What could be more of a traditional Mother’s Day activity (in the UK, at least) than afternoon tea? The delicate sandwiches, the decorative cakes, the scones layered thick with jam and cream… and, of course, a glass of something special alongside!
While this would traditionally be a sparkling wine, we think gin could be a good alternative. With so many options to choose from – from a gently sweetened Old Tom to a crisp London Dry or a fruity expression – we reckon there’s a gin out there to suit your ideal afternoon tea set-up.
To get your started, we’ve suggested a few gin pairings for four classic cake flavours. Which will you try first?
The grandmother of all cakes, perfectly pairing light vanilla-tinged sponge with pillowy buttercream (or fresh cream) and sweet fruit jam. For a gin partner, we’d recommend a more delicate flavoured gin featuring red fruits – such as Mermaid Pink Gin, Salcombe Gin’s Rosé Sainte Marie, or the new Masons of Yorkshire Raspberry expression – to complement the sticky sweetness of the jam and vanilla. We think Mary Berry would be happy sipping on such a G&T with one of her (perfectly moist) Victoria sandwich cakes.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Who doesn’t love that punch of citrusy sponge combined with sticky, sugary drizzle? A solid, juniper-forward gin would partner well here; those piney notes will bring a crisp, almost menthol-cool freshness that pairs beautifully with the lemon and balances out the sweetness of that drizzle. For a real juniper hit, try Hepple Gin, Sipsmith London Dry Gin or, for a non-alcoholic drink, Warner’s Juniper Double Dry. Alternatively, if you want to dial up the lemon flavour, go for a citrus-focused gin such as Malfy Con Limone or Edinburgh Gin’s Jasmine and Lemon expression.
A good chocolate cake is a thing of beauty, whether you like it Bruce Bogtrotter-style with lashings of fudge icing, or prefer something a bit more ‘grown-up’ with prominent bitter cocoa flavours. While it may not seem the most obvious partner for gin, there are options out there. London to Lima’s Mulberry and Coca Gin has a lovely depth of flavour that would complement chocolate, while Tappers’ Eggcentric Chocolate Gin would make a great pairing for die-hard chocoholics. The time-honoured match of chocolate and orange would work too, with plenty of orange-focused gins to choose from – try Tanqueray’s Flor de Sevilla, Slingsby’s Marmalade Gin or Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin. Or, for the best of both worlds, what about York Gin’s Chocolate and Orange expression?
While slightly less glamorous, fruit cake can be an indulgent treat and pack a real flavour punch from those dried fruits, steeped in tea, sherry, or your liquid of choice. An Old Tom gin would be a good match here, one with slightly citrusy sweetness and good botanical character like Hayman’s Old Tom. If you want to boost those tannic and aromatic tea notes, there are lots of gins out there with tea in their botanical mixes. Try Masons Tea Edition Gin, The Teasmith Gin from Scotland, or Ki No Tea from the Kyoto Distillery.