About the drinks tray

There are several aspects to your drinks tray, first of all there is the permanent collection, so the tray, the glasses, cocktail shakers etc. Then there are the semi permanent the condiments, alcohol and mixers and then the fleeting – ice, lemon and nuts.

I like having a couple of large jars of pretzels or almonds on the drinks tray. It is good to be party ready at all times. Junk shops are good places to find jars if you want something unusual. I realise that the pretzels are a bit of an Americanism but I think that the drinks tray is an excellent place to bring things from abroad. Spain have the best anchovy-stuffed olives, marcona almonds, Jerez sherry and pickled chilli peppers. Always check out other countries’ snacks when you are on holiday, they make very good souvenirs.

The ice is one of THE most important things in any drinks, soft or alcoholic, and I am now completely won over by our new giant ice cube trays. Handle them with care as they can break a delicate glass if dropped in with too much jollity. But the winning things about these new larger ice cubes is that they take longer to melt and you only need one which makes the ice tray storage in your freezer much more efficient.

For the fruit and veg, I like key limes – virtually impossible to find in England, Sicilian lemons – if you are anywhere near La Fromagerie it is worth popping in for a really good lemon and mini cucumbers for your gin and tonic.