We make no bones about this, we are very proud to be British! This year marked The Queen’s 90th Birthday which was cause for celebration. Also, Team GB did amazingly well at the Olympics. If we gloss over the mess that is politics it is a good year to be a Brit! With a patriotic spring in our step, we decided to celebrate with British tea party!
Traditionally tea would include sandwiches and scones, but we decided to head straight for the good stuff, cake! We made a Victoria Sponge with blackberry and blueberry jam. Our second cake was a batch of lemon and poppy seed mini bundt cakes (using this awesome Nordic Ware cake tin). Finishing off our trio of cakes was the Hummingbird Bakery recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake cupcakes.
To set the table we used a mix match of red white and blue crockery. Our blue crockery is the willow pattern, we found a set at a charity shop and we love them. (The white plates are the Arv series from Ikea and the red plates are part of the Bosa range from Argos in case you were interested?). We have some lovely willow pattern cups and saucers, and we borrowed Rich mum’s teapot and cake stand in all their old-school glory.
On a recent trip to the Cinema, we stopped off at Bill’s beforehand to have some dinner. Whilst perusing their cocktail menu to gain a few ideas for the future cocktail of the week, we came across a cocktail called the Bee’s Knees. We were interested in this as every drink ordered; 25p is donated to the Royal Botanical Gardens campaign to highlight the importance of bees. Whilst we were not in a cocktail mood that night, we did want to try it and took a sneaky pic. To be fair to the Kew Gardens and Bill’s collaboration project, we will still be donating to the Kew Gardens Hive project.
The bees knees cocktail is a gin based cocktail that dates back to the prohibition era in the 1920’s and 30’s where a ban on alcohol was in place. The phrase ‘bee’s knees’ was a colloquial term at the time for ‘the best’. The poor quality bathtub gin was mixed with citrus, honey and other mixes to improve the taste and hide the smell of the gin. The cocktail comes in various measures and combinations depending on where you ordered the drink, for ours, we stuck with the cocktail that came from Bill’s.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
- 1 measure of gin (bath tub gin is still available if you wish to have the authentic mix!)
- 2 tablespoons honey syrup
- Juice of one lemon
- Pink lemonade
- Sprig of thyme
Firstly, to make the honey syrup, use the sugar syrup I describe before on the Raspberry Collins. Replace the sugar with the same quantity of honey. In a tumbler glass, add the gin, honey syrup and lemon over ice and stir. Fill the remainder of the glass with the pink lemonade. Add the sprig of thyme and you have the bee’s knees of our cocktail of the week the Bee’s Knees!
You can have this as a virgin cocktail and tastes the same without the gin, which is useful as it was designed to hide the taste of the gin! It is a good, flavoured cocktail and definitely one to try if you don’t like gin.