7 perfect days of summer – just add gin!
Ableforth's Bathtub gin looks cool, tastes even better and will rev you up for a summer of fun.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Hello summer! As those great philosophers DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince once sang, it’s now officially ‘time to sit back and unwind’ (well if you insist, Will Smith). Let the kids run wild, switch from cooking to some absent-minded salad chopping and pour yourself a long, icy glass of gin and tonic to toast making it this far into 2019.
Our latest tipple of choice? Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin (great name, don’t take it too literally and ‘soak’ in it), a distinctively delicious artisan gin that’s, unusually, cold-compounded for seven full days to maximise its flavour.
In the meantime, feel free to take our inspo on what to do in ‘Seven Perfect Summer Days’ across the Muddy counties – it’s a tough gig having this much fun, but we think you’re up to it.
1 Life’s a beach
We’ve just spent an idyllic, sun-baked weekend scrambling about in rock pools and diving off the pontoon at Readymoney Cove in Fowey, Cornwall. You can’t beat a British beach day trip, ideally involving takeaway fish and chips and a DIY G&T (pack that hip flask!). Asking us for our favourite UK beaches is like asking us to pick a favourite child, but we can say that we’re big fans of Whitstable in Kent, West Wittering in West Sussex, Woolacombe in Devon and pretty much anywhere in south Cornwall, for starters.
2 Pass the Scotch eggs!
Who doesn’t love a picnic? It is a truth universally acknowledged that all food tastes better al fresco. Another truth: it ain’t a picnic unless you remember the booze. As for our favourite picnic spots, we love Box Hill in Surrey (famously featured in Jane Austen’s Emma, with its ridiculous views of the North Downs), the grounds of Warwick Castle (there’s 64 acres so oodles of space), Stanwick Lakes near Wellborough and the glorious Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire.
3 Messing about on the river
Aye aye Captain! There’s something deeply calming about meandering along a waterway on a summer’s day. You’re spoilt for choice in Oxfordshire – you can hire all sorts of vessels from Hobbs of Henley and meander down the Thames, or head into central Oxford (or Cambs if you’re over that way!), grab a punt and get a completely different perspective on the city and its spires. Don’t forget to moor up for refreshment breaks – it’s thirsty work.
4 DIY pizza
Barbecues are all well and good but when it comes to outdoor dining we’re firing up our pizza ovens this summer. Pizzas ready in 60 seconds flat, kids love making the dough and super-cheap ingredients – what’s not to like? Our favourite brands are Gozney and Ooni, and we recommend grabbing a copy of The Ultimate Wood-Fired Oven Cookbook by Genevieve Taylor. It’s brilliant on all your doughy basics plus fancy-pants stuff like chilli-roast pineapple with coconut ice-cream.
5 Staycation in style
We’re not going to mention the B-word but let’s just say that, given all the uncertainty at the moment, we’re not surprised that 58 percent of Brits are opting for a UK holiday this summer. The lack of faff is appealing – just chuck everything in the car and go.
But where to go that won’t be totally rammed? For a city break, head to brilliant Bristol. This West Country gem is often overlooked as we whizz past to the south-west coast but it’s well worth a gander. Check out the chic Lido Bristol for dipping’n’dining, take a stroll around Paintworks creative quarter and check into No38 with views over the Clifton Downs, or Artist Residence in St Paul’s, which opens imminently.
Also around those parts is Bruton, Somerset, a rural mecca for arty types thanks to its Hauser & Wirth contemporary gallery. Or head to the other side of the country entirely and explore the relatively under-the-radar delights of North Norfolk. The epic Holkham Beach, with its big skies and even bigger sands, is location catnip for Hollywood movies and music videos.
6 Glamp rocks
What kind of insaniac goes old-school camping when you can go glamping? One who doesn’t appreciate the value of in-tent log-burners and hot tubs, that’s who. Thanks to the George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces effect, glamping options are ever more luxe, quirky and designed by architects. Click here for Muddy-approved hotspots in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
7 Hostess with the mostest
In our experience, the most memorable, naughty, wild parties always happen at home. We love a summer garden party chez nous – and we don’t mean a Buckingham Palace style one. When we interviewed the veteran party planner Fiona Leahy, her advice was to go big on one element – be it loads of flowers, balloons or candles – for maximum impact. Naturally at Muddy we like to go big on cocktails. Keep it simple with just one or two killer options and, if you can, hire a barman to do the shaking and stirring so you’re free to mingle.
Need a recipe? Here, have three! Zingy, refreshing little numbers that we’ll be supping at the Muddy summer knees-up later this month. Chin chin!
Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin, available at Tesco.