THE KING’S GINGER
The King’s Ginger is the emphatically ginger liqueur that was specifically formulated by Berry Bros in 1903 for King Edward VII. Rich and zesty, it was created to stimulate and revivify His Majesty and has been appreciated by bon viveurs, sporting gentlemen and high-spirited ladies ever since.
King Edward VII reigned from 1901 to 1910 and was a customer of Berry Bros, the wine and spirits merchant established at No. 3 St James’s Street, London, in 1698. The Royal Physician was concerned about the monarch’s health, exposed as he was to the elements indulging another of his preferred pursuits, driving his horseless carriage, a Daimler.
In 1903 he commissioned Berry Bros to formulate a liqueur which would warm and revive His Majesty; the result, a rich, golden liqueur with a pronounced spicy ginger emphasis and delightfully crisp flavour. The delicious high-strength liqueur features ginger, for centuries celebrated for its medicinal properties.
The King’s Ginger is a high-strength liqueur created by the careful maceration of ginger root, enlivened by the judicious addition of citrus in the form of lemon oil. Although warming and heartening on a cold day as originally intended, it is a splendidly uplifting tonic to be appreciated on its own all year round as well as in any number of cocktails and long drinks to celebrate the summer. It has an RRP £17.95 and is available to buy from the Berry Bros & Rudd shop at No. 3 St James’s Street, London or online at wwww. thekingsginger.com.
Here are some of the delicious recipes created by Nick Strangeway for you to enjoy at home
An Edwardian T Punch
2 parts rhubarb infused No. 3 London •
Dry Gin 2 parts No. 3 London Dry Gin •
2 parts King’s Ginger •
1 part lemon juice •
3 parts green tea •
Dash rhubarb bitters •
Selection of suwmmer fruits to add •
to the punch Add all ingredients to a stunning •
punch bowl — then sit back and bask in your friends’ praises
Pig & Wassail
40ml King’s Ginger •
10ml Somerset cider brandy •
50ml Luscombe pressed apple juice •
50ml Luscombe hot ginger beer •
Dash Angostura bitters •
Build in a 12oz highball, garnish with a lime wedge •
— the perfect way to toast summer In Waugh’s footsteps
hat are you having to drink?’ The magic words were put to me by my host, earnestly, my hand still clasped in his warm hand of welcome. We were standing in the hall of
White’s club. He was ten minutes late. His gentlemanly anxiety that I’d been without a drink for ten minutes and was about to collapse was touching. ‘Do you know what?’ I said, surprising myself, ‘I’ll have a pint of sweet cider.’ The urge for sweet cider was as sudden as it was overwhelming. At White’s club, guests aren’t allowed to order drinks from the bar. My friend sped away to the bar, from where I could hear him distributing fond greetings.
The truth was that I was beside myself with excitement to be sitting inside White’s club, the anonymous regency building with the bow window at the top of St James’s Street, pub of choice for the British aristocracy and the weight-bearing pillars of the Establishment, and not being given a drink while I waited hadn’t bothered me in the slightest. I’m an Evelyn Waugh nut, you see, and Waugh was a member here from 1941 until his death in 1966, and he put White’s club (rechristened as Bellamy’s) into his later novels. In my twenties I used to stand outside White’s — not for one moment dreaming I would ever get to see inside — and I’d try to discern the great man’s ghostly face, florid and angry, glaring out at me through the panes of the bow window. In his late middle age, as depression set in, Waugh gained a reputation for sitting and glaring. His diary entry for 24 March 1962 reads: ‘White’s. 7pm. I sit alone in the hall. A member known to me by sight but not by name, older than I, of the same build, but better dressed, said: “Why are you alone?” “Because no one wants to speak to me.” “I can tell you exactly why; because you sit there on your arse looking like a stuck pig.”’
My standing outside White’s as a young pilgrim, mentioned in passing to my friend between races at Cheltenham this year, was my ticket of entry this evening. ‘My dear fellow,’ my friend had said in astonishment. ‘I’m a member there. Come to dinner! I’ll show you his photograph.’
I’d arrived on the stroke of the agreed hour, and given my friend’s name to the solemn, dignified, inscrutable man behind the desk. Whereupon another, younger man, led me into the hall and showed me a seat.
‘Any rules?’ I said before I sat down. ‘Sir?’
‘Are there topics of conversation which aren’t allowed, for example? Politics, perhaps, or religion?’ He thought for a moment, then said, ‘Business, sir. We don’t talk about that.’ He expressed the word ‘business’ with a weary sigh, as if it were regrettable that such a thing even existed, let alone was sometimes spoken of. ‘What about mobile phones,’ I said, pulling mine out of my pocket and waggling it at him in case he hadn’t seen one before. He promptly led me ten paces to a tiny wooden cupboard under the stairs, and pulled open the door revealing a sort of cross between a naughty step and a punishment cell. ‘If you do need to make a call, if you please, we would ask that you do it from here, sir,’ he said, nailing his colours firmly to the mast. ‘But otherwise you can relax, sir. We are very flexible here.’
As I waited for my friend, I watched chaps in dinner jackets and bow ties arriving and making bee-lines for the billiard room, from where a rising, convivial hubbub issued. Keen to not look like a stuck pig, I diffidently inspected the paintings and photographs on the walls, starting with a wonderful photograph featuring Her Majesty the Queen. She’s surrounded by the White’s membership arranged in tiers, as in a regimental photograph, and Her Majesty is in their bosom, like an adored colonel. And every person in the photograph, including the sovereign, is radiating innocent joy, as if this was one of the most enjoyable days of their lives. And over beside the billiard room door, there he was, the man, Evelyn Waugh, in his impish prime, standing guard behind a wooden gate, on which a notice states: ‘entrée interdite aux promeneurs’. The barbarians aren’t only at the gate, mate, I told him under my breath. As of this evening, they’re in your old club, an’ all.
And then my friend came marching across the carpet with his arm extended. And before long a waiter came in bearing two pints of cider on a tray. And perhaps only in White’s is a pint of sweet cider served in an elegant round-bottomed solid silver tankard with a generous scoop of ice cubes. My friend had decided to have one too. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a pint of anything — except perhaps fresh prawns — as much as I enjoyed that silver tankard of ice-cold cider. And I’ve been drinking pints of cider with ice cubes ever since, as a constant reminder of a wonderful evening spent in what Waugh called, with unashamed sentimentality, ‘that gorgeous place’.
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