With the game bird season in full swing, and in light of Nige’s recent acquisition of a brace of plump breasted pheasants, we thought we would bring all of these things together for this week’s cocktail. This is nothing so crazy as Pheasant on the Rocks, or a Ptarmigan Daquiri, but the name of this drink really would make an excellent cryptic crossword answer. So lets do that:
‘1 down: A piazza of shooting rangers; 6, 6.’
If we think about shooting, then this often conjures up images of green wellies and wax jackets. Think of where most of the best shooting in the UK is to be found and from where some of those in your shooting party may have come from. Are you with me so far, or have you given up, jumped straight to the list of ingredients to pour yourself a stiff one?
The best shooting in the UK is most certainly in Scotland, and Scotland is also famous for a basic alcohol, made only from barley and water. This has to be whisky, right? The Scots have a nickname for a certain brand of blended whisky that has a picture of a rather cheeky-looking game bird on the label. It is this bird that gains the brand the nickname ‘a low flier,’ as a reference to the particular pattern of flight exhibited by the chap pictured on the label. A double measure of a low flier is sometimes known as a ‘brace.’
You have probably guessed by now that this week’s cocktail is based on whisky, but what is the piazza of rangers in the crossword clue? Well, if I told you that The Nosey Chef’s Friday cocktail this week is the Sloane Square, I think most Brits our age could figure out the other references for themselves. For those beyond the shores of Britain, it is worth explaining that back in the 1980s, there was a particular group of wealthy London socialites known as Sloane Rangers, named after the up-market London square where their favourite shops and hangouts were located. The essential characteristics of a Sloane Ranger were, a job in the City, expensive country pursuits, and the studious parking of very muddy Range Rovers right outside the front door of Harvey Nichols in London’s stylish Knightsbridge. The quintessential specimen of the Sloane Ranger was the young Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana Princess of Wales (who paradoxically detested country pursuits).
Fittingly, the Sloane Square calls for a Highland single malt, which is mixed with tequila. The Highlands is the largest of the whisky producing regions in Scotland and tends to produce a fuller bodied malt whisky, with heavier overtones of peat and smoke, compared with the other regions. In the Sloane Square, this flavour compliments the woodiness of cask aged tequila, the herbal overtones of the Benedictine liqueur, with the fresh zesty orange bitters. The result is something akin to getting both barrels from a 12-bore Holland and Holland side-by-side.
The Sloane Square is best enjoyed wearing a pair of scratchy tweed breeks, sitting by a roaring log fire somewhere in SW1, and doing a proper crossword. Enjoy and don’t fall off your shooting stick.
Harvey Nichols can be found at 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ.
Sloane SquarePrint Recipe
- 60ml Highland single malt Scotch whisky (we used 12 year-old Highland Park Viking Honour from Orkney)
- 20ml tequila
- 20ml Benedictine DOM
- 2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
Stir all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Strain into a glass.
Garnish with a twist of orange peel.