The Summer Forecast: Gin Cocktails Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments
While it’s not out of the question to appreciate the occasional glass of bourbon or Cabernet, summer in the South is also a great time and place to enjoy the lighter things in life, including the wonderful world of gin.
Walk into any average liquor store and one will no doubt be overwhelmed with choices of flavored vodka — from wedding cake to the more esoteric smoked salmon or honeysuckle. Many of these are interesting on their own, however, it is important to remember that before they existed, there was gin. Gin makers would travel the world in search of perfect, exotic botanicals to infuse into ethanol to make it complex and interesting. Still to this day, great pride is taken by both leaders in the industry, and smaller artisan distillers to offer unique blends of spices, some with heavy juniper notes, and others more rounded with other ingredients such as bitter orange peel, angelica root, or even saffron.
Some more primitive styles of gin even taste more like malty moonshine than the bottle of Tanqueray or Beefeater one can expect to see on every corner bar shelf.
Early Summer Sipping:
As the mornings and evenings cling to their early summer brisk, I like to enjoy sippable classic gin cocktails, such as the Aviation, the Last Word, or The Corpse Reviver No. 2. These cocktails are perfectly styled to offer just the right amount of citrus with a hint of sweet to complement the early summer brunch, or the elegant evening on a patio with friends or family. They are mildly warming, but will not cause the drinker to feel overheated, as long as they are sipped gently. Be warned, however, that these drinks are best consumed sparingly. In the case of the Corpse Reviver No. 2, the Savoy Cocktail Book notes that “[f]our of these in taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
The Corpse Reviver No. 2
.75 oz London Dry Gin
.75 oz Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano*)
.75 oz Cointreau
1/2 Lemon Squeezed (Original Calls for .75 oz Lemon Juice)
3-4 drops Absinthe
Shake all ingredients until cold, Strain into your favorite stemmed cocktail coupe. No garnish.
*Take note: Lillet Blanc no longer contains quinine, which is why many bartenders opt to substitute Cocchi Americano.
Mid Summer Muddle:
Don’t be afraid to break out the muddler in the middle of the summer. As the Fourth of July heat builds upon us and we have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables coming out of the earth, consider squishing up some cucumber in a shaker with some Hendricks Gin. Strain it out into a martini glass, or toss it into a hi-ball glass and top with a little soda. Another suggestion would be to combine some of that mint ravaging your flowerbed with some freshly picked watermelon, and perhaps a little Lillet Blanc and some classic Tanqueray. Top it with lemonade for a delicious summer refresher.
Dog Days Gone Delicate
Only one drink comes to mind as the most brutal heat of the summer wallows upon us — the classic Gin and Tonic. Just a few years ago, this was a cocktail lumped into a category with Jack and Cokes and Crown and Sprites and the more simple standards. Recently with the advent of higher quality mixers, this cocktail has been elevated to the revered status it deserves. I’ll be enjoying mine with Tanqueray Malacca or Hayman’s Old Tom Gin this summer, and my tonic of choice will be Fever Tree’s Light Indian Tonic water. My garnish will be a slice of orange as opposed to the traditional lime, however. Other great tonic options to try include Fever Tree Tonic Water, Fentimen’s Tonic Water, or Tomr’s Handcrafted Tonic Syrup, which can be added to soda water to adjust sweetness based on one’s preference.
Hallelujah: Summer’s Over.
The nights are cooling off. The brutality of summer heat has begun to relax its grip. It may even be about time to start shopping for a new light jacket, and the kids are a couple of weeks back into school. It’s time for a drink. Try a classic Gin Martini made with Anchor Distilling Company’s Junipero Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, and a twist of lemon.
As the heat of the daytime turns slightly more brisk, it may even be time to get more adventurous. Try a neat shot of Genever, a traditionally malty, grainy Dutch style of gin that precludes the design of the London dry style we’ve come to think about when we hear the word “gin.” My two favorite brands currently are Bols Genever, and Anchor Distilling’s “Genevieve.” These both taste best when accompanied with a cold beer.
David Burnette, currently working as a mixologist at South on Main in Little Rock, Ark., oddly enough grew up in a very dry county in north Arkansas. He discovered his passion for cocktail creation in 2003, and has since had recipes published in several notable publications.
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