What I’m Drinking: Sleigh Bells Ring
Ho, ho, ho! This is what Santa drinks to stay warm as he’s delivering the gifts to all you (of age) boys and girls out there. At least the ones that have been good all year. And it’s also a drink that I created for a happening holiday hoe-down at the zesty Zinc recently. If you don’t know (well, why dontcha, first?), Zinc is an art, design, and interiors store in Edmonds, WA, perhaps the finest art, design, and interiors store anywhere ever. EVER! It has (as they say), an eclectically-curated selection that’s truly one-of-kind, and is the best stop if you need gifts. Then, you can also be like Santa, delivering great gifts while having one of these (as long as you aren’t delivering gifts in your car, of course. Don’t be silly.)
Speaking of gifts, I made this the first time with The London No. 1 gin, a small batch beaut made in the heart of London with 12 botanicals, a list including things like juniper (natch), and orange peel, to other more off-the-beaten-gin-path items like bergamot and cassia. All of which means a very individual gin, with layers of flavor. You may want that as a gift for yourself.
1-1/2 ounces The London No. 1 gin
1 ounce Strawberry Gold liqueur (See Note 1 below, and this is from Luscious Liqueurs)
1/2 ounce Red Hembarig (See Note 2 below)
2 dashes Fee Brothers cranberry bitters
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add everything but the reindeer. Shake well.
2. Strain through a fine strainer into a cocktail glass. Ho, ho, ho indeed!
Note 1: You should really pick up Luscious Liqueurs, but if you don’t have time today, here’s the recipe for Strawberry Gold, making about two pints. Gently wash 3-1/2 cups fresh strawberries and dry them on towels. When dry, remove the stems from the strawberries (I cut off the top of the strawberries, stems and all, due to the flesh around the stems being often not as sweet as the rest of the strawberry), and any blemished spots. Coarsely chop the strawberries and then add them (you should have 3-1/2 cups here) to a large glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Add 3 cups vodka to the container and stir well. Seal and place in a cool, dry spot, away from the sun. Let it sit, whirling the strawberries around the jar every 3-1/2 days. Add 1-3/4 cups simple syrup and 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stir and reseal. Return it to its spot. Let it sit for two more weeks, whirling the contents every other day. Filter the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Strain through double sheets of cheesecloth into a pitcher, jar, or other easy-pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new layers of cheesecloth into bottles or jars that have good lids (or one large one).
Note 2: Red Hembarig is a raspberry-vinegar syrup that made people very happy in the past. And it will now make you happy, too. To make it, start by briefly muddling two cups raspberries in a bowl, then add 1-1/4 cups apple cider vinegar and stir briefly. Let it sit overnight. Then add the raspberry-vinegar combo plus 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cups water to a saucepan. Heat to a simmer and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Take the mix off the heat and let it cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, place it in a refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Then strain the Red Hembarig through a fine strainer. Keep it in the fridge.