AFTERNOON Tea, a concept that seems simple enough; one pot of tea, a selection of sandwiches, a dainty cake or three and the obligatory scone, with butter, clotted cream and jam.
Add a glass of Champagne and you upgrade it to a Sparkling Afternoon Tea - the rivalry to produce the best experience amongst the Capital’s top end cafes and hotels is legendary.
Now Hotel du Vin is taking the idea to a whole new level with their Gin Inspired Afternoon Teas.
For the uninitiated, Afternoon Tea was introduced in 1840 by the then Duchess of Bedford, who, finding herself peckish around four o’clock - dinner being fashionably late at eight o’clock back then - invented Afternoon Tea to fill the gap between lunch and dinner.
Times have changed, of course, and now Afternoon Tea is very much seen as a treat, which brings us back to Hotel du Vin.
As an additional twist, along with your tea, cakes and sandwiches, their Afternoon Tea menu also features three hand-picked gins, each paired with its own tonic.
First is the Sipsmith Sloe, rich and smooth it leaves cherry, almond, cinnamon and plum flavours, lengthened with Fever-Tree’s Sicilian Lemon Tonic and a garnish of orange rind.
Or there’s Gin Mare, with olive and basil flavours, accentuated by the rosemary, lemon-thyme and geranium in Fever-Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic.
Finally, you could sample the Monkey 47, distilled in Germany’s New Black Forest, 47 botanicals give this premium gin a depth and complexity, lifted by Fever-Tree’s Indian tonic - it’s served with strawberry and lime.
In keeping with tradition an impressive selection of tea infusions and a selection of mini sandwiches and savouries are de rigueur and include smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, ham with Gruyere croissants, and goat’s cheese and spinach quiches.
These are followed by traditional scones with cream and jam, and topped off with a choice of sweet treats including rhubarb and custard doughnuts and homemade apple candy floss.
Nick Halliday, of Hotel du Vin says, “Everyone loves the traditional Afternoon Tea, we believe it is one of the finest meals, a perfect combination of sweet and savoury. We wanted to update this favourite to reflect the increasingly adventurous nature of British consumers that are seeking more unique food pairing experiences.”
Full Afternoon Tea, starting at £20, is available at Hotel du Vin daily from 12-6pm, addition gin pairings priced from £7.30 to £9.50