May 2021

Regrettably there is still no date for the resumption of meetings. A couple of weeks ago I contacted the Angel Centre and was informed that additional planning would be required as part of the site is being used as a vaccination centre. Let’s hope I have some better news to report in the next newsletter.


Prince Albert, c1970’s
Painting by Beatrice Warner, c1891

The Prince Albert Inn on Vale Road is another pub that anyone living in Tonbridge in the 1980’s may remember.

In its heyday the Prince Albert adjoined the Angel sportsground and would have been a meeting hub for spectators at cricket and football matches. Tonbridge Angels’ offices were above the pub.The first record of the Prince Albert lists William Warner as the licensee in 1873. Along with many other Tonbridge pubs, the Prince Albert was initially a beer house. In 1949, Alexander Lovett, the incumbent landlord, applied for a full licence. This was duly granted, despite opposition from, not surprisingly, the nearby Angel Hotel. Charlie and Stella Jacobs were popular licensees during the pub’s latter years.

The Prince Albert holds another claim to fame, which may be of interest to our beer lovers and brewers. In April 1985 CAMRA held a meeting in the upstairs room to re-vamp the local branch that had fallen into a state of decline. A new committee was elected at this meeting and as a result of their hard work they managed to attract a more active local membership.

The Prince Albert closed in the late 1980’s. Sainsburys filling station now occupies the site.

Next month’s newsletter will feature Tonbridge’s roughest pub. Any guesses?

(Acknowledgements: Tonbridge Daily, Tonbridge – Photos, Histories and Stories, Dover Kent Archives, Paul Bailey: Paul's Beer & Travel Blog)


Elderflowers should be ready to pick fairly soon. Instead of elderflower wine, why not try making an elderflower liqueur.

Elderflower Liqueur, Making Wines, Liqueurs & Cordials by Beshlie Grimes

20 elderflower heads

Zest of one unwaxed lemon

750ml vodka

300g caster sugar

Put the elderflower heads into a sterilised preserving jar and pour the vodka over them. Add the lemon zest. Seal the jar with the lid and store in a cool, dark place for 3 months.

Strain the liquid through a piece of fine muslin. Pour the liquid back into the jar. Add the sugar. Return the jar to the storage place for 2 months, shaking it once a week to help dissolve the sugar.

Pour the liqueur into a sterilised bottle.


This month’s cocktail has been specially prepared by our resident mixologist.

Geoff’s Mojito (Serves 2)

1 oz sugar and hot water

4 fl oz white rum

1 lime, juice and pared rind

Handful of mint, bruised


Ice cubes

Dissolve the sugar in a small quantity of hot water to make a syrup, allow to cool.

Add the sugar syrup, rum, lime and mint to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well.

Strain into tumblers filled with ice cubes. 

Top up with 7up. 


A delicious orange cake with a dark chocolate casing.

Sicilian Orange and Chocolate Cake, Daily Telegraph

-     250g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes, plus a little extra for greasing the tin

-     250g caster sugar

-     Zest of 5 oranges, preferably Sicilian blood oranges

-     5 eggs

-     250g self-raising flour, sifted

For the glaze

-       200g good, dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

-       150ml whipping cream

-       20ml liquid glucose

Preheat the oven to 160ᴼC/Gas 3.

Grease a 24cm round cake tin, with a removable base, line with baking paper.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, or in a food processor, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one by one, then fold in the flour, a little at a time, very gently until it is all incorporated.

Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, until golden and springy on top.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Put it in the fridge once it has cooled down, so that the chocolate glaze will set really quickly.

Glaze: Place the broken chocolate pieces in a bowl. Pour the cream and glucose into a pan and bring to the boil, then take off the heat and whisk into the chocolate. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, until just warm to the touch (35ᴼC). Spread over the top and sides of the cake with a spatula.


French Wine Tasters seeking Vaccine Priority

Daily Telegraph: French wine tasters have requested vaccine priority due to the hazards of losing their olfactory senses caused by Covid-19. In a survey of over 2,600 members of the wine industry, the Union of France Oenologists, nearly 70% of those who were infected lost their sense of smell and over half lost their sense of taste. The survey also found that 40% of wine professionals whose senses were dulled during an infection did not recover their abilities fully. Winemakers say subtler tastes are harder to detect after retraining their noses post-Covid, finding the aromas of dark fruits and berries simple to detect, but mandarins and ripe-citrus fruits more elusive. Didier Fages, the union’s director, said in an open letter to the government: “Tasting is at the heart of the profession of the wine expert who makes the wine. At each stage from harvesting the grape to bottling, the appreciation of the quality of the wine and the resulting technical decisions go through tasting.”

The pandemic has resulted in France’s multi-billion pound wine industry being badly affected by restaurant closures and lockdowns. Exports to Britain and the US have been complicated by Brexit and tariffs imposed by the former Trump administration. Then in April of this year early spring frosts ruined up to 80% of vineyards across France. The government have promised €240 million to help companies stay afloat. Last month M Castex, the prime minister, pledged a billion-euro fund to help winemakers affected by the frosts.

Zoom Cocktails

Daily Telegraph: Alcohol promotions, such as how to make the perfect Zoom cocktail, have been blamed for baby boomer professionals drinking too much in lockdown. Public Health England statistics show 30.2% of professional managers drank above the recommended weekly limit of 14 units during the third lockdown. Katherine Severi, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said recipes for “at-home cocktails” were shared widely on social media. “We have seen increased promotions linked to lockdown conditions, for example social media marketing campaigns around ‘wine o’clock’ as soon as you switch off your computer.” (Bearing this in mind, readers please ignore my Cocktail of the Month!)

Guinness Delivers

Daily Telegraph: Guinness delivered 49 tankers of stout and sent quality control experts to 50,000 venues across Britain to ensure drinkers were poured the perfect pint when beer gardens re-opened on 29 March. The company says it has given £30 million of funding to 25,000 pubs and bars across the UK to support them over the past year.


During the past year many crazy rules and regulations have come and gone. Tom found this poem in the Daily Mail, which was no doubt inspired at the time when debates were held to ascertain whether a Scotch egg qualified as a substantial pub meal:

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a bottle of wine,

But they also had bread –

“That’s a meal”, the cops said,

And gave them a £100 fine.

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Latest comments

31.03 | 15:44

Hello, We have some demijohns and fermenting buckets, they are free of charge.If anyone would be interested please contact me.
Thank you

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

09.09 | 18:31

Looks yummy! You list garlic in the ingredients list, but I don’t see where you add it to the recipe. I would guess that you add it to the partially sautéed oni

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