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If you show me your Tom Collins, I’ll show you mine …

Posted in Food, and Food & Entertaining


Last night we had a wonderful dinner with new friends. Bonnie and her daughters Lauren and Samantha are in Southern Africa on a most incredible trip (think three game reserves in three countries) – and sofabrother spent the day yesterday showing them the wild life of the Peninsula (think baboons, penguins and Cape Town drivers.) Bonnie is the cousin of our friend Tracey, and lives in LA. When sofabrother was there he stayed with camparigirl, and Bonnie offered to show him around all the new and interesting in the food world. She met Claudia on the way back and they have become friends. sofabother had the time of his life and it was only right and fair that he returned the favour.

They spent all day hoofing it around the Fairest Cape taking in the early spring beauty and whales, while I worked. But we all met up at The Pot Luck Club for dinner. The restaurant is a sofafamily favourite. It never disappoints. And is interesting for guests as it sits in a slightly dodgy part of town – on the 8th floor of a grain silo. So it has 360degree views of Cape Town – Table Mountain from the elevator (or lift as we call it), the Franschoek Mountains from the bathroom (toilet), Blouberg Strand from our table, and Lion’s Head and Signal Hill from the bar.

They also have most excellent food. Small hip tapas plates that should be eaten with fingers and shared. And great ambience and no loud music and efficient waiters and parking and all the good things this old bird wants in a restaurant.

Like cocktails.

I broke from tradition (usually a fancy martini with mad ingredients) and had a Guava Collins. Guava is one of those fruits you either love or hate. I love them. camparigirl and I went to the Galapagos Islands many centuries ago and I picked wild guavas on San Pedro – they perfumed our room for days. And tasted like they were meant to taste. Not like a terrifying Monsanto genetic experiment. For some reason I was feeling lucky last night so I took a chance and was richly rewarded.  I’ve never had a Collins cocktail before (Tom or Joan), they are typically straightforward drinks – gin or vodka, a simple syrup and soda water. I chose vodka and was not disappointed. It was perfection in a glass – not too sweet, not too strong, a little bit salty and fully of ripe and real guava flavour.  So good I had two. It was that kind of evening.

The View of Lion’s Head

The restaurant told me today that they pressed their own guava juice; and I can believe it: most of the commercial varieties are too sweet. And the barman then went on to say he makes the drink with rhubarb sometimes. Which tickled my little fancy no end – so we have an agreement that he will call and I will drive by for a taste. I love rhubarb, the thought of the sour sweet with vodka had me smiling all day.

As did the memory of last night’s fun, brilliant food and the gorgeous gift of Paola Navone dinner napkins that the family Frank presented us with after dinner. Classy and beautiful – just like them.

I love that these three people came into our lives via other people we love. Gives me hope and faith in the world: that human connection triumphs over strange and far and different. And that food and good tipple will bind us together.

So – in celebration: here’s the Guava Collins. A name I am so going to use in a book one day.

1 1/2 oz/45ml vodka – make it a good one
1 oz/30ml lime juice
1/2 oz/15ml simple syrup
a good glug of fresh, sieved guava puree/juice (you don’t want too much of the gritty pulp in the glass. If it is sweetened already don’t add the simple syrup
Club soda (icy cold)
Lime slice for garnish

Pour the gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup in a long glass with ice cubes.
Stir thoroughly.
Top with club soda
Garnish with a lime slice

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  1. I love stewed guavas and custard (boarding school dessert) but have never thought of using them in a cocktail. They are on sale in the markets here so I am going to test drive your recipe!

    October 5, 2013
  2. In NZ one of the down sides of the ban on importing products from ZA (politics of the time) was we couldn’t get tinned guavas. They are back again now of course but they don’t seem to have the old magic. Your cocktail might be the remedy.

    October 4, 2013
  3. I am so glad you had a great time. I love that it all linked up this way and so appreciate you hosting our US friends. Want to hear more about it xxx

    October 4, 2013
  4. Love guava 🙂 Prefer them on slightly on the crisp side, don’t like it when they go slimy.
    Now, what I really hate is passionfruit. Eeeek.

    October 4, 2013
  5. Don’t know if I could have a drink that has the word ‘guava’ in it!

    October 4, 2013

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