Recipes for National Gin and Tonic Day 2017

Spicy Tomato Gin and Tonic
When we were buying extra gin and tonic water to make the recipes below, the checkout clerk noticed our items and started singing. He said he belongs to a group that perform songs from the burlesque era and said many of them are about gin and tonic. So, in a way we celebrate a bit of musical history along with the cocktail on April 9th: National Gin and Tonic Day.

These six cocktail recipes are variations on the basic Gin and Tonic theme. We couldn’t resist adding two dessert recipes as well. All of them are perfect for a warm evening out on the porch, watching the sunset. We know you’ll love them as much as we do.

Pomegranate Gin & TonicPomegranate Gin and Tonic
courtesy of Distillery 209
2 oz. No. 209 gin
4 oz. Q Tonic
20 pomegranate seeds
2 sage leaves
2 whole cloves

Add ice cubes to a stemless wine glass. Add all ingredients and serve.

Spicy Tomato Gin and Tonic
courtesy of Sumptuous Living
2 oz. gin
2 oz. Q Tonic Water
½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes (halved)
¼ cup hothouse cucumber (wrapped in plastic at the market, sliced)
1 sprig fresh dill
1 thin slice jalapeño pepper
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes celery bitters
1 oz. fresh lime juice
steak seasoning
2 whole cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
2 cucumber slices (for garnish)

Wet the rim of a highball glass with cut lime; then dip it in steak seasoning. Place tomatoes, cucumber, dill, and lime juice in bottom of glass; muddle for one minute. Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, bitters, gin, jalapeño, and tonic water. Fill with ice and stir gently — be careful not to disturb rim. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices before serving.

Strawberry Gin and TonicStrawberry Gin and Tonic
by Alice Seuffert
2 oz. gin
3 oz. tonic water
2 Tbsp. strawberry syrup
2 sprigs of rosemary
¼ of a lime
1 strawberry

In a glass filled with ice add gin, tonic water, and strawberry syrup. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, a piece of quartered lime (squeeze in juice), and strawberry.

For Strawberry Syrup:
4 cups strawberries (32 ounces/2 lbs, stems removed, halved)
2 cups water
½ cup sugar (we used honey instead)
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes until strawberries are completely cooked–soft and light pink in color. Remove from heat and let cool. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl (ensure fit so mixture and liquid does not leak out the sides) and place strawberry mixture in the strainer. Allow juice to drain into bowl and lightly press mixture into strainer until syrup has completely drained. Chill strawberry syrup until ready to use. Store in fridge for 1-2 weeks.

The 25 Pounder25 Pounder
created by Mikha Diaz of Two Sisters Bar and Books, San Francisco
1 1/2 oz. Burnett’s Gin infused with Earl Grey Tea (To infuse, place 3 tea bags into 750 ml. gin and allow to steep for at least 48 hours.)
3/4 oz. bergamot orange juice
3/4 oz. honey simple syrup (2 parts honey to 1 part boiling water–stir until combined)
sparkling wine or tonic water

Combine gin, juice, and honey simple syrup into a pint glass. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a 6 oz. flute and top with tonic water. No garnish is needed.

Blood Orange Elderflower Gin Cocktail
courtesy of The Little Epicurean
1 oz. gin
3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz. lime juice
2 1/2 oz. ginger ale or tonic water (we used dry sparkling blood orange soda)
1 oz. blood orange juice (we couldn’t find just blood orange so used raspberry blood orange juice)

In a serving glass, combine gin, St. Germain, lime juice, and ginger ale. Top the glass with ice. Slowly pour in blood orange juice. Garnish with blood orange slices and fresh lemon thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately.

Blackberry and Lemon Gin and TonicBlackberry Lemon Gin and Tonic
courtesy of RealHouseMoms.com
6 blackberries
8 mint leaves
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. simple syrup
6 oz. gin
tonic water
additional mint leaves and lemon wheels for garnish

Using two lowball glasses, place three blackberries in each glass. Add four mint leaves per glass, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp. of simple syrup per glass and muddle together. Fill each glass with ice, followed by 3 oz. gin. Top each drink with tonic water; then garnish with a lemon wheel and mint leaves.

Gin and Tonic Cake
by Jessica Merchant
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly zested lime rind
1/4 cup gin
1/4 cup milk
juice of 1 lime

Gin and Tonic CakePreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy–about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl if needed. Add in each egg one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next. Next add in vanilla and lime zest and mix. With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients. Then add in gin, milk, and lime juice, mixing until combined and scraping the bowl if necessary. Add remaining flour and beat until just combined.

Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden and center is not jiggly. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes across the top with a toothpick or fork. Pour gin glaze over; then let cake cool completely. While cake is cooling, mix up icing and once the cake has cooled, add the frosting. Note: you can sub tonic water in for the gin/milk portion of the recipe if desired.

For Gin Glaze
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. gin
juice of 1 lime

Mix ingredients together until a glaze forms, then pour over cake immediately while it is still warm. Note: start with 1-2 tablespoons of gin, if more non-gin liquid is needed, use tonic water.

For Gin Icing
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. gin
1 drop of vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together until a very thick but spreadable icing forms. Once cake has completely cooled, spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake. Note: start with 1-2 tablespoons of gin, if more non-gin liquid is needed, use tonic water.

Cucumber Gin and Tonic SorbetCucumber Lime Gin and Tonic Sorbet
by Kristen Olson
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest and juice from 2 medium limes
1 small cucumber, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups tonic water
3 oz. gin

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over medium low, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool completely. In a blender, mix together the simple syrup, zest, and juice from two limes, cucumber, 2 cups of the tonic water, and the gin. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture into a baking pan or baking dish. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours or until slightly frozen. Break up and stir with a fork. Freeze another 2 to 3 hours or until almost solid. Spoon icy mixture into the blender and blend until lighter and smooth. Return the mixture to the baking pan and freeze until scoopable. Cover and store in the freezer for up to two months. When ready to serve, scoop the sorbet into glasses with an ice cream scoop; top with a lime slice and additional tonic water and gin if desired.

Review: Gin Lane 1751 ‘Old Tom’ Gin and ‘Victoria’ Pink Gin

Gin Lane 1751 produces four varieties of gin, all pot-distilled in London, but spanning a range of styles. Some info:

Gin Lane 1751 has been created by Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers, an eighth generation distiller, and The Bloomsbury Club – a group of gin lovers and drinks industry professionals. Its name signifies an important historical landmark on the gin timeline; the Gin Act of 1751, which was in part brought about by artist William Hogarth’s iconic depiction of Gin Lane. The act banned the sale of gin in prisons, the workhouse and any shops selling everyday staples. Distillers were unable to sell gin direct and publicans were no longer able to issue credit. Gin became less readily available and more expensive with quality improving significantly; by Victorian times it had become a drink of respectability.  Each bottle has been individually numbered and the gins are handcrafted in small traditional pot stills. There are eight natural botanicals – juniper, orris root, Seville oranges, angelica, Sicilian lemon, star anise, cassia bark and coriander – to create a well-balanced, complex gin.

Only eight botanicals? A bit unusual but not unheard of. Notably, no lemon peel comes into play in 1751’s recipe.

Today we look at two of Gin Lane’s offerings — an Old Tom and a Victoria Pink variation. The London Dry gin and a navy strength version weren’t received… so we’ll save those for another day. Meanwhile, have a peek at these two:

Gin Lane 1751 ‘Old Tom’ Gin – This is basically the standard recipe, but offers an increase in the star anise plus a touch of refined sugar. The results are less in line with what I think of as a traditional Old Tom style and closer to a western dry style of gin, lightly sweet but with a relatively traditional nose of juniper and citrus, slightly dusty with earthy notes. On the palate the gin’s light sugar touch takes those somewhat bitter elements and tempers them a bit — and filtered through the star anise, the licorice notes become brighter, and somewhat more candylike than the nose would indicate. The finish is lightly sweet — again, a nod more to the west rather than the cat — with hints of raspberry, mint, and a bit of hospital-note astringency. Quite well balanced. 80 proof. A-

Gin Lane 1751 ‘Victoria’ Pink Gin – Pink gin is pink due to the addition of bitters (here, spiced bitters). Here that bitterness is less evident on the nose — which is similar to the Old Tom in most respects, sans the sugar — than it is on the palate. The bitters hit first, though quite lightly, layering notes of cloves and sassafras atop a body that comes across with more citrus than the Old Tom, plus a significant level of earthiness and a touch of baking spice. This is a pink gin that could probably benefit from a healthier dosing of bitters, but given that the base spirit is pretty good to begin with, it’s hard to complain too much. 80 proof. B+

each $25 / ginlane1751.com

Review: Heritage Distilling Rye and Bourbon Whiskies and Crisp Gin

Heritage Distilling makes a veritable ton of spirits in its Gig Harbor, Washington home, and by that I mean it actually makes them. This isn’t sourced or finished whiskey and gin, it’s the real deal, bringing in grains from the Pacific Northwest and Canada, mashed and fermented on site, and distilled in a copper column still. In other words: Everything here is a legit craft spirit.

Today we take a spin through a selection of Heritage’s product line, including five American whiskies as well as one of the company’s four gins.

Heritage Distilling BSB Brown Sugar Bourbon – Made from a mash of corn, rye, and malted barley, this whiskey is aged for less than two years in new American Oak charred barrels, then cut to 30% abv, with natural brown sugar and cinnamon flavors added. Pure Christmas on the nose, with intense cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg notes, plus a clear brown sugar overtone. The palate is very sweet, just shy of being overwhelming, and the cinnamon and sugar notes are omnipresent from the start. This of course comes at the expense of being able to taste any of the whiskey itself, which is common with heavily flavored spirits like this, although there’s a nutty, lightly corny character on the back end that at least hints at the underlying spirit. No “fireball” heat here, mind you — the experience is closer to a liquified gingerbread house than anything approaching red hots. 60 proof. B+ / $34

Heritage Distilling Elk Rider Bourbon Whiskey – Made from a mash of corn, rye, and malted barley (likely the same as in BSB), then aged for less than two years in new American Oak charred barrels. This whiskey comes across as a bit more mature than it actually is, though the very dry, popcorn-heavy nose pushes the focus to the barrel char underneath. On the palate, again it’s quite dry, with pushy lumberyard notes, forest floor and tree bark notes, and hints of gingerbread, Christmas cake, and dried fruit notes lingering as those pushy, wood-driven notes start to fade. The finish is a bit nutty — keeping the theme from the BSB bottling — but the lack of any real sweetness causes it to fade away a bit too quickly. This is clearly a well-made spirit, though it’s simply bottled too young. Would love to see this as a four year old. 92 proof. B / $30

Heritage Distilling Elk Rider Rye Whiskey – Made from a mash of rye and barley (no corn), aged less than two years in charred oak barrels. While the Elk Rider Bourbon may be dry, this rye is over the top dusty, a sawdust-infused monster that offers a nose of spice-dusted lumber and a palate of the same. Here, the body takes those intense cloves and heavy barrel char and complements them with notes of menthol, bitter roots, rhubarb, and wet wool. Clearly a work in progress. 92 proof. C+ / $33

Heritage Distilling Dual Barrel Collection Bourbon Whiskey – (These are sometimes denoted as the Double Barrel Collection but are otherwise the same.) The next two whiskeys start out much like their Elk Rider brethren above, but are then barreled for a second time in barrels that were previously used to age 15 pounds of pure vanilla beans. Lots of butterscotch on the nose here, with just a hint of barrel char and some surprising peanut butter aromas emerging. The palate offers considerably more sweetness than Elk Rider, and also more of those candylike notes, with notes of chocolate and Snickers bars layered atop toasty notes of brown butter and charred marshmallows. The wood-heavy barrel notes finally get their kicks in on the drying finish, which is equal parts sweet and savory. Overall, this whiskey is quite a surprise, and one of the better craft bourbons you’ll find on the market today. Exclusive to Total Wine. 92 proof. B+ / $29

Heritage Distilling Dual Barrel Collection Rye Whiskey – Aged the same way as the Dual Barrel Bourbon above. This whiskey is softer and sweeter than the Elk Rider version, though it still carries a modest barrel-driven character (particularly on the nose) as a backbone to a body that features plenty of that classic rye spice, heavy with cloves, spearmint, and some licorice character. This segues toward notes of caramel and milk chocolate on a finish that otherwise tends to keep things close to its barrel-driven roots taking the whiskey out with a surprisingly satisfying conclusion. Exclusive to Total Wine. 92 proof. B+ / $29

Heritage Distilling Elk Rider Crisp Gin – Distilled from 100% Washington grains, with traditional (but largely unrevealed) London Dry style botanicals. Especially medicinal on the nose, with heavy notes of camphor. Very herbal on the nose and on the tongue, it isn’t until the finish that some citrus notes finally push through, offering a touch of sweetness against what is otherwise an overwhelmingly pungent and savory experience. A tough nut to crack but one which might find the right home in, say, a Negroni. 94 proof. C / $28

heritagedistilling.com

Review: Peach Street Distillers Tub Gin

Peach Street Distillers in Palisade, Colorado is well known for its whiskey, but it also makes a complement of gins, including this limited edition expression called Tub. The gin is hopped and includes “plum spirits,” but otherwise the company keeps the botanical bill and production information close to the vest on this one.

The hops are light on the nose. What comes forth aromatically is more of a light blend of evergreen notes and fresh tobacco, some hospital character with overtones of overripe oranges and peaches.

The palate never fully gels either. Very dry, it starts off with only a modest character of perfumed white flowers and some light baking spice. Then, just like that, it is all whisked away by notes of lavender, some funky earth (driven by the hops), and a very dry and bitter finish. The juniper and strong citrus peel notes of a classic gin aren’t here at all, and while I understand Peach Street was aiming for something else entirely different from a London Dry, what they’ve ended up with doesn’t ever really engage, either on its own or as a mixer.

80 proof.

C+ / $33 / peachstreetdistillers.com

Review: Anchor Distilling Junipero Gin San Francisco Strength

Craft gin arguably got its start with Junipero, one of the earlier products to come out of San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling. Made in the London Dry style, it was the first post-Prohibition craft gin to be distilled in the United States, and it’s still going strong.

Now 20 years old, Anchor Distilling’s Junipero Gin brand has long kept its botanical bill close to the vest. Well, two decades of sales have finally convinced someone to open the books. At last, Junipero’s botanical ingredients have been revealed, and they are: juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, dried lemon peel, sweet orange peel, seville orange peel, cubeb, cassia bark, cardamom, anise seed, and grains of paradise. Nothing too surprising in there, but the real secret with Junipero is not what’s inside the bottle, but rather what proportions are used to so deftly balance this spirit.

The nose is equal parts juniper and citrus — a rarity in a time when gins tend to swing wildly one way or the other — with smoldering, peppery aromas lingering underneath. The palate is bold, thanks to a near-50% “San Francisco Strength” abv, again with a bold juniper character that really defines the experience. The peppery cubeb and coriander come on strong after that, leading to a finish that is modestly bitter with citrus peel notes and savory herbs.

All told, it’s a definitive craft gin worth stocking on the back bar — and it comes at a completely reasonable price.

98.6 proof.

A- / $27 / anchordistilling.com  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Review: By The Dutch Old Genever and Batavia Arrack

Everything old is new again, not only with classic spirits brands returning to the market but also with the revival of long-forgotten types of spirits, too. Among them are genever and Batavia arrack, a type of gin and rum, respectively, which are both resurging in the industry.

By The Dutch is a new brand founded in 2015 “with the purpose of producing traditional spirits with a Dutch heritage. These spirits are distilled and handcrafted primarily in Schiedam, South Holland, a village known as Genever-Town.” The company’s first two releases, Old Genever and Batavia Arrack Indonesian Rum with the U.S. market.

If you need a little primer on genever and arrack, read on:

The origin of English Gin is Dutch Genever. In 1650, Franciscus Sylvius, a Dutch doctor, created Dutch Genever as a medicine that was used by soldiers in the Thirty Years War. English troops hailed the spirit for its warming properties and calming effects, thus the phrase, “Dutch Courage.”

Batavia was the name of the capital city of the Dutch East Indies, and corresponds to today’s city of Jakarta. Batavia became the center of the Dutch East India Company trading network in Asia and commerce of Batavia Arrack was entirely in hands of the Dutch VOC. Almost all arrack exported to Europe arrived in Amsterdam or Rotterdam in wooden barrels, where it would then be matured and blended to create a spirit of consistent quality and fine flavor.

And now, for some reviews of these specific expressions:

By The Dutch Old Genever – “A handcrafted blend of pure malt wine and a distillate of Juniper berries and other botanicals, made according to a secret recipe dating back to 1942.” Quite malty on the nose, with heavy hospital notes and overtones of melon, banana, and pineapple. The palate continues the ultra-malty, layering in notes of juniper (quite mild), licorice, and some fleeting notes of cloves. The genever is round on the tongue, but the ultimate flavor profile is quite mild and limited in both its overall power and its interest level. There’s better genever out there. 76 proof. C+ / $27

By The Dutch Batavia Arrack Indonesia Rum – This is “a sugarcane molasses-based distillate produced exclusively on the island of Java, Indonesia. Setting it apart from the standard sugarcane rum is the addition of local red rice in the fermentation process. The Master Blender ages Batavia Arrack in oak barrels for up to 8 years, creating an extremely rich rum, deep in flavor, with a lovely, lingering finish.” On the nose: pungent and “rummy,” with big molasses, burnt sugar, and some forest floor notes. The palate is rough and rustic, a hearty maritime style of rum that kicks off with some briny character and leads to some interesting tropical flavors as well as notes of dark barrel char and heavily toasted spices. The finish is lengthy and reminiscent of cooked vegetables and coconut husk. It’s a curious and often intriguind sipper, but that said, Arrack is rarely drunk on its own; rather, it shows up from time to time in classic cocktail recipes — for which this bottle would seem well-suited. 96 proof. B / $34

bythedutch.com

Review: Spirits of Long Road Distillers – Vodka, Gin, Aquavit, Wendy Peppercorn, Cherry, and Wheat Whisky

Long Road Distillers, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has an exhaustive spirits catalog (now spanning 10 products), almost all of which is made from locally-sourced red winter wheat. Want to see how versatile a single grain can be? Here’s a look at five different spirits that Long Road makes from it (plus a cherry brandy made from local fruit).

Long Road Distillers Vodka – Quite pungent on the nose, with notes of mushroom, bean curd, and varnish. On the palate, there’s a vanilla cream and marshmallow sweetness but these can’t overpower the funky, shroominess of the experience — ultimately blurring the line between vodka and white whiskey. 80 proof. C- / $35

Long Road Distillers Gin – Six botanicals are used in the making of this gin, but none save juniper are revealed. And juniper is the primary aromatic and flavor element here, and it actually works well with that earthy, mushroomy base that is revealed in the vodka. Light citrus, both orange and lemon, show up on the palate later in the game, adding a much-needed layer of brightness and adding some acidity. The finish is on the earthy side, but works well enough with what’s come before to merit a cautious recommendation. 90 proof. B / $35

Long Road Distillers Aquavit – Long Road doesn’t disclose its aquavit botanicals, but the nose offers blatant caraway notes, giving it a rye bread character from start to finish. Long Road keeps it simple throughout — there’s no overload of herbs and spices to distract you, just a touch of mint on the finish and some coconut husk character — but if caraway’s not your bag, well, you’ll want to explore other spirits. 90 proof. B / $35

Long Road Distillers Wendy Peppercorn – This is an exotic name for an overproof vodka that’s spiked with pink peppercorns, pepper being a classic Scandinavian garnish. The nose is very fragrant, loaded with fresh pepper aromas along with a gentle fruit character that tempers the spice with sweetness. The palate is initially racy, but the pepper quickly settles down to reveal notes of fresh pine needles, cherry fruit, and a touch of antiseptic astringency. Approachable even though it’s over 50% abv, and fun to drink. Try it ice cold, of course. 101 proof. A- / $35

Long Road Distillers Cherry – This is Long Road’s cherry brandy, a limited release distilled from Michigan cherries. They are sweet and lush on the nose — Maraschino style cherries with a burst of sugar — but the palate takes that cherry and filters it through light notes of savory spices and a touch of roasted grains. The palate is less sweet than the amazingly expressive nose would indicate but it’s gentle enough to sip on and works well as a cocktail ingredient. 80 proof. B / $35 (375ml)

Long Road Distillers Wheat Whisky – Distill that red winter wheat and age it in a #3 charred oak barrel for 6 months and you’ve got Long Road’s wheat whisky. Nothing all that surprising here. This is a typically youthful craft spirit that offers a nose of heavy barrel char, toasty grains, and some butterscotch, all whipped into a slightly scattered experience. The body is loaded with that lumberyard character, then it quickly fades into notes of spent grain, mushroom funk, and more barrel char — though a solid vanilla character, layered with gingerbread, manages to come through clearly on the finish. 93 proof. Reviewed: Batch #2. B / $40

longroaddistillers.com

-->