Showing posts from March, 2021

A Mid-Morning Treat

Fans of Jane Austen adaptations, or of the recent BBC production "Bridgerton" will be very familiar with the elegance and opulence of the Regency period in British history. The wealth of a growing empire flowed into Britain, particularly London, Bristol and Liverpool, and the merchant classes found themselves increasingly leisured. Tea and coffee, both fairly recent additions to the repertoire of British drinks, were still relatively expensive. Gin, of course, was hugely popular among the urban working class,  dangerously so. Indeed there was much agitation from business owners for workers to be encouraged to drink beer instead. So what did those fine gentlemen and wealthy ladies drink, while they were fanning themselves coyly or stifling their emotions over the dowry negotiations? For many, the answer would be fortified wines. Fortifying and sweetening wines preserved them, allowing them still to be drunk pleasantly after a long sea journey. We know the wines of Madeira were

Mothers' Day Cocktails

As a key carer for my parents, I've continued to see them during the lockdown period. I appreciate that is a rare privilege, and many readers are finding it painful to be separated from family. With Mothers' Day coming up, I wondered what I could contribute and have come up with three delicious, classic cocktails that you can make for her, toast her with on a Zoom call or talk her through, so she can make it for herself with ingredients you've sent her. Let's start with the oldest of the three, the Sherry Cobbler. This will appeal to any mum who loves a good sherry. It is the drink for which the paper drinking straw was invented, and it gets a mention in Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit . It's a refreshing mix of sherry and fruit juice. You can use any juice you enjoy, and I've made it with lots of different juices: pineapple, orange, apple and pear all work very well. It doesn't work well with pale sherries, but is great with Amontillado, Oloroso or cream she