Three Hot Weather Gin and Tonics Made With Real Cane Sugar

Gin and Tonic

With the last couple of heat waves, I’ve resigned myself to drinking lighter and more savory drinks for the foreseeable future. With that said, I’ve done a few mixology sessions in private homes recently and have found that the classic Gin and Tonic has made a comeback, and in a big way!

You see that Gin is a perennial favorite when the temperature ekes its way past ninety degrees. The refreshing element of the botanicals stimulate the taste buds and the crisp aromatics of the tonic water bring these liquids to a much higher level. Of course, your hot weather gin and tonic will be ruined if you are still using the old standby- the drink gun to supply the tonic water. Unless you’re pouring craft-style soda from your drink gun you’d better take your Gin and Tonic off your cocktail menu. Why?

Because your tonic water is not something that I want to praise. Far from. If it’s made from high fructose corn syrup you aren’t helping with the good health of your guests.  It’s not great stuff, packed with artificial ingredients and those I couldn’t even spell if I wanted to.

So, what is a bar or restaurant to do?  Stop serving Gin and Tonics altogether? 

NO, you should make this Summer relaxer, the G&T cocktail- the shining star of your bar program.  The one drink that screams Summer in a Glass.  Try these three fabulous Gins available in the New York, NJ and CT areas with these three different CANE SUGAR Tonic waters. One of which is a tonic syrup!

 May I suggest starting with Barr Hill Gin from ever-verdant Vermont?  This gin is unlike any other on the market because it is made with raw honey and locally grown grain. There is a subtle sweetness in Barr Hill that doesn’t go unnoticed against the bitter herbs inherent in the tonic water.

In this case, I’m leading with one of my perennial tonic water favorites. The one from Q-Drinks.  They make a delicious tonic water with all natural ingredients- including the most important one, the cane sugar! 

Q-Tonic is crisp, aromatic and highly refreshing.  There are notes of Peruvian quinine, agave syrup and a touch of citrus making for a flavor packed mouthful of dry and bitter. Each element cuts the inherent sweetness of the raw honey gin and truly raises the bar.

A Vermont Styled- Gin and Tonic

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Barr Hill Gin
  • 6 oz. Q-Tonic Water
  • Fresh ice (not smelling like garlic or anything like old eggs)

Prep:

  1. Add the fresh ice to a Collins glass
  2. Top with the Q-Tonic water
  3. POUR OVER the Barr Hill Gin- yes. over the tonic water
  4. Squeeze a quarter of fresh lime juice over the top
  5. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lime

 


The next gin that I chose is more London Dry style in demeanor.  It starts dry and finishes dry. (just like a stiff upper lip) It’s named Martin Miller’s Gin and it is made with water from Iceland, perhaps the purest and softest water in the world.  I’m a huge fan of their Pot Still gin for the rich depth of flavor.  I believe that it is the classic combination of crisp to aromatic to bodacious.  My choice of tonic water for Martin Miller’s namesake gin would be the Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water.  This very European styled fizzy liquid speaks a different language than the one that most off the shelf tonic waters can never do.  It is not cloying, nor overly rich.  Fever Tree is dry on the finish and it stands up to the potent, pot-still gin with alacrity. 

Continental Gin and Tonic

Ingredients:

Prep:

  1. Add the ice to a Collins glass
  2. Add the Martin Miller’s Gin
  3. Top with the Fever Tree Tonic Water
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of Fresh Lime Juice
  5. Add 3-5 drops of the Angostura Bitters
  6. Garnish with a freshly cut lime wedge
  7. Serve!

 


The final gin that I chose for this cocktail primer is probably the most classic in the purely Botanical format.  Hendricks’s Gin is my choice for the final slurp.  This gin is bursting with flavors of cucumber and roses.  Quite remarkable really. 

The tonic water is no less rambunctious either because I picked one made right here in New Jersey named TomR’s Tonic.  Their handmade product is perfectly geared to the explosive aromatics of Hendricks’s gin because you can adjust the bitterness of the final drink just by adding more- or less of this amazing tonic syrup.  I love the 1,2,3, method described on their website.

Tomr’s Classic Tonic and Gin

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Tomr’s Tonic Syrup
  • 2 oz. Hendricks’s Gin
  • 3 oz. Seltzer Water
  • My addition of a pinch of sea salt

Prep:

  1. Add ice to a Collins Glass
  2. Top with the Tomr’s Tonic Syrup
  3. Add the Hendricks’s Gin over the syrup
  4. Top with the Seltzer Water
  5. Add a pinch of sea salt
  6. Serve!

Funky Bee’s Knees

Photo by fancycrave1 via Pixabay

I thought this was going to be a low key sort of afternoon, then other things happened, one of which brought me to this place of calm, and “highly” introspective buzziness. The change of the seasons offers a change in the flavors that I seek at the cocktail bar and eventually into my glass. I’ve been way down the road of helpful bartenders (generally they are not mixologists, that’s something different) attempting to make, ether successfully or not (well-meaning) suggestions as to seasonality. These might be delightful drinks, such as a Mint Julep in the ice and cold of January, or a lip smacking and body buzzing Sazerac in the blazing sun of the summer. You can have these drinks — and right you should! — but for utter seasonality in these early spring weeks, I seek the depth and sophistication that honest and raw ingredients can bring to the cocktail glass. 

See more at: https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/get-buzzed-with-this-funky-bees-knees-thc-infused-honey-cocktail/#sthash.VPmSbZyI.dpuf

 

These Are The Drinks You’ve Been Looking For!

bobrow_2016Certainly by the end of the year I’ve become a bit jaded on what I consider to be trends for the following year.  Everyone wants to know what the “next best thing” is… Or what it’s going to be tomorrow, next week or in the coming months.

It is here that I want to start my list of what I think, as a taste-maker- will be hot in the coming months. I’ll give a list with some explanation- just in case.

Last September I was fortunate to attend the Moscow (Russia) Bar Show.  It was enlightening, amazing and educational.  I gave a master class on rum and traveled to the other side of the globe to find a country that for all intents and purposes is just like ours- except they speak Russian.  They love us- we’d never know that from our press though. The Russians are passionate about American Whiskey.

Want to know where all the Bourbon Whiskey is?  Russia.  So, I’ll start my list in Moscow.

• Authenticity, Nostalgia, Simplicity.  I was sent to the Moscow Bar Show by Mezan Rum.  You would think that Russians would be preoccupied with vodka.  Not so, they demand authenticity and that “Jerry Thomas” approach to history.  Fine aged rum plays directly into this chess game.  Rum that hasn’t been colorized, chill-filtered nor any added sugar, or saccharine allowed.  Mezan fulfills this purpose and takes you further into the plethora of flavors that speak clearly to the métier of the rum distiller.  Get some!  I prefer the Jamaican version. There is a certain funk in each sip.  Powerful stuff in a Planter’s Punch or even in a Rum-Manhattan.  Make sure you use a Vermouth like Atsby, or Uncouth- even Carpano… But use the white one.  The red is too sweet for these perfumed rums.

• Whiskey from actual distilleries!  What a concept- is it me, or are there more made-up names than usual on the store shelves?  I actually had a friend ask me about a Bourbon the other day from a distillery that has never existed outside of a Madison Avenue advertising agency desk.  The label appeared to be hand attached and the closure had the look of a cork stuck in the top of a bottle of Moonshine.  There may have been leather involved.  All it said to me was, stay far away.
Authenticity in Bourbon takes guts these days.  But should you find a true craft distillery- then by all means buy their stuff.  They deserve your support.  The big guys are ok, but cut out the fake-craft labeling.  It’s confusing to the consumer!  My favorites going forward, Barrell Bourbon, Few Spirits, Catoctin Creek, Hudson…  They are my favorites for a reason.  They speak the language of history.

• Scotch from Scotland and other places – Ok, so they call them smoked whiskies when they are from other places.  I don’t want to raise the ire of Scotch drinkers.  Pardon me. Amongst my favorites going forward- Virginia Highland Malt Whisky- yes Virginia, they distill absolutely gorgeous whisky in Virginia. I’ve been making Bee’s Knees with Old St. Andrews Scotch Whisky- lightly aromatic of cut grass and toasted peat. Not overpowering with smoke, but to my palate, just enough.  And that bottle!  Looks like a golf ball.  Brenne from France continues to please and going forward I would say that any releases from this marvelous producer will challenge even the most snobbish of the Whisky drinkers.   I had some beautiful Scotch Whisky in Russia that dated back to the mid 1960’s… If you can find any of these, save your pennies… They are worth every cent.

• Rhum Agricole.  Certainly you should be drinking Rhum Agricole…  Don’t just put a bottle on your bar and forget about it.  I continue to wax poetic about the mysterious flavors that appear and disappear in each sip of Rhum Agricole.  One of my favorite ways to drink this perfumed slice of Rhum history (yes they use an extra h in Rhum in the French West Indies) is with a chunk of lime (with the skin on) and a couple splashes of Cane Sugar Syrup… This is so simple!  Anyone can choose their own demise by making this drink as strong or as weak as they desire.  Thank you to Ed Hamilton for teaching me what I needed to know in the first place.

• Flavored Syrups and Shrubs.  What is a shrub?  My third book, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails defines a Shrub as an acidulated beverage, historically used as a method of aiding digestion and for refreshment- as an energy drink.  In the days prior to soda, a touch of vinegar, sugar and fruit along with cool water would satisfy most thirsts.  Flavored syrups make our jobs as bartenders and mixologists much easier.  Amongst the very best that you can buy are: Royal Rose… Fruitations (I’m just blown away by their Cranberry), Pickett’s from Brooklyn (yes, that’s a place and their hot ginger syrup is world class) Shrub and Company, Shrub Drinks, Liber and Company.  All delicious and lip-smacking.  Powell & Mahoney is my go/to for Pomegranate Mixer- yes- even I use a pre-mix for some events.

• Craft Soda… With too many names to mention, but I’ll mention a couple.  Q-Drinks- they’re magnificent.  The Club Soda has a pinch of sea salt- keeps you thirsty!  I’m thrilled by some of the Root Beers that come down from Bar Harbor in Maine… I love to drink Boylan’s and Bruce Cost sodas when I want something even more authentic.  Dry Soda is just amazing stuff- the cucumber variety is crisp and refreshing.

• Hard Cider.  Possmann’s from Germany is my go/to.  This lightly sparkling cider is all apple and just the right amount of fizz and alcohol rolling in at 5% abv.  I’ve had it on tap in the New York/Metro area and if you see it, get some… immediately!  Farnum Hill from up in New England continues to charm my palate as well.  There are some Spanish Ciders that are just so assertive- Burgundy wine comes to mind.  Barnyard notes and crushed stones come into view, sip by sip, if you dare! They are just different styles from Spain.  I much prefer the German ciders, at least for my palate.

• Tequila.  I don’t know what happened to Tequila, but I’m tired of Tequila that tastes like Bourbon.  Maybe it’s because they age the distillate in used Bourbon casks?  Absolutely, this is why your Tequila tastes sweet.  It’s in the cask!  I much prefer the rare and usually a bit more expensive versions like Casa Noble- aged in French White Oak.  This is a much more expensive method, but worthwhile in my opinion.

• Mezcal… It’s mysterious like a high fever in the middle of Summer.  There’s smoke in there- lots of stuff going on in your imagination.  If you want to really challenge your palate, in a good way… Taste Mezcal.  Of course if it has a worm in the bottle, throw it out immediately.  This is not the real thing.  It was invented, yes again… by one of those ad agencies.  No one eats the darned thing!

• Gin.  Stick to what you like and I love Barr Hill from Vermont.  The Tom Cat, aged in American Oak is my preference in a snifter- for a perfectly marvelous gin and juice – use nothing more than the raw honey and grain distilled Barr Hill Gin with freshly squeezed- broiled grapefruit in a muddle.  A splash of Q-Tonic water and a couple dashes of Angostura to finish…  All good. Happy New Year!


My fourth book, Cannabis Cocktails (the first book on the topic!) is in pre-sell now: www.quartoknows.com/books/9781592337347/Cannabis-Cocktails-Mocktails-and-Tonics.html

 

- See more at: http://totalfood.com/articles/these-are-the-drinks-youve-been-looking-for#sthash.PKUMRV7J.dpuf

Mother’s Day Cocktail: Beekman 1802 and Klaus the Soused Gnome

photo

Is your mom sweet like honey?  Warm and comforting like a cup of tea?  Or even a little spicey?  Klaus has never met his own mother, but that doesn’t stop him from celebrating all the moms in his life.

So he’s concocted a cocktail for all moms–no matter what shape or form they come in.

Springtime brings flavor into the equation because after the long winter we had, all Klaus wants is simplicity and flavor.

So what does Klaus want?

Fabulous Rio Red Grapefruit syrup, grenadine, Barr Hill Gin, Tenneyson Absinthe and Bitter End Thai Bitters???

Bitter End Bitters out in Santa Fe, New Mexico makes Thai Bitters that are like delving into a bowl of Thai Chilies. There is that heat element that is for certain…But then there are the flavors that open up, drop-by-concentrated-drop in a cocktail. I’ve tasted dozens of bitters and there really is nothing on the market that has the character of the Bitter End. Don’t get me wrong, I love bitters and could wax poetic for hours using them in my drinks. Bitters are just about the best thing for a hangover, according to Klaus. He knows.

Fruitations from Massachusetts are a most gorgeously concentrated, pure fruit syrups that are just exceptional in any kind of cocktail or mocktail. I just go gaga over the grapefruit syrup because it is like tucking into a juicy, ripe grapefruit. Less is more with this high quality syrup. You don’t have to use much, it’s that good!

A hit of Tenneyson Absinthe Royale is necessary. Try it and you’ll know why. It’s a secret otherwise!

Klaus’s Mother’s Day cocktail

(for two)

FIRST,  make a pot of Beekman 1802 Mercantile Blend tea – please serve it steaming hot to warm you deeply before, cooling yourself with this spring cocktail.

Ingredients:

4 oz. Barr Hill Gin, made from Raw Honey and grain with juniper berries

½ oz. Tenneyson Absinthe Royale

2 oz. Grenadine

6 oz. Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit Cocktail and Soda Syrup

Preparation:

Pour yourself a cup of Beekman 1802 tea and while you enjoy the smoky demeanor of this very elegant tea

In a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with bar ice

Pour over the Barr Hill Gin

Add the Grenadine

Add the Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit cocktail and soda syrup

Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds

Pour into a Collins Glass with several hand cut ice cubes

Drip four drops of the Bitter End Thai bitters over the top. If this is too spicy, cut back to two drops

CHEERS TO WHATEVER PERSON IN YOUR LIFE YOU CALL ‘MOM’!