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!

The Green Fairies Ear

 

Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour: The Green Fairies Ear

 

 Absinthe posterAbsinthe stirs the imagination.  All those paintings from France in the 1800’s exemplifying the mystical aspects of this misunderstood liquor makes me want to delve deeply into measured sips.  But how does Absinthe work?  It does because of the mystique surrounding the clear liquid that somehow turns cloudy after dripping scant drops of water over the surface.  Magic happens!  Sure there are the botanical herbs, of course there is the ever-present alcohol- you cannot miss that with many varieties exceeding 120 proof!

Absinthe is powerful stuff indeed!

I love Absinthe because of the bad boy (bad girl) element.  From a flavor perspective, Absinthe is every bit as delicious as botanical Gin, but it is thicker somehow.  On the first taste, you can feel the creamy texture against your lips and tongue- then- coming quickly into view is the anise elements- then suddenly as if a monster awakened- the brooding depth of the alcohol.  Sweet, savory, tart and herbal elements differ from brand to brand.  The European varieties are known to contain certain long banned ingredients, but the American ones are no less potent.  The rumor of a brand of Absinthe that may have plied Van Gogh to cut off his ear is known as the Green Fairy- good luck finding it! (No, not his ear) La Fee Verte.

This week’s cocktail is woven of Absinthe, freshly squeezed, charred grapefruit juice and a splash of Q-Tonic water.  Q-Tonic water is available in nearly every Williams-Sonoma store and also in Whole Foods.  It’s worth the extra expense for a hand-made product!

I’ve taken a small producer Absinthe from St. George in California- certainly available around the country- although you can use your choice of Absinthe- and added freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.  I char the grapefruit segments in a cast iron pan before juicing to reveal a deeper personality and a hint of mystery!

The Green Fairies Ear

Ingredients:

  • 2 shots of St. George Absinthe
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented, charred in a cast iron pan, then juiced/strained
  • Coconut water ice cubes (freeze un-sweetened coconut water in an ice cube tray)
  • Q-Tonic water

Preparation:

  • To a small rocks glass, add two or three coconut water cubes, then the Absinthe, mix a bit to cool.
  • Add about three tablespoons of the charred grapefruit juice
  • Top with Q-Tonic water and sip (carefully) to the Belle Epoque!The Green Fairies Ear - made with Absinthe

Culinary Cocktails

What happens when a man is snowbound with only his wits and his sideboard? He crafts a perfectly balanced flight of cocktails:  too cool!

Passage to India

We just had some snow, about 8 inches this time. The last time it was about two feet. Everything is covered in a fine white dust. It’s quite lovely to look at as long as you’re inside and not shoveling. A friend of mine just sent a lovely container of Fig and Pear Chutney. I had been looking at some photographs of India and it churned my imagination. There was a picture of the Ganges River comingonto the computer screen and I thought of a Passage to India cocktail.

  • 2 shots Bluewater Organic Vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of a spicy chutney (homemade if possible)
  • 1 or 2 saffron threads
  • Orange peel
  1. Add crushed ice and vodka to a cocktail shaker. Do not shake or stir.
  2. Add spicy chutney to a well-chilled martini glass.
  3. Strain iced vodka into the glass and garnish with saffron threads and an orange peel.

The Red Hour Cocktail

The Red Hour Cocktail’s inspiration comes from the Star Trek show of the same name. How completely rational people can go quite crazy when the clock strikes The Red Hour.

  • 2 shots Siesta Key White Rum
  • 1 or two drops of Bitter End Thai Bitters
  • Freshly squeezed orange and lime juice (just enough)
  • Q-Tonic Water
  1. Add a few cubes of ice to a cocktail shaker, then the rum, followed by bitters, then fruit juices.
  2. Shake. Strain onto fresh ice in a tall glass.
  3. Top with a few splashes of Q-Tonic Water and a RED Cherry.

The Pure Driven Snow

Another cool-as-ice cocktail. If you live anywhere outside the tropics this year, you’re in the snow belt and understand the inspiration for this drink.

  • 1 wheat beer such as Brooklyn Brewery Hopfen-Weisse
  • 2 shots Anchor Junipero Gin
  • 1 lime in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar cane syrup
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in beer and gin.
  2. Add lime and syrup.
  3. Shake very gently, or the drink will foam wildly.
  4. Serve in a short glass with fresh ice.

Morning awake

  • 2 shots Calvados
  • 1 shot good cognac
  • Hot Black Tea to fill a mug
  • Scraping of fresh nutmeg
  1. Serve hot.

Sleepy time, sleepy time!