GOLF HAS ALWAYS been associated with enjoying a drink or two. It is no coincidence that the winner of the Open Championship receives a claret jug, although over recent years some pretty unorthodox, celebratory drinks have been consumed from it. Stewart Cink’s children filled it with Coca-Cola; Darren Clarke favoured Guinness whilst Rory McIlroy chose the young person’s tipple du jour by swigging down Jagermeister.
We thought it would be fun to have a look at some warming drinks to carry round the course during the winter months that might not help improve your game but may well be invaluable when it comes to forgetting the worst bits. And for those who favour a pre-golf tipple we include a trio of lively sharpeners to get you fortified for the round ahead.
A Thermos is needed for this warming bracer. Traditionally a mixture of beef consommé with a good slug of either dry sherry- Tio Pepe is ideal- or port. Bovril is often substituted for the consommé and is a winter staple at the half way hut at Royal Cinque Ports at Deal.
The Whisky Mac:
Arguments rage over whether Crabbie’s or Stone’s green ginger wine is best but, whichever your preference, add two thirds of ginger wine to one third blended scotch whisky.
A pleasing mixture of 75% cherry brandy, de Kuyper is excellent, and 25% of a good blended whisky is favoured by Ashdown’s very own, Tim McDermott, who traditionally proffers this warming restorative on the 13th tee, after which he says the climb never seems so arduous nor the drive quite so lamentable!
This is a potent 50/50 mix of brandy and Benedictine should one be seeking divine inspiration during a round. The pungent herbal liqueur was originally brewed to revive weary Benedictine monks in 1510. The term D.O.M found on the label stands for Deo Optimo Maximo, ‘To God most great.’
There are proprietary brands, with Slipsmith available at Waitrose, but the most toothsome tipple is invariably home made using a simple recipe of adding one pint of frozen sloes to one pint of gin to one pint of caster sugar. The result is delicious and can double as a really tasty cough mixture should you be feeling at all chesty. As well as being taken neat it also works extremely well when mixed on a 50:50 basis with port.
Despite the many hundreds of miles of hedgerows lost over the last 50 years there is still no difficulty in finding wild blackberries during August and September. As with sloe gin, freeze the berries first then mix with vodka and caster sugar and leave somewhere cool and dark in a demijohn for at least three months. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin into a clean bottle and then leave for another 10 weeks and it will be ready in time for Christmas.
Damsons work equally well with gin but brandy is your Blogger’s personal favourite for keeping out the winter chill. Wash and prick a pound and a half of ripe damsons and pop into a large screw top container with three ounces of caster sugar, a cinnamon stick, four cloves and a bottle of brandy. Leave for three months, shake regularly before straining. It might be necessary to top up the sugar level depending on taste but always shake well when adding more sugar.
Almost exclusively reserved for consumption in gentlemen’s clubs or golf clubhouses. Royal Ashdown stocks the Wolfschmidt brand despite having closer ties with Mentzendorff, the senior brand first imported into this country by Ludwig Mentzendorff. Two Mentzendorffs are listed as playing in an Open mixed foursome competition at Ashdown in September 1890 and it is almost inconceivable that Ludwig did not introduce his kummel to the members.
Prestwick Golf Club is the world’s largest single imbiber of kummel consuming, on average, three cases a week. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers comes a close second.
The aniseed flavoured liqueur is traditionally taken ice cold or over ice as a post-prandial, as the cumin it contains is said to aid the digestion. There are, however, other ways of enjoying it:
The Silver Bullet
Listed in the Savoy cocktail book this is a simple split of one ounce of Beefeater gin, one half an ounce of kummel and one half ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice served in a chilled martini glass.
The KGB Cocktail
Having nothing to do with either the KGB or vodka, the only Russian ingredient is kummel, first made commercially in Riga, then part of the Russian empire.
Pour one and a half ounces of gin, half an ounce of kummel, a small splash of apricot brandy and one quarter teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve with a twist of lemon peel.
And which ever you choose, your very good health!