Sunday, 15 March 2015


Well I have been doing other things than working too. The other week I was invited over to the British Embassy for afternoon tea. Or, afternoon tea and gin tonics, to be more exact.

If you'd asked me a decade ago what my favourite drink was, I'd give you a standard answer (that, contrary to what some of you may think, did not come straight from the local tiki bar's list) - simply, "the free drink". On our late high school- and early student years we always used to participate in the season opening day at the university and hang out at art exhibition openings because of the free wine they'd serve.  (This actually sounds pretty bad now put into writing, but it was a lot of fun back then. And I did go to art exhibitions for other reasons as well, being an art student.). But, for a more serious answer, a good gin and tonic definitely makes my top five.

So I grabbed my passport and wore plaid (quelle surprise) and head up to the big pink house at the top of the hill in the big park in the city, where a bit of the UK faces a bit of America.

I'm a sucker for decor and that is always what I pay attention too  when arriving somewhere. I want that lamp.

And those huge windows too. The view is a quite amazing one of of the park with Finnish Bay opening up behind it.

Sibelius was here once too.

Now, I was not invited by the embassy but rather to it, but by Pernod Richard Finland for an event regarding the release of the new Beefeater 24 gin (which is, for those of you who know about, or are interested in these things, a premium gin distilled with - among many other things- grapefruit peel and two different kinds of tea. And thus goes surprisingly well together with tea too. It was good. Very round and soft to taste). The event consisted of a little introduction to the British tradition of afternoon tea as well as the history of gin and tonic and gin in general and the making of it (distilled by hand, in London). Most definitely one of those things that you never knew you wanted to know about before, but now do. Really interesting once you get into it, especially if told by a connoisseur with a passion for the subject, like bar tender-master Timo Siitonen from A21 Cocktail Lounge (one of the best in town btw).

Time for tea! Served by a silent butler who showed up to fill my cup before it ever got empty.

The cucumber on the sandwhich was infused with gin.

And then gin and tonics! Here a classic triple-citrus one served the Spanish way in a round glass. (You learn something new everyday). I got a big urge to go home and throw a fancy party with a proper bar and drinks. (My friends once hosted a cocktail party for new year's. 2007 I think. They had made an amazing amount of small cocktail bites to eat that were really good and we made drinks out of an 1960's drink recipe book. The drinks were all very strong it turns out, most tasted rather awful due to that.)

Well, anyway. I also got to notice the big difference between tonic water and tonic water.
After this event I will propaböy never be able to fully enjoy a regular GT at a bar knowing how it could taste...

Tasting and smelling the ingredients of the 24 gin.

Mr.Siitonen giving some tips and tricks on how to spice up the original gin and tonic - herbs and spices are easy ways to give the classic a new twist.

My cocktail party itch got even more serious by this point because all of the versions looked ridiculously inviting.

I went for a mediterranean inspired "forrest version".  It had a branch of rosemary, juniper berries and lemon in it. The ideal proportion is one part gin and two parts tonic.  I think I have to start pimping up my water at home too with other than lemon and the occasional mint or cucumber because this looks just as nice as it tasted.

For those of you who go virgin I'm sure a fine tonic (this was Fever Tree, Fentimans was also very good) with the same ingredients would most likely taste rather swell too.