Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Blushing at Royal Ascot

While my Finnish friends and family spent Midsummer in traditional Finnish fashion at summerhouses by the lakeside or seaside, I spent Midsummer at Royal Ascot. What an amazing event, that most certainly gave the good old summerhouse a run for it's money. I had no idea it was so damned huge. The whole racecourse, the number of people... Walking from the train station to the racecourse was like herding thousands and thousands of cattle. Well, cattle in cocktail dresses and hats, but all the same.
I had an amazing time soaking up the atmosphere (but not the sunshine, as this was traditional British summer at it's "best"), peoplewatching and betting on the horses. The  ladies wore beautiful dresses and the most amazing hats and fascinators, gents in their suits or waistcoats. And the high hats, men should wear high hats much more! Turns anyone into a gentleman. Well, at least looking like one. If everyone dressed like that, the world would truly be a better place. It was like being in an alternate universe. I really would have wanted to stay there forever. Shopping for the right things to wear was already an experience, and to get prettified in the morning and then walking around all day in the most amazing dress, heels and fascinator. There should be more occasions to wear headwear. It's the ultimate luxury accessory, at least to me. 
I love horses, and have been riding since I was seven years old. So I do know a thing or two about our four legged friends. However, this was my first time watching horse racing. I'm a dressage and jumping kind of gal, I used to jump myself back in the days. So the world of racing was totally foreign to me. It became clear very soon that there was one star above all others this year, and she is called Black Caviar. She had flown all the way across the world from Australia to race at Royal Ascot. She even carried the right colours, black circles on a pink background. After being a bit confounded about how the whole betting thing worked, me and friends managed to place some bets. I put my money on Black Caviar, and it turned out to be a success. She did win her race, but only by the width of a nostril, as Midnight Cloud did quite a sprint at the end and nearly caught up. It was so exciting, watching the horses thunder by and then waiting for the close-ups on the big screen of the horses crossing the finish line to see who made it first. 
The winning ticket

You can't enjoy a day at the races without a glass (or in our case a pitcher) of cocktails in your hand. I have to admit, normally I'm not much of a drinker. I have nothing against alcohol, I love cocktails or a nice glass of wine with dinner. But since I have to stick to a rather limited amount of calories per day, I choose to ingest them in the form of food instead of drink. No judgement whatsover for anyone choosing differently, it's just I get more pleasure from a nice piece of chocolate cake than from a drink. However, there are special occasions which just call for a classy cocktail. 
You will have to take my word for it, but the
lady in green is Her Majesty the Queen
I usually stick with the trusty G&T because it's good, low calorie and requires minimal brain activity and imagination to order. However, at the races, I was introduced to my new friend, the Royal Blush. It is the perfect drink for me for many reasons. It is really sweet, it is pink and it has gin in it. It was so good, it tasted like candy. And you could have been fooled to think there was no alcohol in it. Well, that was until you tried to get out of your chair after enjoying this little bad boy. I will certainly get myself a bottle of Chambord to complement my bottle of Bombay Sapphire and make these a few more times this summer. I know this is not much of a recipe as I have no idea of how much of everything went into the drink (and from the way the bartender was just pouring out of multiple bottles at the same time, neither did he). You should just optimize until you find a ratio of Chambord to gin to lemonade that is to your liking. For me it would probably be equal amounts of Chambord and gin to fill about a quarter of the glass, then add lemonade. But experimenting can be part of the fun, and you probably have to go through numerous iterations to be sure you got the perfect mix.

Royal Blush:
Fill a high glass with ice cubes. Add Chambord and Bombay Sapphire, and fill glass with lemonade. Enjoy responsibly (if you insist).

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