a Hemingway – which is a different variation altogether).

The glass of alcoholic cocktails Daiquiri consists of rum on the leaves of lime, elderflower syrup stands on wooden table on black background
a good white rum

fresh lime juice

simple syrup*

:: Add two shots of white rum with the juice of one lime and a teaspoon of simple syrup. Shake vigorously over ice and pour into a coupe/martini glass. Enjoy!

(This is the only recipe that actually needs a cocktail shaker or any equipment – apologies for that.)
*You will have noticed that a couple of these recipes require a simple syrup. Easily made you will need equal parts granulated white sugar and water. Pour one cup boiling water and one cup sugar into a pan on a medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to let it boil. When dissolved let the syrup cool and pour into a sterilized bottle or jar. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month. Once you have mastered basic simple syrup you can then start exploring herb infusions (basil and rosemary are two of my favourites) but that’s a lesson for another time… 🙂

So there you have it – a clean and effortless cocktail that you can throw together no matter which spirit you happen to have at home – just in time for the weekend!

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Mango and Raspberry Sangria

Last weekend was my birthday and I was incredibly touched by all the thoughtful gifts that I received, to others some of them might sound a bit mad – but they showed just how well the person that gifted it really knows me! (Like my beautiful Juniper Fox painting or the instant cheddar grits I was given, because shrimp and grits is my Sunday brunch obsession!)

One of my presents was a gorgeous clutch of mangoes, fresh off the tree (two different types!) and you know what they say – when life gives you mangoes, you make mango raspberry sangria!

(Wait, that is what they say… right?)
I’ve been patiently waiting for them to ripen – and now they’re ready, so I made a birthday batch! It’s super simple and really delicious – you should give it a go…




Mango, Raspberry Sangria

1 mango

1 punnet of raspberries

1 cup Triple Sec

1 bottle of rose

club soda or prosecco to top up

lemon slices to garnish


:: Cut your mango into cubes – it’s a messy job – if anyone has found a mess free method, please share
:: Combine chopped mango, raspberries, triple sec and rose wine in a large jug. Chill for 2+ hours.

:: Pour over ice, garnish with lemon slices and top up with either prosecco or club soda.




Enjoy!

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Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo Soup

Yesterday I came across a big, fat bag of locally grown Caribbean Seasoning Peppers. These little guys are a bit of an anomaly as, while they look like a habanero pepper or something super hot, they are actually very mild. Just a slightly spicier version of a regular capsicum pepper and commonly used in marinades and pepper sauces over here.

I decided that I wanted to use them in my Gumbo Soup and whipped up a batch of it – warming, spicy, smokey and comforting.

(You can also use regular red, orange or yellow pepper in place of the seasoning peppers.)

Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo Soup

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 celery stalks, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

6 seasoning peppers, chopped (or 2 regular peppers)

1 smoked beef sausage, chopped

2 chicken breasts

10 jumbo prawns, uncooked

2 cans of diced tomatoes

6 cups of low sodium chicken stock

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 small can of sweetcorn

1 cup of frozen okra pieces

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chipotle chili flakes (or more if you like the heat)

1 tsp Tabasco

Salt and Pepper to taste

Serves 4-6 (makes for great leftovers as the flavours continue to develop)

:: In a small pan bring your chicken stock to a boil. Poach your chicken breasts in your chicken stock. This will typically take 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Once cooked remove them from the liquid and shred the meat. Reserve the chicken stock (now extra chicken-y) for the soup.

:: Meanwhile saute your onions, garlic, celery and sausage in a large pan on a medium/high heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent.

:: Add your peppers, black beans, okra, sweetcorn and tomatoes to your pan along with the shredded chicken meat, the chicken stock and the spices. Turn the heat down and let everything simmer for 15 minutes.

:: Drop your uncooked shrimp into the soup for the last 10 minutes. Serve once they are cooked through and nicely pink.



I challenge you to stop at just one bowlful, I’ve never managed to… 🙂

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3-Minute Boozy Bread Pudding

Anyone else suddenly get the occasional mid-week 9pm ‘screw the diet – treat yo’self’ feeling? That need for a sweet treat in order to pull yourself out of a hump-day slump? No? …just me then! 

When I get these moments of weakness I need to make something tasty quickly – and it is imperative that it’s ready before I come to my senses and reach for the carrot sticks… that’s where these three minute microwave puddings (I love you so much I gave you three options) come in. Before the kettle has even had a chance to boil – this little pot of decadence is ready for eating…

All recipes serve 1 – I’d suggest you try making a couple and sharing them. Best served with a mug of tea or a milky coffee.

:: Amaretto and White Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 piece of soft white bread or brioche, generously buttered (I actually used my leftover fruit buns from Easter)

1 egg

2 tbsp Amaretto

1 tbsp milk

Small handful of white chocolate chips

  • Mix together your booze, milk and egg in a microwave proof mug or glass.
  • Cut up your buttered bread – into roughly 1″ pieces.
  • Add the bread into your boozy custard mixture and stir so that it is evenly coated.
  • Sprinkle in your white chocolate chips and put everything into microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. (Microwave times may vary so just keep an eye on it.)
  • Add some ice cream, cream, clotted cream or custard and dig in!

:: Mocha Bread Pudding

1 piece of soft white bread or brioche, generously buttered

1 egg

1 tbsp Kahlua

1 tbsp Baileys

1 tbsp milk

4 squares of good quality dark chocolate roughly cut into chunks

  • Mix together your booze, milk and egg in a microwave proof mug or glass.
  • Break up your buttered bread – roughly tear it into pieces.
  • Add the bread into your boozy custard mixture and stir so that it is evenly coated.
  • Sprinkle in your chocolate chunks and put everything into microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Add some ice cream, cream or custard and dig in!

:: Maple Whisky Bread Pudding 

1 piece of soft white bread or brioche, generously buttered

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp good quality whisky (I like something smokey to balance out the sweetness)

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp raisins

  • Mix wet ingredients in a microwave proof mug (or glass), add cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  • Cut up your buttered bread into 1″ pieces
  • Add the bread into your boozy custard mixture and stir so that it is evenly coated.
  • Sprinkle in your raisins and put everything into microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes (check during cooking as microwave times vary)
  • Add some ice cream, cream or clotted cream and dig in!

*Eating it in bed, while you watch tv through the open door of your bedroom into the lounge because your apartment is tiny, is optional… 🙂



Please let me know if you give these a go and tell me how you get on!

PS. Zero judgement from me if you decide to go for one of these on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc… a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do in order to get through the week 🙂 

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