Tag Archives: Duke of Cambridge

5 cracking Christmas cocktail ideas from Riverford

Hosting a Christmas party this year?  Looking for ideas to take along to someone else’s?  We’ve got five great Christmas cocktails, and a few extra tipples, that are guaranteed to get any party started!


Blood orange & prosecco cocktail – click here to see recipe

A celebratory drink  when blood oranges are in season (but you can substitute with normal oranges). For this we suggest using prosecco for the fizz, or if you’re feeling extravagant, champagne. A splash of Campari doesn’t hurt either!


Riverford mulled cider – click here to see recipe

The mulled cider was so popular at our London Christmas fair last year that we’ve had lots of requests for the recipe. This is from Ben Watson’s mate, Cider Andy. He’s adamant that to get the genuine article, you need to use his two-year-old Dartmoor Cider, but any dry, scrumpy type cider will do.

Apple, pear & ginger smoothie – click here to see recipe

A great drink for drivers or kids, this nutritional smoothie is sweet and warming. Dress it up with a fancy straw in a nice glass.

Bloody orange mary – click here to see recipe

Great with brunch, or as a hang over cure, this cocktail is a twist on the classic using vibrant blood oranges (or standard oranges).

Tangy orange appetiser – click here to see recipe

A take on the classic Savoy cocktail of orange juice, gin and dubonnet, said to be the Queen Mother’s favourite tipple.

blood orange cocktails

Don’t miss! Veggie cocktails at Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge:

In January our pub in Islington,  Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge will be serving veggie inspired cocktails and mocktails, for those who are recovering from all the celebrations.

The recipes are highly secret, but if you fancy yourself as a bit of a mixologist, then our cocktail master at the Duke has let you know what the main ingredient combinations are below.  If you’d rather let someone else do the hard work then head over to The Duke in the new year to taste how it’s done by the professionals!

Non-alcoholic blends:

Beetroot, apple and celery juice

Apple, carrot and ginger

Alcoholic blends:

Apple, beetroot and amaretto

Apple, mint, cucumber and damson vodka

guy’s newsletter: Riverford comes to London

After a few years of dithering, I finally got my pub in London. It was simple in the end; I married a publican. Geetie Singh opened the Duke of Cambridge in Islington in 1998. Raised in a commune and appalled by the food she served as a waitress, Geetie was determined to put her scrupulous ethics into practice; the Duke was, and remains, the only organic pub in the UK and the Queen even gave Geetie an MBE in recognition of her efforts.

Last week a charming and highly complimentary Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, members of the food glitterati and sundry friends and customers of both businesses came to the opening of Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge. The pub was a forest of cardoons, cabbages, radicchio and leeks; the food was fantastic but the vegetable cocktails stole the night. My favourite, ‘Farm Fury’, was a take on a Whisky Sour cum Old Fashioned where radicchio extract replaced the bitters; an inspirational elixir providing inebriation and purification at once.

Many restaurants and pubs make vague and mostly spurious claims about their sourcing; I was recently assured by a waiter that all their chickens were wild, produced within London and exclusively slow plucked. Wow; do they think diners are really so gullible? At the Duke everything is 100% organic or wild and until last week, the only imported fruit or vegetable on the menu was a lemon. Geetie and I argue about this still and we will compromise a little, but at least 90% of what we serve will still be UK grown. The beer is fantastic, and Benoit our genius in the kitchen is no madder than most chefs. In addition to exceptional food, wine and beer, there will be a produce market every Saturday (perhaps soon to be accompanied by brunch), supper clubs and cookery classes from the New Year. Find out more here.

Benoit has had cardoon fritters on the menu every day but he isn’t going to use them all before winter closes in. They are more tender and less bitter than I have managed to grow before, and make a fantastic simple gratin. I cannot bear to see them wasted, so the last 500 or so can be added to your box at £4 each, complete with my gratin recipe, on a first come-first-served-basis.

Guy Watson


italian lessons & homegrown pride


Yesterday, standing in a field of cardoons with an Italian organic farmer, I finally learned how to grow and cook a crop that has so far defeated me in the field and kitchen. He was as keen to talk as I was to listen; kindred spirits under an impending thunderstorm, frustrated by the lack of a common language. Enthusiastic gesticulation helped but as the raindrops got bigger we retreated to a fabulous lunch cooked by his family. Urbino, the local town of Renaissance fame, has frescos and Madonnas aplenty but for me Italy is this; the home of vegetables, grown locally and cooked simply but to perfection.

I am here with my partner, organic restaurateur Geetie Singh, as guests of the Girolomoni organic co-operative where I am to receive their annual ‘Farmers’ Friend’ award. Their co-op was started in the ‘70s by Gino Girolomoni to protect the livelihood of 35 local farmers who scratch a living growing durum wheat on the steep, stony fields to supply the ultramodern pasta factory they collectively own. I’m inspired by the heroic struggle of the recently departed Gino, father of my host Giovanni; he was a farmer, archaeologist, communist, devoted Catholic but above all a believer in humanity. The award is kept alive by Gino’s children who all work in the co-op or their ‘agritourismo’ (a farm-based event venue with its own restaurant). Previous winners include the environmental activist Vandana Shiva, and Ibrahim Abouleish who transformed Egyptian agriculture, so I’m very flattered.

I have never travelled with someone so discerning about food as Geetie but aside from that of the agritourismos, much of the food on this trip has been disappointing. Maybe we were just unlucky with those chip-filled pizzas and fancy restaurants being clever with global ingredients, but I fear a slide into that over-processed mediocrity exported so successfully by the USA. Then again, perhaps we feel this because standards are rising in the UK. The Riverford Field Kitchen and Geetie’s Duke of Cambridge pub in London draw inspiration from Italy, but we left the country feeling all the more proud of what we have created back home. And why not? Any Italian would.          

Guy Watson