Friday, June 15, 2012


I never much used to care for the classic gin & tonic, but I've gradually come around and now heartily embrace this easy and well-known highball.  It's an absolutely essential summer drink, though when I make mine I can hardly resist a little tweaking.

I'm sure legions of mixologists have used both the name and basic concept of this one before, both being far too obvious.  But I don't care.

1 1/2 oz London Dry gin (Beefeater here, any would do)
1/3 oz maraschino liqueur (I shouldn't really have to specify Luxardo anymore)
3-4 oz chilled tonic water, to taste (I use Q Tonic generally, but have been dying to try making my own)
1-2 dashes orange bitters, to taste

Build in a Collins glass over large ice cubes.

The G&T has become the GMT (Gin, Maraschino, Tonic).  The orange bitters here lend a little complexity and keep the drink from becoming too sweet.  I find that Fee Brother's new Gin-Barrel Aged Orange Bitters are perfect here, though the regular version works well too; you want something with a nice fresh flavor.  The maraschino is meant to be an accent, since this is still a highball at heart.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Doubly-Improved Cocktail

Here's a fine and very old-fashioned drink indeed, conceived while playing around with obscure liquors.

1 oz genever (Bols, preferably)
1 oz peach brandy (the classic distilled-from-peaches kind, in this case Dutch's)
1 dash maraschino liqueur (as always Luxardo)
1 dash absinthe
1 dash dry vermouth
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a lemon twist.

This reminds me of the Peach Pit, but more old-school (and a bit more potent).

Grownup Grapefruit Soda

This was just an attempt to take something more exciting to a bottle of wine to a gathering, and it wound up being a hit.  This is another soda siphon cocktail that can be pre-mixed and pre-carbonated, although I have included single-serving amounts as well in italics.

100 ml (1 oz) white tequila
100 ml (1 oz) lavender-infused vodka
100 ml (1 oz) apricot-mint syrup
50 ml (1/2 oz) Cointreau
50 ml (1/2 oz) Aperol
50 ml (1/2 oz) lime juice
500 ml (5 oz) water/soda water

Pour into a soda siphon (if using), carbonate and let refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  To serve, pour over ice in a tall wine glass.  Garnish with whatever citrus or berries are at hand.

The name of this one came to me as a description of its final taste, though I then had to explain that there wasn't really any grapefruit in it.  If bringing this to a party, I recommend dispensing it slowly into a clean 1-liter bottle (preferably with a stopper-top) which makes transportation easier and preempts the foam you get when serving directly from the siphon.

If you're in a pinch, you could substitute St. Germain for the lavender vodka and an apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter the best choice) for the syrup, although you will have a slightly stronger final product.