On 9 July 2016 Vera, Drink Up!, a collaboration between Vera’s Gin Club and Cambridge Eat Up!, took place at The Plough in Shepreth, near Cambridge. It was presented by “Vera” (gin expert Lyndsey Spellman) who took us through the history and horticulture of three gins. Lyndsey’s presentation was entertaining and interactive and she had everyone laughing and having fun from the very beginning.
Lyndsey leads a monthly Vera’s Gin Club at The Plough (I wrote about it here). As a member of Cambridge Eat Up!, the Facebook group for foodies, I wanted to include Vera in a foodie event so Lyndsey and I organised Vera, Drink Up!, a food and drink extravaganza featuring 3 premium gins + Fever-Tree tonic, Vera’s fun and informative gin presentation and a plateful of exquisite food by Romano’s.
We held Vera, Drink Up! from 5pm to 7pm so we could include a hearty dinner. The monthly Vera’s Gin Club features more gin (5 gins) and less food (The Plough’s nibbles) but for this special occasion we were fortunate to have a tasty menu created by the fabulous Paola Davies-Romano. The Plough were kind enough to lend us the space and have Romano’s as guest kitchen for the event. We also had The Foraging Fox on board, who supplied us with bottles of their delicious beetroot ketchup.
The event began with a toast to celebrate a very special occasion. Lyndsey became a great aunt so we all raised our glasses to Henry. Hello, Henry! Lyndsey then took us through the fascinating history of gin followed by a tasting of three fantastic gins, chosen by Lyndsey to both refresh and delight. They did indeed! We tasted Tanqueray Export Strength London Dry Gin, Makar Glasgow Dry Gin (this one went over rather well as we had a few Scots in the group) and Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin.
It was a great communal experience as we all passed around the bottles of gin and poured them into our small cups. It was interesting how the flavours of the botanicals were brought out by simply adding tonic or even just ice cubes to the gins. We were encouraged to give our opinions and even got to vote for our favourite. Personally, I loved the Opihr.
After the tasting, it was time to soak up the gin with Romano’s deliciously filling menu. The Plough provided £1-off vouchers for those who wanted to enjoy a glass of gin with their food.
Romano’s menu featured 5 delicious home cooked delights:
- A half portion of Romano’s famous Smoked Bacon & Cranberry Stuffing Pork Pie (vegetarian option: Italian Vegetable and Halloumi Layered Pie with layers of aubergines, tomato pesto, zucchini and halloumi cheese, encased in light puff pastry);
- A half portion of the equally famous Parmesan Crusted Scotch Egg (vegetarian option: Spanakopita Filo Roll);
- A slice of Pea & Asparagus Cheese Tart;
- Horseradish Coleslaw;
- Toasted Fregola Salad, a type of pasta from Sardinia mixed with feta cheese, chick peas, baby plum tomatoes, fresh herbs and a tasty dressing.
The beetroot ketchup, courtesy of The Foraging Fox, went well with the pork pie, scotch egg and vegetarian options. The beetroot was a great alternative to tomato ketchup and I heard many positive comments about it. I even saw some people look up The Foraging Fox’s website on their mobiles to find out where they could buy the beetroot ketchup. We had the Original but it comes in Smoky and Hot versions too!
It was a great evening of gin-fuelled frolics and superb food, thanks to Vera, Romano’s and The Plough. No one went home hungry or thirsty. Maybe we’ll do another Vera, Drink Up! one day. In the meantime, you can always get your fill of gin at Vera’s Gin Club, held at The Plough every third Wednesday of the month from 8pm to 10pm. Just ring The Plough to reserve your space. We’ll be celebrating Vera’s first birthday at the next one on 20 July, complete with gin cake!
Although I was the one of the organisers of the event I paid for my own ticket. All views are my own. The Plough, Vera’s Gin Club and Romano’s were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
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