It’s that time of the year again…well, as you read this, it’s just passed but I hope you celebrated the humble fruit – the cucumber, courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin.
The quirky Hendrick’s Gin, which is distilled in Scotland in small batches of only 500 litres at a time, is made with infusions of cucumber and rose petals, alongside a blend of 11 botanicals, producing a gin with a delightfully floral aroma.
Hendrick’s Gin has always held the cucumber in the highest regard and does not take it for granted. And thus, it was time to celebrate World Cucumber Day all week long, where select establishments across Nairobi would accept bona fide cucumbers of any species as currency – or “bar tender” – in exchange for a Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic during a dedicated ‘Cucumber Hour’ (a play on the popular ‘cocktail hour’).
One of the celebrations was held at Tapas Ceviche Bar at the Westgate Shopping Mall, at their weekly cocktail craft event, the Tapas Bar Culture Night, on Wednesday, 12 June 2019. Indulging in some of the finest Hendrick’s Gin cocktails in the midst of a busy week at the cucumber-themed night, I sure was celebrating World Cucumber Day right!
Upon arriving at the Tapas Ceviche Bar, I was given a cucumber and a rose. As I looked around, DJ Foozak was playing some great tunes and the Spanish-style bar was decked out in Hendricks-themed décor.
From the customary bathtub, I’ve come to associate with Hendricks to the newspaper-wrapped mannequins and the rose motifs through the wooden crates of roses and the hanging birdcages with roses and cucumbers, the set-up was just beautiful.
It was still twilight when I arrived but it was absolutely gorgeous to see the fairy lights twinkle as the night fell.
I noticed that people sat by the bar to watch the bartenders and mixologists do their magic, but because I’m at a lower height than a bar counter, as I use a wheelchair, I chose to sit outside on the patio.
As I awaited my pals, I noticed the table décor matched the eclectic theme. The dark brown apothecary-style Hendrick’s Gin bottle was repurposed as a vase filled with roses. Personally, I loved this eco-friendly touch of reusing the empty gin bottle.
After settling down, I got to do the exciting cucumber exchange, trading in my cucumber for a Hendrick’s & Tonic. Served over ice with Hendrick’s Gin, tonic water and slices of English cucumber, the iconic refreshing tipple was a delightful start to the night.
Please allow the low-quality images as it was quite dimly lit outside. As the night carried on, I got to try the rest of the Hendrick’s signature drinks. The cucumber lemonade, a summery concoction of Hendrick’s Gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and tonic water, reminded me of an adult version of lemonade, perfect for a hot, sunny day.Next, I tried the Unusual Cosmopolitan, which had lemon juice, cranberry juice and orange zest, and replaced the vodka for Hendrick’s Gin. This was a pleasantly surprising drink, which I think really would be the quintessential girl’s night drink. So pretty and so easy to sip on so pretty! Then, I tried what I think was my absolute favorite from the entire night – the Apple & Cinnamon Botanical Punch, a mix of Hendrick’s Gin, Cointreau, tonic water, apples, cucumber, orange fruit, and apple and cinnamon tea. I’m a huge fan of the apple-cinnamon combo, so this was definitely a firm favorite for me, and I hope this is a mainstay on the cocktail menu at Tapas. Till then, I’ll be trying to replicate this drink at home. Having tried it before, I skipped the Flora Dora, a cocktail with Hendrick’s Gin, raspberry puree, lemon juice, Stoney ginger beer, raspberry and lemon fruit. Fruity and delectable, this is another easy cocktail.
Then, the final two I tried were the Pink Mule and the Purple Hendricks. Served in a mini copper mug, the Pink Mule had Hendrick’s Gin, lemon juice, ginger and thyme syrup, and Stoney ginger beer. A little heavy-handed with the ginger, I found the cocktail overpowering my palate, but then again, I don’t really find myself drawn to ginger, unless I have a pesky sore throat. So, if you like ginger, you’d love the Pink Mule.
The Purple Hendricks, a tea-based cocktail, with Hendrick’s Gin, tonic water, simple syrup, cucumber, beetroot and lemon, was lovely. A mainstay on Tapas’ cocktail menu, this was a refreshing drink, a little reminiscent of an iced tea, that I can easily sip on during happy hour.
In all honesty, it was a fantastic mid-week break, as I got to treat myself to some expertly-made gin creations and I got to catch up with my friends. The only thing left to do before leaving was to indulge in some churros (always a must-have for me when I visit Tapas) and to grab a group photo.
What a peculiarly charming, gin-fuelled and cucumber-filled evening!The weeklong World Cucumber Day celebrations culminated on Friday, 14 June 2019, at the World Cucumber Day party at the Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hurlingham. We escaped the mundane by sipping on Hendrick’s Gin cocktails and embraced our unusual side by honoring the real star of the celebration: the cucumber.
Disclosure: I received complimentary food and drink, but all views and opinions are entirely my own.
Unless stated otherwise, photos by Nirav Nagda & Nimmit Shah. Video footage by Mikhil Shah