In the depth of the South African winter, at Sue’s lovely country house in McGregor, late on a Saturday afternoon, we were ready for a cocktail. sofa girl’s drink of choice, what makes her happy at the end of the day, is one perfect gin and tonic.
When she suggested it, I suddenly felt very English and very proper; a character from a Somerset Maugham’s novel, a drink in front of me as the sun was setting in some exotic locale, a Panama hat shading my eyes. In fact, I was ungracefully sprawled on the sofa, under a blanket, with one dog or two, flipping through the digital pages of Sweet Paul magazine, a quarterly publication Sue discovered a couple of years ago and which I finally decided to download.
Sweet Paul, the paper version of which can be found at some Barnes & Nobles, Anthropologies and a few hipster hangouts, is the brainchild of Paul Lowe, a New Yorker with Nordic origins, a nice middle-aged man who loves the good things in life, sharing them with friends and, by the look of it, tattoos. Packed with recipes, stylish photos and some original crafts, it is a pleasant and honest read, which has yielded some ideas for my upcoming birthday lunch (including a cherry and vodka cocktail).
At that particular moment, though, under the blanket on the sofa, I spotted a blueberry gin and tonic. Because the magazine is published in the US, it was meant as a Spring drink, not something to be enjoyed in front of the fire, but what the hell.
“Let’s make it.”
It was delicious and refreshing and perfect, even on a cold, Winter afternoon.
All it requires is some blueberry jam (not jelly and possibly free of added sugar). One tablespoon is enough for three gin and tonics.
Shake all the ingredients with ice, pour and watch the blueberries sink to the bottom – they will be incredibly tasty once the liquid has been imbibed, still oozing a bit of gin.
Our blueberry gin ’n tonic was perfect on the following night too, back in Cape Town, surrounded by children, not a Panama hat or an exotic sunset in sight.
Top image from Sweet Paul Magazine