Those Sipsmith boys always come up with jolly good ideas. The Summer Cup that was, is now rebranded London Cup, and includes Borage instead of cucumber – perfect served long, with lemonade. It’s pretty powerful at 29.5% so go easy on the pour. The base is their marvellous gin, infused with Earl Grey tea, lemon verbena and a mass of other botanicals.
Summer these days seems to come and go in a single weekend, but that aside, this cup can be served hot so the word ‘Summer’ probably pigeon-holed it. Back in the day, ‘cups’ were multipurpose and whilst there would be always be a base alcohol (gin or sherry) the quality wasn’t great and so spice and fruit would be added to deal with the harshness and these would be served either cold or hot.
‘Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks’ is the earliest British publication to document cocktail recipes; it was written by William Terrington in 1869. In it, there are recipes for punch, wine and sherry-based, mixed with herbs and fruit and spices. A large bottle of London Cup if you like, for a large group of friends, all served in a punchbowl with a suitable mixer (or not). London’s Inns of Court and the City of Guilds are mentioned quite a lot and tended to be all-male gatherings, thankfully these days London Cup doesn’t discriminate.
So, I’ve given you the spiel, where can you try it? Funny you should ask. To mark its launch, London-dwellers will have the chance to try this and a variety of wonderful drinks at The Sipsmith Punch House at the House of Barnabas in Greek Street . Here you can try a gin-punch cocktail, one of six, in fact, all inspired by historical recipes. I can definitely vouch for the French 75 Punch.
Each Sunday, the House will close to members and ticket holders, will have ninety minutes to experience this historic house and all it has to offer. Worship to the God of Gin in the Church and take in all the quirky art scattered throughout this former home built in 1679.
Look out for the plane trees that feature in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (you can see them here in the second photo, wedged between two buildings). It’s also where he penned this famous work.
Jared Brown, the Master Distiller, will talk you through the history of punch as well as give you a potted history of Sipsmith and all it has to offer.
Tickets cost £15 per session which includes your first tipple. Know that all your hard earned cash will go straight to the House of Barnabas, a charity which helps someone get back into long lasting, paid work.
Sessions run from Sunday 6th June.