To be fair, it’s not quite summer just yet, but despite the fact that May has really only just gotten underway, we’ve already seen a few scorching temperatures, most of which happened during the Great Water Debacle of 2010. As the mercury soars, the weighty, spice-filled drinksof the fall and winter lose their appeal, and a young lady’s fancy turns to gin and drinks kissed with citrus.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think a Vieux Carre or a Manhattan are the bee’s knees – but one has to give in to the demands of the season. I vastly prefer roasted squash to a raw salad, but not only is it uncomfortable to crank the oven to 400° when the thermometer reads 80°, it’s a bit too heavy, hanging out like lead in one’s overheated stomach. So it is with cocktails; light, refreshing, and often bubbly are the watchwords of the warmer months.
To that end, I’ve been playing around with a few new drink recipes! Some, like this one, are just variations on a theme:
Essentially, it’s a Tom Collins – it’s got gin (Hendrick’s, my personal favorite), lemon juice, sweetener, and club soda. The difference is in that Bulleit bottle in the background – don’t be fooled, it’s not the lovely bourbon – that’s merely the container. Rather, it’s a basil liqueur that I put together a while back – basil leaves steeped in vodka, then mixed with simple syrup. It’s light green, herbal and faintly tasting of anise, and I used in place of the sugar in the Collins. My theory was that the basil would go nicely with the Hendrick’s, and I was right! There are a few drops of orange bitters as well, for good measure.
Though it wasn’t intentional, it’s a variation on the Rum Swizzle, though one of considerably less sweetness. Alas, it’s also not swizzled, although I suppose you could – due to the falernum and gomme syrup I prefer it shaken. Also included are two kinds of rum and lime juice. As loyal readers of this blog know I have a hard time naming drinks, but I’m trying to improve. I pondered what rum and lime signify to me, and came up with the beach, even though I’ve never been to a beach that served such things. Okay, well, what do I think of when I think of beach? The first association that springs to my head is the house in Hull that my father’s family used to own. It was a beautiful old Victorian that was directly on the most amazing (to my young mind) beach – it had these rock walls filled with vibrant tidal pools that were literally teeming with life – teeny fish and seaweed and snails and sometimes even small lobsters. It was a wonderful place to run around as a kid, and is my most essential definition of the word beach. The name of that beach (or possibly the public one next to it, to be fair) was Gun Rock Beach. While Gun Rock and Hull are hardly a tropical paradise, it seemed like a fitting enough name. And so I present the Gun Rock Swizzle:
2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
1 oz Rhum Barbancourt
.5 oz lime juice (do I even have to say fresh squeezed?)
.5 oz falernum
.25 oz gomme syrup
2-3 dashes orange bitters
Put all ingredients into a mixing glass with cracked ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. For a more authentic swizzle, stir rather than shake. Garnish with the twist!
One order of business – there is now an Adventures in Food group page on Facebook! I set this up so that local readers can easily sign up for adventures they might want to be a part of, and so that all readers could suggest new adventures and ideas they’d like to see discussed on the blog. It’s easier for me than sending 1 million emails or scrolling through the contents. So, if you have a Facebook account, please join!