The Gaffer’s Garden


The Book Pairing

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Food Pairing

Hobbiton Pork Pie, by The Speculative Kitchen

The Reasoning

This one is something a little special to me, as both one of my favorite fantasy novels and my first team effort on the blog. A few weeks ago, I got chatting with @SpeculativeK about how fun it would be to collaborate on a themed meal – after discussing which novels we were enthusiastic about covering, we quickly concluded that if we were creating a fantasy feast, it really ought to be in honor of The Hobbit. We talked about flavors, and found that we were very much on the same page.

It wasn’t long before she got back to me with something suitably mouthwatering:

“Is it nice, my preciousss? Is it juicy? Is it scrumptiously crunchable?” – I’m guessing yes, to all three questions.

My own concoction is a Shire-themed sangria, of sorts. I think together we have made something that Bilbo would very much approve of. 🙂

The Cocktail

Serves 4

You will need:

  • A pitcher
  • Ice cubes
  • Tall glasses
  • 6 oz blackberry brandy
  • Approx 44 oz chilled hard sparkling cider (something along the lines of Crispin or Crabbie’s)
  • 1 bunch Rosemary
  • 1 bunch Thyme
  • 1 bunch Mint
  • 1 tart apple (granny smith is good for this)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 small punnet blackberries
  • (optional) regular brandy to taste

Core apple and pear and cut into slices. Place half of each into pitcher and set rest aside.

Take 5 decent sized sprigs of rosemary, a handful of thyme and a handful of mint and add to pitcher, along with around 10 blackberries.

Pour brandy into the pitcher, followed by hard cider. Stir gently with a long spoon and (if you have the time) allow to infuse for an hour in the refrigerator.

Fill your tall glasses with ice. Add a sprig of mint, rosemary and thyme to each glass, along with a few blackberries and a slice of apple and pear. Fill each glass from the pitcher.

This is quite a light cocktail, so if you prefer your drink a little boozier I suggest adding a shot of regular brandy to your glass. This adds a little extra booze without making the blackberry flavor overpowering or medicinal.

Tuck into your pork pie and leafy salad, and enjoy! ❤

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