September 16, 2016
It’s a swell age for tonics. Heck, we have at least two good ones made here in Seattle (Bradley’s and & Tonic), both being tonic syrups you then add (usually) soda too, along with your spirits and such. There are also a number of worthy bubbly pre-bottled tonics – though be sure to give these non-pre-bubbled tonics a try, as they bring loads of flavor. With all the tonics, I’ve been drinking a lot of gin and tonics, as you might expect, and other things, like Sherry & Tonic. Recently, thanks to all-star pals Jon and Nicole, I tried another new tonic, Sir Teddy’s, from Wilks & Wilson out of Indianapolis (which, funny enough, is where Jon and Nicole are from), a company that calls themselves “purveyors of fine elixirs.”
In this case, at least, the product completely lives up to the billing. But I didn’t know this at first, cause you can’t believe everything you read, so I had to, you know, try it! I was going to go just straight G&T, but in the interest of being interesting, I decided why not try some other items and this tonic? And it was a good decision! The day was sunny, the mood was experimental, the time was in the aperitivo hours, and so I went with classic Italian aperitif Aperol (which I’m guessing everyone has had, but if not, it’s like Campari’s younger sister, meaning a hint bitter, but more citrus and a smidge sweet), and blanc vermouth. In this case, La Quintinye Vermouth Royal blanc, which is a light, herbal, scrumptious vermouth ideal for sunny days.
And then Sir Teddy’s of course, which has a swell taste – the quinine you’d expect, plus lime, spices, and a nice bitter current from gentian – and really a swell story. Turns out (as this legend goes – by the way, kudos to Wilks & Wilson for the stories, really good stuff) Sir Teddy after having a life at sea was known as the “Gentleman of the Night” as he doled out his famous tonic on the street of NYC. But go read the whole Sir Teddy story as you’re sipping one of the below. Both came out wonderfully. Each had its own personality, but I can’t say which I liked better. Luckily, you can make each and then make up your own mind. I’m just going to have to do more testing.
Aperol/Blanc Vermouth & Sir Teddy’s Tonic
3/4 ounce Sir Teddy’s tonic
1-1/2 ounce Aperol or La Quintinye Vermouth Royal blanc
3 ounces club soda
1. Add the Sir Teddy’s and your Aperol or vermouth to a brandy snifter (or highball, as the case may be). Stir briefly.
2. Add a goodly amount of ice to the glass. Top with the club soda. Stir well, but carefully.
3. Garnish with the twist. Drink. Then make whichever you didn’t make the first time.
April 22, 2016
Don’t, I tell you, don’t take the name of this drink overly seriously – if you’re not finished by midnight, it’s not like you’ll turn into a gin-y pumpkin, or a lovely stepsister, or a candle nearly burnt out. But hey, sometimes the midnight oil doesn’t need to be completely burned out, right? And really, just start earlier!
I started here with the new (if you haven’t seen my drink An Elusive Memory, and my write up on Boodles gin proper, don’t miss it. Don’t, I tell you) Boodles Mulberry Gin, which I’ve heard is the first mulberry gin to reach the shores of the U-S-A. More of a standard in Britain, mulberry gin (and of course sloe gin liqueur, a sort-of relative) is a UK standby, a little more light on its feet usually than you’d believe with some of the syrupy fruit liqueurs you may have grown up imbibing before you knew better.
Here, the Boodles Mulberry is quite delicious, made with natural mulberries and other natural things, and the end result is more dry-ish than expected, but blooming with flavor, berries, currents, and the gin’s rich botanicals. It’s nice and complex, and worth sipping over an ice cube or two all by itself. But it makes a dandy cocktail ingredient, too. You don’t need too many dancing partners (or other ingredients). No need to weigh things down if you want to make it to midnight – or beyond.
Finished By Midnight
1-1/2 ounces Boodles Mulberry gin
1 ounce La Quintinye Vermouth Royal blanc
1/2 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao
Wide lemon twist, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the Mulberry gin, blanc vermouth, Pierre, and set the clock back an hour (haha, kidding). Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with twist – wide if you can.
February 26, 2016
I tend to make up, uncover from old books, try out, play around with, guess at, and just generally have a fair amount of cocktails. And usually when making them up, or trying to modify up an older recipe found in a deliciously dusty tome, I have good luck from the get-go. Which of course makes me cocky, and probably annoying to friends and family and dogs. However, fairly regularly I get reminded that I make lots of mistakes, too, and sometimes just can’t find that right proportional mix no matter what. Recently, I went through an evening like this, where I was (gasp!) throwing drink and drink out cause they stunk and I stunk. Finally, I just went to what I knew would come together nicely, and quit the wacky experimenting, and that’s gin and Aperol. Easy, friendly, and with a little Blanc vermouth and Scrappy’s orange, the savior of my night and ego. Of course, it helped that the gin was from local stars the Seattle Distilling Company, who make a darn fine gin (and whiskey, coffee liqueur, and vodka). Sometimes, when the night is stormy (even metaphorically so), it’s good to have friends around.
A Fool’s Paradise
1-1/2 ounces Seattle Distilling Company gin
1 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce La Quintinye Vermouth Royal blanc
1 dash Scrappy’s orange bitters
1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add it all. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Be humble.