August 31, 2006
We've heard of people designing their own cocktail recipes before, but this is a new one - Bombay Sapphire Gin is running a contest where you can design your own cocktail glass. Pretty cool, and we're pretty fired up about this kind of thing after we covered Bong Vodka's bottle art contest earlier this year.
The Top 10 finalists seem to have already been chosen for 2006, but you're just in time to start honing your glass-blowing skills for 2007. Plus, don't worry if you don't have much experience. Just look what you have to live up to - the 2005 winner (pictured) looks more like a protective cup than a cocktail glass so apparently all you need is a love of gin (and maybe a fifth inside you). Oh, and there are some pretty cool prizes you can win, including Apple gift certificates, which you'll see in the press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition"
August 28, 2006
If you ask us there's no better cocktail ingredient than the lime. It's the building block of everything from the Margarita to the Mojito, and for good reason. If you're looking for something a little simpler, a Gimlet is a great but underappreciated drink these days, which is too bad because it's so simple. It's basically booze plus lime juice, and while the traditional drink is with gin we've made it with everything from rum to tequila.
We've found a good recipe for a Gin Gimlet; it calls for Rose's Lime Juice but we make it with fresh after we took such a drubbing for recommending Rose's for our Soco Limes.
1 1/4 ounces of gin
1 1/4 ounces Rose's lime juice
Stir the gin and lime juice in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze the lime wedge into the drink.
August 22, 2006
We love guest reviews. And no, it's not just because we like it when someone does the work for us - if someone else tastes the liquor we don't get to, now do we? We just like hearing another voice on the site, and it makes the Interns happy to be able to edit stories that aren't full of misspellings, rants and curse words.
Anyway, today's guest review is by Kevin Erskine, the man among men who runs The Scotch Blog - he took a little time out of his busy Scotch drinking schedule to drink a little gin. Oh, the things we booze reviewers do for our readers. We've included the first paragraph below; read on for the rest of Kevin's thoughts this new Tanqueray gin.
Continue reading: "Guest Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin"
This past Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to the swank Washington, DC club Indeblue to attend the launch party for “Rangpur”, a new product from Tanqueray Gin.
Tasting strongly of limes, Rangpur is not, as you might first assume, a lime-flavored Gin. Rangpur starts out life like any traditional gin – a grain-based neutral spirit distilled in a “continuous still”.
July 26, 2006
Let's face it...it'd be pretty damn cool to be James Bond. Jumping out of planes, wrestling with sharks, sexing up everyone with a heartbeat from Monaco to Antarctica. If you want to take a step in the direction we've dug up a recipe for a James Bond Martini. We can't guarantee the lifestyle but at least your breath will smell like James Bond's when you're sitting on the couch watching America's Top Model.
The James Bond Martini
From Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Three ounces of Gordon’s Gin
One ounce vodka
Half a measure of Kina Lillet
Pour ingredients over ice. Shake it to chill and for texture.
Serve in a deep champagne goblet.
via World on a Plate
July 14, 2006
Some hot days there's nothing like a gin and tonic to relieve the summer swelter. But what if you did something crazy like infuse it with blueberries? We've never heard of it either, but doesn't that seem like it'd be EVEN MORE refreshing?
Hidden inside a story that could double for propaganda from the Canadian Blueberry Council, we found the following infusion recipe:
Place 1 cup (250 mL) blueberries in a large glass bottle. Add 6 tablespoons (90 mL) sugar and one 750 mL bottle gin. Shake well and set aside for at least two weeks, or up to two months. Shake the bottle from time to time and watch the luxurious blue colour develop. When ready, serve straight in small liqueur glasses. Or place a shot of the blue gin in a blender with 1/2 cup (125 mL) crushed ice. Blend, then pour into tall glasses with a sprig of mint and tonic water to taste.
via Canada.com's Montreal Gazette
July 6, 2006
Have you been lying awake nights, obsessing over just what is the correct proportion of gin to tonic in your cocktails? Don't worry, we have too. Luckily, we've just found an article from the Canton, OH Repository (our only real source for liquor advice) outlining an experiment performed by 200 mixologists on behalf of Miller's gin.
It's all very scientifical (percentages and everything!) so it should lay the problem to rest, shouldn't it? If only all of life's crises could be handled by getting hundreds of bartenders into the same room.
Continue reading: "The Perfect Gin to Tonic Ratio?"
June 21, 2006
Guess what, it's the first day of summer! Know what that means? All sorts of tasty cocktails, drunk outside on our porch instead of huddled around our computers like we do all winter, relying on the glow of our monitors for warmth.
We've stolen...errr, found...an interesting recipe for a drink called the Cuke from the New York Times. As an added bonus, it features our favorite gin on the planet - Hendrick's.
Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes' chilling
6 limes, rinsed
1 cup packed mint leaves, no stems, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
3 unwaxed cucumbers
½ cup sugar
2 cups vodka or gin, preferably Hendrick's gin
1. Thinly slice 3 limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest and add juice to pitcher. Add mint leaves. Slice 2 cucumbers and add, then add sugar. Muddle ingredients. Add vodka or gin. Place in refrigerator to steep 30 minutes or longer.
2. Peel remaining cucumber and cut lengthwise into 6 spears.
3. Fill 6 highball or other large glasses with ice. Strain mixture from pitcher into each. Top with a splash of sparkling water, garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a cucumber spear, and serve.
Yield: 6 servings.
Right, six servings...or one, if you play your cards right.
May 2, 2006
Historically, we've been big fans of Dutch booze, and we've recently stumbled across some interesting Gin products from Holland, which we can't wait to try. Introducing Zuidam Gin, which comes in both Dry and Genever labels. We know what dry gin is, but we were unclear about Genever until we read the full press release. Read on to find more, plus click through to the release for a recipe for a Hi Tea highball.
Zuidam Dry Gin (suggested retail price $30/750 ml; $35/1L) contains nine botanicals: Juniper berries and iris root from Italy, coriander from Morocco, angelica root, fresh sweet oranges and lemons from Spain, real whole bean vanilla from Madagascar, licorice root from India, cardamom pods from Ceylon. Unlike other gins, which add all the botanicals simultaneously, Zuidam distills each ingredient or botanical separately and then marries the nine different distillates together according to their secret recipe. “Flavors peak at different temperatures and if you throw everything together in the still, you end up with a dominance of juniper and a gin that is out of balance,” Patrick van Zuidam tells HappyHours.com. “By distilling separately, we get the purest flavors from all our ingredients. We are the only gin that I am aware of that uses vanilla—and we use only pure vanilla beans—not extracts. It is by far our most expensive ingredient. The vanilla knits the flavors together it makes a smoother gin that is more ‘one’”.
After the individual distillations, the final blend is created having undergone a total of 14 distillations (5 for the base spirit and 9 individual distillations for each botanical. The gin is then aged 3 months before bottling. The nose is clean with fresh citrus and earthy juniper notes and a beguiling hint of spice and vanilla. Its layered flavors make it a perfect martini gin, yet the balance of flavors allows it to mix admirably with the fresh fruit flavors favored by today’s cutting edge bar chefs.
“For the Zuidam Genever Gin, we start with a whiskey-like base, and add the botanicals in one distillation,” explains Patrick van Zuidam. “For our Genever we use juniper, licorice root, vanilla, aniseed and marjoram. Zuidam Genever is more refined than most Genevers. It is elegant and provides a very different gin taste that is decidedly sweeter, yet still refreshing, with a malty undertone. Unlike some Genevers, Zuidam Genever Gin is crystal clear.”
- via press release at HappyHours.com
January 8, 2006
88 proof small-batch gin, imported from Scotland
Typical Price: About $30
Available at Internet Wines & Spirits
For those of you who have never heard of Hendrick's gin, we'll tell you right up front - it's got cucumbers and rose petals in it (OK, not chunks of them, but the essence of both). When we were initially told about it by one of our interns, we almost laughed whiskey right out our noses. We prefer brown and yellow liquors, the kind usually drunk by convicts and Hell's Angels and superior court judges, and he wanted us to try a gin full of rose petals? We told him to drink his own Hendrick's, and sort his stuffed animal collection while he was at it. But this intern, who chooses to remain nameless for extradition reasons, was insistent that we try it.
The first thing we noticed was that the bottle is squat and brown and distinctive...almost a nod to gin's medicinal roots, because it looks like something you'd buy from an apothecary to align your humors or cure your gout. The second thing we noticed was that instead of crowing about how their gin is the greatest thing since polio vaccination, the little pamphlet that came with the bottle almost dared us to try it. With slogans like "It is not for everybody" and "Preferred by 1 out of 1000 gin drinkers," Hendrick's definitely stays away from typical marketing techniques, though it does say Hendrick's is "loved by a tiny handful of people all over the world." But would the gin itself live up to the quirky claims and dry humor?
Continue reading: "Hendrick's Gin Review: Wake Up And Smell The Roses"
December 22, 2005
Stretton's London Dry
86 Proof Gin, Imported from South Africa
Typical Price: About $13 for 750ml
Ever since vodka took over the reins as the most popular neutral grain spirit, we think gin has been getting a bad rap. For a lot of people looking for refreshing and palate-pleasing cocktails, the pine cone tang of juniper berries is the last thing on their minds when they belly up to the bar. We have to admit even we are guilty of falling into the gin-free category over the past few years, but our avoidance of the spirit is mostly due to pleas from our friends and family who had had enough of our pine-scented belligerence when we're one gin and tonic too deep.
So what turned us around on the spirit once known as Dutch Courage? For one thing, we found out it was originally distilled in Holland as a remedy for stomach pain, gout and gallstones, and we're all about taking our medicine, especially when it's suspended in alcohol. For two, we got our hands on a bottle of Stretton's London Dry, a South African spirit distilled from sugar cane. It came to us highly recommended, so we decided to end our gin drought and give it a whirl.
When we unscrewed the cap we were preparing ourselves for the industrial, medicinal smell we associate with gin, but instead it had a mellower, but still evergreen, scent. When we tasted it, we were impressed with the smoothness, with no bite on the back end, and it had a more complex flavor than we would have expected for the price. The label says Stretton's contains coriander, juniper berries, angelica root, cassia bark and dried orange peel...we don't know what half of those things are, but there was definitely a citrusy taste to be found. All in all a pleasant experience, and we could already tell it would be a worthy mid-range gin.
Drink Recipes: As far as we're concerned, there are only two drinks that contain gin - the martini and the gin and tonic. We made our martini extra-dry, with just a splash of vermouth, and it was really very tasty. As for the tonic, you can't really mess that one up...the citrusy taste of the gin did blend well with the tonic and lime we added, and we had a feeling we could get ourselves into a lot of trouble if we constantly had a bottle of Stretton's lying around.
Another drink we'd never had but wanted to try was the Tom Collins, and the Stretton's bottle gave us a great excuse. We found a recipe and whipped up a batch, and we can see why people like these guys enough that they have their own glass named after them.
Tom Collins Recipe
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
3 oz club soda
1 maraschino cherry
1 slice orange
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice. Recipe via DrinksMixer.com.
Finishing Thoughts: All in all, we were impressed with how Stretton's measured up to other gins we've tried. We liked it better than the Beefeater and Tanqueray we typically have, and we'd be interested in doing a blind taste test against some top-shelf bottles with our gin-drinking friends. We recommend Stretton's as a starter gin for people who don't think they like the stuff, and for the price we have definitely not tasted a better gin this year.
Stretton's London Dry is imported from South Africa by Berniko, and while we couldn't find any mention of it on their website, you can try to find more information at Berniko.com.