Le Gendarme – a drink for an afternoon party

It’s Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK, and predictably the weather reports have been pretty gloomy for most of this little island – miraculously London has been sunny for 3 whole days, albeit very windy today…we were going to go to the beach for a picnic (yes, London does have beaches) but it’s high tide 😦

Anyway, while not wishing to put a hex on the hopefully imminent start of summer, I thought I’d put up some drinks recipes up – ‘cos as the season to invite people round for a bit-of-fun bbq looms large, being expansive and welcoming and generally putting on a good spread doesn’t mean living on bread and water for a fortnight before and after.

This first one contains alcohol, and is a slightly more toothsome version of a spritzer, but you can use cheaper wine. It tastes much more grown up than it sounds, and I got the ‘recipe’ – if you can call adding a couple of things together in a glass a recipe, from my lovely friend Domenic, who comes from Biarritz  and is very  stylish – if it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for me.

Just like when you’re making Bucks Fizz, the alcohol can be cheap (obviously vaguely drinkable, but the budget range in the supermarket will do fine), however the mixer must be of good quality, so when you buy the lemonade, make sure it has no lo-cal/artificial sweeteners, ‘cos you’ll waste a bottle of wine.


1 bottle/or litre carton of cheap white table wine

Equal (or slightly more) quantity of lemonade, cloudy or clear.

Per bottle of wine, 1 unwaxed lemon.


Pour wine and lemonade into a really big jug. Wash lemon, cut in half, squeeze juice into the jug, and then turn the lemon halves inside out to help release the oils in the skin. Pop them into the jug, and add some ice cubes. Serve straight away.

P.S – not that I’m being defensive about you all laughing at me 😉

re: London beaches – blatantly, they are not on a par with La Plague des Anglaises, or Miami, or Rio – or even Torquay or Blackpool, but all along the Thames there are ‘secret’ steps down to the shoreline, and some of them have good clean stretches of sand and are actually quite pleasant – no donkeys, no ice cream, but also no tourists, which if you grew up in a seaside town, can be seen as generally ‘a not necessarily bad thing.’


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