Last week, Tom and I were very excited to be invited for Christmas Cocktails at the Kingham Plough, owned by the well-known (amongst Cotswold foodie circles) chef proprietor, Emily Watkins. The evening was hosted by the dynamic duo – Mixellany, also known as Jared Brown and Anistasia Miller, who quite frankly, made our evening!
The foodie stars are definitely aligning over Kingham! Emily makes delicious ice cream using Nell’s Dairy Organic Milk (which we visited a few weeks ago) who also happens to be her neighbour. Handily, Jared, also the co-founder of one the UK’s most drinkable gins, Sipsmith, and wife, Anistasia, live next door in the village.
Mixellany are award-winning experts in spirits and mixed drinks, having written more than 30 books over their 20+ year collaboration and their depth of knowledge was astonishing. The pair were the first to discover the very first reference to ‘cocktail’ which was used in 1798 in London’s Downing Street.
Last week they were giving us just a taste of their masterclass, showing staff how to pour a selection of especially handcrafted tipples for the evening. Jared pouring a Sipsmith Sloe Negroni through a shaker was like watching Wonka in his lab creating cocktail confections.
Tom and I took up residence in a nook by the open fire, slowly making our way through the menu. My favourite was Anistatia’s Sparkling Gin Punch – juice and rind of one lemon, 290ml Sipsmith Gin (Of course), 60ml raspberry syrup and 750ml champagne – served in the old fashioned 1930’s champagne glass – certainly not in the modern day Martini class according to Jared. Your cocktail will be warm by the time you get to the bottom! These went down quite nicely with the lovely canapés from Emily’s kitchen.
The Plough looked really sumptuous with its Christmas decks up and what’s nice is that the pub although having garnered much critical acclaim and having famous Chipping Norton set fans, it’s still the local’s watering hole. As Jared said the “Camerons, Clarksons and Brookes of this world aren’t allowed at the bar, their banished to the restaurant.”
On our way home, we managed to make a right plonkers of ourselves attempting to use the Nell’s Dairy vending machine. Punters were probably thinking what are those to daft idiots doing trying to fill up a milk bottle in the dark and rain. After our last 50p got stuck and wouldn’t register, we were ready to call it a day. With Tom holding the bottle under the dispenser, I hit ‘go’ out of luck, Tom wasn’t ready – the lid still on the bottle. Milk went everywhere. Got home, it looked like we’d gone for a walk in the snow!
Next time we’ll be doing it in the daylight.