Fun in the sun?
The beautiful summery weather at the weekend inspired me to think about summer parties – sipping cocktails and fruity drinks in the sunshine, music and a BBQ! And my visit to the Foodies Festival provided even further inspiration, tasting yummy food and sipping summery drinks in the blazing sunshine on Hampton Court Green! (A full review of the fabulous Foodies Festival will follow soon!)
And then the sky went grey, the wind started to blow, and it rained! My thoughts turned to hot drinks – tea, of course, and also proper coffee. I have purchased some fab vintage finds over the past few weeks, having been on several successful charity shop rummages and bagging bargains from my favourite online vintage sellers, like the lovely Seld Emrys Jones.
So, I started to think about adapting summer parties for the great British weather, and came up with some more interesting ideas!
It’s all gone a bit Gatsby…
The Roaring Twenties are all the rage again, with the release of Baz Luhrmann’sThe Great Gatsby, and Boardwalk Empire being one of the box sets of choice, so why not live it up, Prohibition style, and enjoy a British-American summer party indoors, in the warmth of the house? I’m a huge fan of all things 1920s – the fashion, art, furniture, jewellery – and love the decadent feel. What better way to recreate that feeling that using your vintage teacups, saucers and other tea paraphenalia for the cocktails?
I love the idea of serving cocktails in tea cups (another nod to the 20s era!), like this fabulous Absinthe cocktail from the Powderpuff Girls at the Powder Room (very appropriate for the launch of Paul et Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream themed summer range last year.)There are some fab places where you can try tea cup cocktails out and about, like The Tea Box in Richmond, and I’m hoping to get more inspiration from a visit to Prohibition and the 20s architecture in New York!
But far more fun to try it at home with your own vintage pieces, using vintage cups to serve the cocktails and retro coffee pots instead of jugs.
And then I found out about the lovely people at Tipsy Tea Cups, who decided to make their own very special vintage glasses after inspiration from a stay in a fab hotel. They use their own (top secret!) bonding technique to fuse tea cups and saucers with wine and cocktail glasses to create some really unique and eye-catching pieces, that will certainly add that vintage feel to your party. I particularly love the shades of blue in some of these beauties, which would go very well in my dining room (particularly the pearlescent piece with matching pot – perfect for pouring those cocktails!)
And Tipsy Tea Cups or vintage tea or coffee cups and saucers can help create the right mood and atmosphere, setting the tone for the evening, filled with tealights. Why not match the scented candles to the cocktails or food being served? For example, rose scented tealights to go with my rose and red berry cocktail, rosemary scented candles to go with rosemary foccacia, or lavender scented to go with lavender tea?
But why stop the tea association there? Why not make some of the cocktails with actual tea? I tried this with loose leaf tea from the fabulous Monkey Char, a Richmond based tea company who make some really unusual fruity and floral blends that work particularly well for cocktails, as well as a refreshing brew!
Tipsy Tea with Rachael – The ingredients…
- Monkey Char’s Aisha Fabienne’s Blend (or traditional rose tea works well too)
- Belvoir Raspberry and Rose Cordial
- Chambord or raspberry liqueur
How to make it…
My other favourite year-round cocktail, Rachael’s Ray of Sunshine, mixes apple juice, ginger beer, Belvoir apple and ginger cordial, apple flavoured vodka and a twist of lime. I’ve included a picture here of some I made last Christmas, proving it really does work beautifully, come rain or come shine!
When the weather gets better, I’ll also share some summer cocktail ideas, including Mojito and Margarita-inspired cocktails using organic fruit juices.