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An interesting and varied selection of favourite Christmas tipples were sampled at the January meeting.

Bob set the ball rolling with a Martini Asti Spumanti, which was a pleasant sweet white aperitif. Cathy brought along a Definition (Majestic Wines) Albariño at £9.99 and talked about the wine coming from Galicia, the wet and windswept region of northwest Spain, which offers perfect conditions for producing fresh and zesty white wines. We then sampled a lovely white Rioja that Chris had found for £6.99 at Aldi, a Baron Amarillo. Chris explained the differences between the young and aged white Riojas and the many white grape varieties that can be combined with the minimum 51% Viura grapes to produce this wine. Next, we sampled a Fairtrade Bonarda, an Argentinian Malbec, blended with the lesser known Bonarda grape, which Les Bates enjoyed at Christmas. It was a very pleasant full bodied, rustic style wine at £5.25 from the Coop. The evening was concluded with a tot of Geoff’s favourite Mexican rum, El Ron Prohibido, and tales of Mexican rum-runners. This was a delicious rich and smooth rum.

Many thanks to Bob, Chris, Les Bates and Geoff for talking about their favourite wines and spirits, which contributed to making this an enjoyable evening.

Thank you, Les for organising the quiz and to members for raffle donations.


Unusual Wines

Geoff will give a talk with tastings on wines from lesser known grapes.


The Station Bridge Hotel was situated on the junction of Quarry Hill Road and Waterloo Road opposite the

railway station. The first record of the Station Bridge Hotel appears in the 1874 edition of Kelly’s Directory, listing Edward Ware as the landlord. In 1920 the Kent and Sussex Courier reported that Frank Trotter, son of the late Ernest Trotter of the Station Bridge Hotel, married the daughter of Arthur Vinten, Daisy Vinten, of the Nelson Inn. The final record for the Station Bridge Hotel lists   A E Streek as landlord in 1938.

My most recent find has been the White Horse Inn, which was situated at 162 High Street opposite Alishan Indian restaurant. Records are a little confusing as the White Horse first appears in 1855 as being at 152 High Street. Apparently between 1856 and 1896 some of the High Street buildings were re-numbered. Over the years various landlords are listed in directories and the Kent and Sussex Courier in 1874 reported that the licence of the White Horse, was transferred from William Brackenbury to Charles Jones. In 1908 the newspaper reported: “Supt. Styles in his annual report to the licensing justices, said the licensees had generally conducted their houses in a satisfactory manner, with the following exceptions: ... Ann Sarah Glover, White Horse Inn, Tonbridge, serving a constable on duty; ...”. Local historian, Mary Barker-Read, records the White Horse as being in business in 1971, but it is believed that the pub closed in the mid 1970’s. For many years a hairdressers occupied the building, however the premises are currently vacant.

NB: If you look carefully between the two windows on the first floor, remains of the brackets for the pub sign are still visible.

(Acknowledgements: Dover Kent Archives, Tonbridge Historical Society,


An interesting twist on a traditional cocktail.

Rum Martini

Shake together 60ml white rum and 15ml dry vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a green olive.


These savoury scones are simple to make and freeze well once cooked, provided you defrost and re-heat them in a hot oven for about 4 minutes before serving.

Cheese, Onion and Olive Scones, The Delia Collection: Baking

Makes about 10

1 tbs olive oil

1 medium onion

6 oz (175g) self-raising flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Freshly milled black pepper

1 oz (25g) butter

1½ oz (40g) Parmesan, grated

1½ oz (40g) strong Cheddar, grated

1 large egg

Approx 2-3 tbs milk

6 black olives, pitted and chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200ᴼC, gas mark 8. Lightly grease a baking tray.

Fry the onion in the oil over a highish heat for about 5-6 minutes until it's a nice brown caramel colour and darkened at the edges. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Sift the flour, salt, mustard powder and cayenne into a large mixing bowl and add a good grinding of black pepper (the scones need to have a piquant bite). Rub in the butter, toss in the cooled onion, the olives and two thirds of the grated cheeses, forking them in evenly.

Beat the egg and pour this in, mixing first with a knife and finally with your hands, adding only enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, knead gently until smooth, then roll it out to about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick. Cut out the scones using a 2 inch (5 cm) plain cutter and place them on the greased baking tray. Lightly knead together and re-roll any trimmings. Brush the scones with milk, top them with the remaining grated cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack to cool.

Serve either warm or cold.


The return of Churchill’s favoured Imperial Pint

Daily Telegraph: Winston Churchill was a great advocate of the imperial pint-sized bottle of champagne declaring it as “enough for two at lunch and one at dinner”. Since Brexit there has been a move to scrap the EU ban on pints of sparkling wine. Before the UK joined the Common Market in 1973 60% of all champagne was sold in this country in imperial pint-sized bottles. The pint bottle of champagne was the perfect size for two people sharing, as it offered four glasses, while a standard bottle would be too much. Churchill remarked that “Clemmie thinks that a full bottle is too much for me, but I know that half a bottle is insufficient to tease my brains”, while the compromise of the pint “pleases everyone, even the producer”. The imperial pint (56.8cl) or modern pint (50cl) can be made by the “traditional method” of allowing secondary fermentation to take place in the bottle. However, the EU 37.5cl half bottle is often filled by transferring the sparkling wine from a larger bottle, so losing pressure in the process and offering an inferior bottle of wine.

Many enthusiasts for the pint-sized bottle are hoping that it could become legal again in 2022. In anticipation of its return, the Rathfinny Estate in Sussex have laid down 800 “modern” pint-sized bottles. They hope to release this batch of special Cuvée late next year if the ban is repealed in time.

Snails Boiled in Beer - the perfect cure for Jaundice

Daily Telegraph: A 17th century handbook listing an array of medicinal cures has recently sold at auction for £2,700. It is believed a kitchen worker in a wealthy British household wrote the 170-page leather bound manuscript, entitled “Cordial Waters and Surrups”. Included in the collection is “Snail Water” for curing jaundice, where a pack of snails are tipped into a bowl of beer and boiled over a fire, “shells and all”.


Found on the NAWB Facebook page

Roderick Carroll/Tony Harber


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Latest comments

09.11 | 20:18

Thank you for your kind offer of the wine rack. Unfortunately Rainham is rather a long way to travel, as many of us live in Tonbridge.
Best wishes,

09.11 | 19:34

Hello I was a wine maker many years ago and have a 90 bottle wine rack for FREE if anyone can collect from Rainham Kent

05.10 | 15:57

Just to let you know we are up and running again. Our next meeting is on Thursday 7 Oct, a commercial wine tasting. Pls let me know if you would like to come.

05.10 | 15:53

Thank you for visiting our website. We will ask our members at our meeting on Thursday and let you know if anyone is interested.

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