There are so many different kinds and varieties of gin on the market. Gin is having one of those times in the sun that many, if not all liquor styles yearn for. A rebirth so to speak, with the classical styles alternating the back seat with the front seat, over and over again.
Right now, it seems as if the botanical style is pushing the envelope of gin cocktails forward with gins such as Hendrick’s leading the way with rose and cucumber essences. Barr Hill distilled with care up in Vermont is derived partially from raw honey, lending an aromatic quality that brings the traditional London Dry drinker into another realm entirely.
For a classic Negroni, Gaz Regan consistently recommends Beefeater’s and rightfully so. The gin essence of juniper and bracing alcohol is not lost under a basket of herbs and spices. Here in the metropolitan region, some pretty fantastic gin is being distilled in Jersey City, NJ by the Corgi Distillery. They raise the bar by mixing fancy British Tea such as Earl Grey into their carefully hand-crafted cocktails.
So, how is it all done? Can I mix different kinds of gin into the classic gin cocktails? What will my guests say?
May I suggest raising the bar by offering a Gin and Tonic Sampler? Three-ounce total pour with tonic – 0.5 oz. gin, remainder ice and an ounce or two of the tonics of the day. Another idea: offering the traditional Gin and Tonic – usually made with a basic, or not so basic – London Dry Gin, and switching it up by using any of the multitude of tonic water on the market. This is a great way to move your guests into healthier concoctions of your own device.
In the winter, your guests are clamoring for flavors that wake up the palate. Fresh fruits are a thing of the past, except for hot-house varieties and it’s essential to make the tongue believe that the flavors that pass over it are unique and just different. May I suggest roasting your citrus fruits, letting them cool and then juicing this oven caramelized citrus into tasty juice – to ‘raise the bar’ over the classic, and then creating your own new classic, with this very different combination of flavors.
Another wake up the dreary palate of winter is with mint. But I don’t suggest buying fresh mint, you already have that in the kitchen, and most of it really sucks at this time of the year. What I’m suggesting is mixing a portion of Menta Branca, you know, that bottle over there on the bar that you don’t quite know what to do with? Yep. That’s the more refreshing cousin of Fernet Branca, made with mint. One of the most well-known ways of serving Menta Branca is with cola, but I really like it with Q-Drinks Tonic Water, and a pinch of sea salt. But what makes the Menta Branca really sing in this take on the G&T is the gin itself. I recommend floating a bar-spoon of Botanical Gin, like FEW Spirits Breakfast Gin-if you can find it, over the top of the mint-scented G&T. I call it the:
- .5 oz. Menta Branca
- 2 oz. FEW Spirits Breakfast Gin
- Q-Drinks Tonic Water
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Angostura Bitters
- Chill a Collins Glass with ice- pour out and add fresh ice
- To a Cocktail Mixing glass, filled ¾ with ice, add the Menta Branca and the Gin
- Stir to combine and chill
- Pour into fresh ice in your Collins glass
- Top with Q-Drinks Tonic water
- Add pinch of sea salt and dot with Angostura
Canada Is Just Over There Apiece
For this gin cocktail, start by roasting 4 grapefruits, split in half and sprinkled with Angostura and Demerara sugar for One Hour at 300 degrees, cool and juice
- 3 oz. Barr Hill Gin
- 3 oz. Roasted Grapefruit juice
- 3 Q-Club Soda
- .5 oz. Dark Simple Syrup if necessary to taste
- Lemon Zest
- To a Cocktail Mixing glass, fill ¾ with ice add the Barr Hill Gin and the roasted juice
- Stir to combine and chill. Adjust sweetness if necessary, but do not make it sweet!
- Pour into a Double Old-Fashioned glass with one large cube of ice
- Garnish with Lemon Zest
Corgi Distillery makes some righteous gin, right in Jersey City, NJ. British in style, they are elegant and frosty against the palate, especially in this little remarkable refresher with slippery and refreshing cucumber as the base liquid.
Live at Leeds
- 1 oz. fresh cucumber juice strained
- 3 oz. Corgi Distillery Pembroke Gin
- .5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- Spray of Lucid Absinthe in the coupe glass
- Tiny Splash of Q-Drinks Club Soda Water
- Chill a coupe glass with ice and water, pour out
- Spray the inside of the coupe with the Lucid Absinthe
- Add the Cucumber juice and the Luxardo
- Float the Corgi Pembroke Gin over the top
- Dot with a bit of the Q-Club and serve with a smile
I love Hendrick’s. Is it the cucumber or the rose? Here is a crushed ice frappe that brings your gin to a marvelous conclusion with a bit more rosewater- and lemongrass to drive the point home.
- 3 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
- .25 Rosewater
- .25 lemongrass concentrate (comes in a tube in the fridge)
- .25 freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Crushed Ice
- .25 raw honey simple syrup if needed
- Tonic water of your choice- but NEVER corn syrup based from a drink gun. That’s just lazy.
- Reconstitute the lemongrass concentrate with fresh lemon juice and a splash of water
- Add the mixture to a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
- Add the Hendrick’s Gin
- Add the Rosewater
- Cap and Shake hard
- Pour into two rocks glasses with a chunk of ice in each
- Add a splash of tonic of your choice to finish