I was recently lucky enough to be asked by the fine folks at the Poetry Foundation to whip up a fancy-pants cocktail to celebrate 100 years of Poetry magazine. The cocktail was to be called the Hippocrene after the mythological fountain created by Pegasus. After much experimentation and some very helpful taste-testers, I ended up with:
1 1/4 ounces gin
3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (domaine de canton)
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon mint tea (brewed at double strength) and chilled
2 ounces dry, sparkling wine
Fresh basil, for garnish
Dash or two grapefruit bitters
Single glass preparation:
Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, basil, and bitters (if using) in a mixing glass over ice. Stir and strain into a glass and top with remaining ingredients.
Combine all ingredients (in greater quantities) except sparkling wine, basil and bitters in an adequately sized serving bowl, along with some large blocks of ice. It’s best to let this mixture chill and dilute a little while before adding everything else, but if time is short, it could be refrigerated beforehand and water (sparkling or still) can be added along with the rest of the ingredients at service time. The basil should still be added directly to the glass, as it is the aroma and not necessarily the flavor that you’re after. It would also be nice to garnish the mixing bowl with some citrus slices, for color and a generally vigorous appearance.
The Pegu Club was a gentelman’s club for British officers in Burma, which was set up in the late 1800’s. The signature drink of the club is the now classic Pegu Club Cocktail, which for one reason or another I had never made. But with the weather heating up, it seemed like a good time to give it a go. If you’re a gin fan, I’d suggest you try it as well.
Pegu Club Cocktail
2 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Orange Curaçao
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash Angostura
1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.
We’ve got some new fun for you friends of our, inspired by the crafternoon movement. Crafting is all about havin’ a good ol’ time, if you ask the Westervins, so why not make a day of it (probably not a weekday) with some fresh tunes and even fresher attitudes (by getting liquored up)! We wanna share some of our favorite craft projects and hobbies with you, and to make it even more enjoyable, we’ve paired each craft with a special cocktail concoction and some musical suggestions. So come along. Take a ride with us to a DIY paradise. But we’ll need to fill up the tank first!
Excuse me, would you like to add some sophistication to that cocktail? Well, why not try some cucumber ice cubes?
Cucumber ice. Simple, sophisticated, refreshing.
If you’re looking for ways to add a little class to your drinks, why not freeze up some cucumber ice cubes? All you need to do is peel a cucumber, chop it up a bit and throw it in a blender along with a liter or so of water. Purée, and freeze in an ice cube tray. Then you’ll be ready to enjoy the perfect gin and tonic. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you might try my variation on the Porch Swing Coctail.
2oz Tanqueray No. 10
1.5oz Pimm’s No. 1
4oz Lemonade (1 part fresh lemon juice, 3/4 part ginger simple syrup, 2 parts water)
Pour all ingredients into a large Collins glass over cucumber ice cubes and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda. Garnish with cumber and lemon slices.
Here’s a simple variation on the Port Light cocktail that I came up with to satisfy Sarah’s bourbon-hating demands. It’s also a bit easier to put together since you don’t need to blend anything. I have a feeling this is going to be a great cocktail to combat the summer heat. Here I’ve used Death’s Door Gin from Madison, Wisconsin which strays a bit from the typical London Dry style, but any traditional gin (Tanqueray, Bombay, etc.) should work well.
Continuing on the sweet side of things, I put together a new cocktail this weekend. I wanted something to celebrate spring and that utilized only ingredients we had on hand. So, without further ado, I invite you to snap into a Lem-Gin:
Since I was the only one making cocktails at our party the other night, service was slow. Luckily we had a really nice punch to keep people sippin’.
In this video, Jim Ryan, the “Brand Ambassador” for Hendricks Gin, walks you through how to make Over-Under Winter Punch. Now you’ll have to get past Jim’s post-ironic retro mustache, but if you can, the result will be a fantastically pleasant punch. I didn’t have a liter of Hendricks on hand, so I blended some Tanqueray and Dry Fly. Worked great.
Results from last weekends cocktail trials are in and surprisingly, one of the most popular cocktails was one I created myself: the Pink Slip:
2oz Tanqueray (works well with white Rum, too)
3 basil leaves
2 tsp raspberry syrup
3/4 oz lime juice
a dash or two of grenadine
Add raspberry syrup, lime juice, and basil to a fizz glass. Muddle. Fill glass 3/4 full with cracked ice. Top with ginger beer. Then top the whole thing off with a little bit of grenadine for a bit of a color boost!
A note on ingredients: You’ll benefit by making some of these ingredients yourself:
Raspberry syrup is really easy. Start with a rich simple syrup. Simmer a 2:1 mixture of sugar to water in a small pan until it is clear and not cloudy. Let it cool and poor over a bunch of raspberries (frozen will work fine). Let the syrup and raspberries sit out overnight before straining out the berries. You should be left with a sweet red berry syrup.