Category Archives: Gin

Rhapsody in Blue

Ginger, ginger, ginger! How many things can you drink with ginger?  I don’t know for sure, but this month’s Mixology Monday attempted to find that answer.   Might have well asked how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.  You never quite figure it out, because there are just too.many.options!

Rhapsody in Blue

2 oz   gin
1/2 oz   strong ginger syrup
1/2 oz    simple syrup (1:1)
3/4 oz    fresh lemon juice
2 dashes rose water
8-10 fresh blueberries

Muddle berries in ginger and simple syrups.  Add gin, lemon juice and rose water with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Courtesy of MxMo and Blueprint Cocktail.

* For ginger syrup, use a strong ginger syrup.  For mine, I used 1/2 cup ginger juice, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons peppercorns.   (If it was all ginger juice, no water, I’d ditch the peppercorns.)  The ginger juice was the product of grating an entire ginger root with a microplane and squeezing the pulp through a cheesecloth.  Its supposedly easier to use a heavy-duty juicer, but lacking a juicer, I substituted elbow grease.   I combined the sugar, water, ginger juice, and peppercorns over low heat to simmer for 10 minutes, took it off heat to steep for two hours, and then strained out the peppercorns.    With 100% ginger juice, you could just combine with sugar, no steeping needed.


The Box

My fridge is starting to get consumed by homemade syrups – vanilla syrup, regular lavender syrup, honey-lavender syrup, ginger syrup, extra-strength ginger syrup, cinnamon syrup… There is something about sugar, heat and some flavorization that I can’t stay away from.  It also leads to ever crazier ideas.  Like tarragon-bergamot syrup.  Or rosemary-lemon syrup.  Or maple-bacon syrup.  (OK, that last one sounds kind of gross.)

This drink was the winning cocktail for Thursday Drink Night a few weeks ago when the “theme” was Martin Miller’s gin.  Kind of tiki-esque, without the full tropical slam.  A fine summery drink that’s worth repeating.  Plus, it has a mess of ingredients, which is always fun.

The Box

1 1/2 oz Martin Miller’s gin*
1 oz Appleton Extra rum
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
6 drops absinthe
ginger beer, to top

Shake all but ginger beer, strain into ice filled collins glass and top with ginger beer.

* Martin Miller’s is a fairly “balanced” gin – with no particular botanical hogging center stage.  So when subbing the gin, I’d choose something medium-bodied.

Courtesy of Rick at Kaiser Penguin.

Ginger Rogers

No story behind this one, besides straight ahead deliciousness.  This is a straight up lift off of a cocktail from the Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco.  (Trivia for Top Chef dorks, this is the restaurant Jamie from Season 5 cooked at.  And sorry guys, she’s a lady who likes ladies. Damn.)  But I’ve seen this drink on enough menus of other bars around town and across the coasts that my shame level barely registers above Impulse Speed.  Even the Chronicle had the recipe at one point!

1 1/2 oz. gin
8-12 mint leaves
1/2 oz. ginger syrup(*)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
ginger ale

Combine the mint leaves and ginger syrup in a tall glass and muddle mint until you smell the aroma.  Add lime juice and gin.  Fill glass with ice and top with ginger ale.  Stir from bottom to top.

For this I used a ginger beer, as I like my ginger drinks with kick.  I prefer Bundaberg, an Australian ginger beer that has the right balance between sweet and heat.

* Ginger Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2-inch piece ginger, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp. black peppercorns

Dissolve sugar & water.  Simmer for ten minutes with ginger and peppercorns.  Remove from heat and steep for 2-3 hours.  Strain and bottle.

Ginger Rogers

Sitting Limbo

This one is all Catherine’s fault.  Catherine is a lawschool chum from Section MNOP.  Yes – as an entering lawschool n00b (AKA an 1L), you are assigned a section of about 80-90 of your fellow 1Ls, with whom you will spend the entire first year attending all the same classes together.  Kind of like an English boarding school except without the ritual beatings, sweaty buggery, debating societies, and school uniforms.   Hmmm…come to think of it…ritual beatings? Check.   Sweaty buggery? Check.  Debating societies? Check.  School uniforms? Check.    I guess it was like an English boarding school but with better dentistry.

Like me, Catherine was also a bit of a stranger in a strange land – that is, a law student who somewhere knew they weren’t going to be lawyer after it was all over.  (Although Catherine figured that one out somewhere after first semester; it took me until a year after graduation.)  Also, like me, Catherine is a functioning alcoholic with an indie-nerd’s taste in mixology.  She recently nursed her problem at The Violet Hour, which looks like a booze geek’s paradise in Wicker Park.  She asked for my suggestions based on the menu on their website.   And from her report back, her tipples were tasty.  So trusting her taste, (in part because she went to Michigan Law, yet knows who Built to Spill, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Andrew Bird are.), this is my attempt to create one of her drinks from the list of ingredients on the menu combined with her report that it was “good and not too sweet”.

Sitting Limbo

2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. Campari
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 teaspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with grapefruit twist.

The available recipe for this included Luxardo Bitter, an Italian bitter orange apertif. I have not tried it, but based on a little research, it sounds like the Luxardo Bitter is similar to Campari, but a little bit less bitter and with more cherry tones.  I substituted Campari and dialed it back.  I think if you use the Luxardo, going up to 3/4 oz. would be worth a try.  In addition, I threw in the grapefruit bitters on a lark.  I imagine some bitter orange bitters and an orange peel would be nice too.

I’ll leave it to Catherine to make this at home and tell me if I am close to the original or not.

Atty Cocktail

I needed something ginny.   As well as something that involved the bottle of creme de violette I bought that was NOT an Aviation.  Love me my Aviations, but you can only drink so many.  Plus, I ran out of home-made brandied cherries for garnish. (God, how dork is that?)  This one was a bit…weird.  Next time, I think I will use a little more gin, and maybe a little less absinthe.   I used St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte, which is quite tasty, but very concentrated flavor-wise.   The absinthe wound up playing Muhammad Ali and the violette wound up as “some randon white dude”.   (And not “some random white dude” who would inspire Sylvester Stallone.)  The vermouth is this particular title match was played by Dolin.   The gin by Hendricks.

Atty Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 dry vermouth
1 teaspoon absinthe
1 teaspoon crème de violette

Stir with ice until super cold.  Strain into cocktail glass.   Twist lemon and add to glass.

Courtesy of Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book.

Atty Cocktail