I struggle with the start of autumn, with the shift from sitting out on long, light evenings to darkness and drear. Then, little by little, the joy of cooking with blackberries, plums and squash, of making stews and cakes, of practically snuggling up to every meal for warmth and comfort takes over and I am happily ensconced in my steamed-up kitchen, cooking, listening to music, feeling cosy.
But there are certain things I carry over from the summer, like the thought of particular dishes and drinks that I make repeatedly. This year, throughout July and August, I made a particular cocktail, the Rebujito, over and over again. And, already this autumn, I have discovered the colder weather equivalent, the Cadiz Bramble.
I found this on my new favourite food website, The Gannet, which is a wonderful collection of interviews, recipes and recommendations by those who know (chefs, food producers, food writers) for places to go and eat. It is a highly addictive and well written place to spend a few hours and, in doing so, I found this, my new favourite drink.
Unlike a lot of cocktails, this is relatively light since it doesn’t contain any spirits and the sherry is diluted with both lemon juice and sugar syrup. But, like many others, it is a perfect, start-the-evening, sharpener with a hit of autumnal fruitfulness to up the warmth quotient. And, if you have a bottle of crème de cassis knocking about, this is much less sweet and therefore, to me, much better than a Kir.
You need to do a lot of juicing to make a few (don’t do it, as I did last week, with cuts in your hands), but you’ll be delighted with the results. Crush the ice, if you can, because then you get the purple cassis colour graduating from the bottom to the top of the glass.
To make 2
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
caster sugar, 22g
lemons, enough to make 44ml (1-2, depending on how big/juicy they are)
fino sherry, 120ml
You will also need a cocktail shaker, or a sturdy jar.
1. First, make a sugar syrup. Dissolve the sugar in 22ml of cold water (so, if you want to make more than this, remember that the ratio should be 1 part sugar to 1 part water) and leave until the sugar dissolves. This will take about ten minutes, but you can speed it up a bit by stirring.
2. Meanwhile, juice your lemons and put the juice into a cocktail shaker with the sherry.
3. When the sugar syrup is just about ready, crush enough ice for two tumblers and fill said glasses with the ice.
4. Add the syrup to the shaker/jar, close it then shake it vigorously for at least 15 seconds. Strain over the ice (if not using a shaker, don’t worry about this too much).
5. Put a teaspoon over the top of the ice in each glass and pour the cassis over the back of the spoon (it will sink to the bottom of the glass and create a lovely shaded effect).