Gin Tonique

Gin ToniqueContinuing to be inspired by the Mezcal Tonique, I have been playing around more with tonic syrup as an ingredient in a non-bubbly cocktail. This ended up being something of a variant on the Martinez and nicely straddled the line between rich and refreshing. As in a Martinez, adding some orange bitters could be helpful.

2.0 oz gin (New Amsterdam)
0.5 oz Lillet
0.5 oz Luxardo
0.5 oz tonic syrup (Tomr's)
Stir with ice and strain

The major impression is of ripe stone fruit with lots of apricot and roasty/oxidized flavors. The noise is lighter; floral and grape/lychee. This starts off sweet, and I was worried it might get cloying, but then the bitterness kicked in and balanced it out. So, not this cocktail isn’t balanced all at once, but becomes so over the course of the sip. The gin, despite its volume, is really a background player here, but addsneeded clarity. I previously made a version with just 1.5 oz gin, but I like this version bettter, as it’s more open.

Guest Post: Greedy

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This was inspired by the lovely gift, from Matt, of a book devoted to crazy Negroni variants. I wanted a Negroni. But I also wanted something fruity and complex. So I got greedy and tried to do too many things at once. But the Negroni forgives. The Negroni says, “Listen child, it’s okay to be ambitious, to express nuanced opinions on hot topics, to describe dreams of the future that don’t make any sense yet. But when you’ve gone overboard, you gotta learn how to fix it.”

1.25 oz gin
1.25 oz Campari
0.75 oz sweet vermouth
0.25 oz orange liqueur (Cointreau)
0.25 oz blackberry liqueur
0.5     lime (juice it, then drop in as garnish)
4 drops Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters (Bitter Truth)

Shake with ice
Adjust the proportions til you don't feel the imbalance of greed
Stir with more ice

This drink started off with only 1 ounce each of gin & Campari. That might have worked with better ingredients (especially the blackberry and the sweet vermouth), but I found the result too medicinal. So, I’d say: go nuts with adding wacky tasty things—get all greedy—and then fix it with small portions of 1:1 gin and Campari (or use the standard 1:1:1 ratio if you like your sweet vermouth).

I like the bitterness that develops from dropping in the used half-lime rind, as if it’s a Moscow mule. Meanwhile, the colors remind me of Raspberry Lime Rickeys on Boston’s hot summer days. Though, I suspect the blackberry flavor is complicit in that memory as well.

Fernet’s Last Theorem

Fernet's Last Theorem, flanked by previous attempts at theorems

My friend Ash came up with a bad math pun involving Fernet and Fermat. A drink had to be made and a Last Word variant seemed like a good choice. Finally after months of talking about the bad idea over drinks, we got down to actually mixing up some possibilities. We considered replacing the gin with bourbon and even cachaça, replacing the lime with lemon, and even excluding the Chartreuse altogether. On our 5th try, we settled on something close to the original, but worthy of the name.

0.75 oz  Fernet (Branca)
0.75 oz  gin (New Amsterdam)
0.75 oz  Maraschino
0.75 oz  lime Juice
0.375 oz Green Chartreuse

One thing that became clear in testing is that the Chartreuse was necessary to tame the bite of the Fernet a bit and get it to play well with the rest of the drink. The lime juice also helped settle it, the bite from the lemon juice and the bite from the Fernet were too much and fought one another—in your mouth. The lime and Chartreuse combo work with the Fernet and not against it. The New Amsterdam is nicely inoffensive and mixes well, but the bourbon and cachaça masked the Fernet.

The drink starts off bright and then mellows with some sweetness and then ends with a lime/mint aftertaste that is not overpowering. It’s refreshing and sour, but surprisingly balanced. Also, it doesn’t come off at all medicinal (save a bit in the aftertaste), which is surprising given the amount of herbal here. A Last Word variant I’ll definitely make again!

Guest Post: Ginger Bear

Simple but effective.

1 oz gin (New Amsterdam)
0.5 oz blackberry liqueur
0.25 oz ginger syrup
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice. 
Garnish: drop in a sliver of candied ginger.

This drink had a really excellent bite, between the ginger and the spikier aspects of the gin. The earthy tones of those two ingredients supported each other really well. Warning: the result is unapologetically carnation pink.

I am so proud of past-me for making ginger syrup / candied ginger. It’s one of the most time-consuming syrups to make, but it’s so good! It’s pretty different from storebought; I find I can capture the bite and the earthiness better.

If it weren’t a weeknight, I’d try a quick infusion of cracked black pepper into the gin (~20min for 1 oz; ~45min for 1 cup). I think that would play off the gin[ger] bite and add considerable nuance. I’ve blended blackberry and black pepper before with great success—the crackberry truffles come to mind—so I have high hopes here.

Gin & Tonic

Gin & Tonic

A warm weather classic and one of the safest things to order a wedding reception (experts* agree that the Jack and Coke is perhaps the most durable choice at the wedding, hotel, or airplane). That said, it’s kind of annoying to keep tonic water at home unless you’re having a party or drinking it every day. You could keep small bottles of tonic on hand, but unless they’re precisely the amount you want, there’s still like 2 oz of left over tonic water—that’s the sort of thing that makes me twitchier than it really useful.

Thus, it was revolutionary for me when I discovered tonic syrup. Tonic is just a soda and, like all soda, is easiest to store and tastiest to drink when the syrup and the soda water is kept separately and combined à la minute. Sure the contents of a seltzer bottle don’t always line up with my cocktail needs, but I’m much happier to just drink the rest by itself or use it for some other warm-weather cocktail. I’ve tried both Tomr’s and Jack Rudy and would happily recommend both.

2 oz gin (New Amsterdam)
1 oz tonic syrup (Jack Rudy)
4 oz seltzer

Stir gin, syrup, and ice in a collins glass
Add seltzer to cover and stir gently to combine
Garnish with a lime wheel (or wedge)

* my drinking companions last time this subject came up

Flora’s Own

I first ran across this drink on the fabulous Cocktail Virgin Slut blog. The house where I was mixing only had vermouth which wasn’t interesting enough to be half the drink, so I shifted the recipe around to even proportions:

1 oz American Honey
1 oz gin (Beefeater)
1 oz dry vermouth (Gallo)

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a Lemon Twist

Flora's Own Faceoff

Tonight, I compared two different pairs of gins and honey whiskeys: Bols Genever and American Honey against New Amsterdam and Drambuie. In the first, the nose was dominated by the Bols, and not really in a good way. The sweetness of the honey tempered it some, but the result was only OK. I don’t think this particular drink should have the gin as the star. The New Amsterdam + Drambuie was the better of the two. The Drambuie is much more assertive than the American Honey, so if mixing with that, I’d recommend the original ratio:

0.75 oz Drambuie
0.75 oz London dry gin
1.5 oz dry vermouth (Dolin Blanc)

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a Lemon Twist

For the future, I’d suggest 1:1:1 if using a non-spicy honey whiskey like the American Honey to let the spirits through, but 1:1:2 if using Drambuie to keep balance with the spice. As for gin, something in between these two, like an actual London Dry is probably the best call.