Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gin & Tonic, Extra Short

I've had an odd idea rattling around my head lately. I thought it might be a fun challenge to try replicating the flavor of cocktails in a non-alcoholic syrup form. Hence, this afternoon I cooked up a tonic syrup with gin botanicals, aiming to mimic the flavors of a classic gin & tonic. This wound up quite convincing; the recipe's not perfect yet, but I'll reproduce it below.

Of course, beyond the obvious application of a G&T without any actual gin involved, this also offered the possibility of integrating those same flavors into different drinks. My first foray was simply inverting the ratios of gin and tonic, creating an old-fashioned formula that tasted like a compact version of the classic highball.

2 oz gin (Citadelle Reserve, to enhance the lovely golden color, but any London Dry would do fine)
1/3 oz gin & tonic syrup*
3 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters (I would really have liked a quality lemon bitters here, but didn't have one)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass; top with a scant dash of soda, just for a little fizz. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Take the peel of 4-5 large lemons and muddle in a large bowl with 2 cups of sugar. Set aside and crush 1/2 cup of juniper berries, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, and 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds. Add these to a saucepan along with 1/4 cup of cinchona bark and 1 tablespoon of black tea leaves and bring the whole thing to a boil, then simmer until the volume reduces to about 2 cups. Add the lemon-sugar mixture, stir until the sugar dissolves, and pour through a fine strainer. Bottle in an airtight container and refrigerate. Next time, I'm planning to add a bit of fresh thyme and possibly a touch of lavender; maybe green tea instead of black, too.

Hey look, new glassware! My wife directed us to a thrift shop way out in a distant suburb searching for a coffee table, where I promptly got distracted by a surprising array of vintage glassware. A couple hours later, we arrived home with the coffee table plus enough new coupes to cover almost the entire thing. (Shown below. Not shone: the punch set, also vintage style. Yes, I bought a second punch set.) Yay! Expect these decorative varieties to start popping up in pictures here soon.

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