Category Archives: Gin-Based

With apologies to Mr. Bond

Have you ever felt intimidated by the constant arguments over “the right way” to prepare a martini?  Wonder no more, thanks to this excellent video by master bartender Ms. Charlotte Voisey.  Not only are the techniques (both practical and presentational) that she describes useful for a number of cocktails, she describes them all in an adorable British accent, and she uses Hendrick’s gin.  Really, how can you go wrong?

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Rebel Bartender Original Recipe: Blood Orange Martini

“Gin, lemon juice, and blood-orange soda?”

“I think it’s good.”

“I don’t know, it just seems like…shouldn’t there be something more?”

“It’s three ingredients.  That makes a cocktail.”

While the Rebel Bartender is not one to generally trust to others’ declarations, in this instance, she decided to assent to her husband’s wisdom.  Because while there may be something impressive about a drink that delicately balances five or six different flavors like a juggler spinning plates, there’s also a lot to be said for simplicity.  And in this instance, simplicity works surprisingly well.

This recipe was actually devised at the request of one of the Bartender’s friends, who tried an advertised “Blood Orange Martini” at a restaurant and found it to be unimpressive.  The Bartender’s original idea for a nonalcoholic base – fresh-squeezed blood orange juice – was stymied by the relative lack of imagination in Arizona produce aisles.  Fortunately, however, she came across some Italian Blood Orange Soda at Trader Joe’s, and it turned out to go surprisingly well with (of all things) Bombay Sapphire gin.  Other gins would probably work, too, but be forewarned that you’ll likely be trading the subtlety of Sapphire for more of a strong juniper flavor.  Which, depending on your tastes, might be what you want.

Blood Orange Martini

1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire
1/4 ounce lemon juice
3 ounces blood orange soda, chilled

Shake the gin and lemon juice with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Gently pour the soda in over the other ingredients, swirling to mix.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Recipe: Pink Victrola

Hailing from the Hendrick’s website, this little gem provided the Bartender with that rarest of all cocktail sentiments – the absolute conviction that it needs no tinkering or improving whatsoever.  Fun as it can be to swap around ingredients and change the proportions to find that just-right balance, there’s also a distinct joy in finding that recipe that’s already perfectly formed.  It’s much like finding a pearl washed up on the beach, and almost as rare an experience.

The Bartender found this one particularly surprising – she had expected the grapefruit to completely overwhelm the other flavors, but instead found that it showcased the unusual flavors in Hendrick’s gin quite admirably.  And then there’s that lovely pink color; fortunately, this time it’s attached to a drink that’s both tasty and visually striking.

Pink Victrola

1 1/2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
1 1/2 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 spoonful (about 1/8 ounce) grenadine

Shake all ingredients and strain into chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a citrus twist, cucumber balls, or music device appropriate to your time period.

Recipe: Bohemian Bicycle, by Doug Levy

Vodka Nearly-Three-Weeks is officially over.  The Bartender has enough of the stuff stocked to last her until Judgment Day.  If she has to look at another vodka martini in the next six months she’s probably going to be ill.  So what better way to celebrate than to have a drink based on her favorite underappreciated spirit?

In all fairness, the Bohemian Bicycle (creation of Doug Levy from the marvelous Feast in Tucson, re-creation mine and fairly close to the original) is not your typical martini-with-a-twist.  And while it violates the Bartender’s usual rule of keeping to ingredients that cost $30-or-less a bottle, it’s well worth it:  St. Germain runs about $40, comes in a beautiful art deco bottle, and is a remarkably versatile ingredient that’s excellent for adding a touch of herby-floral sweetness to any concoction.  Not to mention the sheer class derived from including a French liqueur distilled from elderflower in your ingredients.

Two notes before we begin.  First, this is a recipe that definitely depends on the subtleties of specific liquors for its flavor; ergo, substituting a different type of gin is not recommended.  Also, note the range in the lime juice; the strength of the juice can vary significantly depending on the age of the limes involved (older limes have had much of the moisture evaporated out of them and therefore have a more concentrated flavor).  The goal is for the lime flavor to give it an extra zing without being overpowering.  Remember, the key word, as always, is experimentation – that’s the whole fun of it!

Bohemian Bicycle

1 ounce Bombay Sapphire
1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 to 3/4 ounce lime juice
Club soda
1 leaf fresh basil

Shake first three ingredients together and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Fill with club soda.  Float shredded basil leaf on top.  Garnish with a lime wheel, or a folded basil leaf and lime wedge on a pick.

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