Friday Night Cocktails: three gin classics

The word “gin” can be found in one form or another in many languages. All are referencing the humble, exceedingly abundant Juniper plant Juniperus communis, whose berries give this drink its distinctive quality, setting it apart from competitors such as vodka, whiskey and brandy, to name but a few. [1] Since the age of Hogarth, via the teetotal antics of Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen, down to the louche pleasures of the jazz age, it has always retained that naughty glamour beloved of true epicureans in all lands and cultures.

The most cursory glance at a cocktail users manual reveals a bewildering variety of gin based numbers, as this gregarious spirit will mix with vermouths, fruits, blenders, and other spirits of all classes. An immense read! And a worse morning after, if you tried them all in one sitting! Forcing us thereby to make a simple choice on these grounds: we like ’em. Nevertheless we have tried to include at least a “tall” and a “short”; and if these please you, we can always return to theme at a later date.

Classic Short: The Dry Martini The pre-dinner aperitif for sophisticates from the Bronx to old Bombay, the secret is to stir, not to shake. Thank you, Mr Bond! Put five ice cubes in a mixing glass and add a half measure of dry vermouth. Then three measures of dry London gin. (none of yer poncey modern ones here, squire) Stir firmly but slowly and pour into a chilled cocktail glass, losing the ice on the way. Add one Andalucian olive on a stick, and decorate with a a perfectly-cut strip pf lemon peel. We won’t tell you how to dress, gentle readers; but somehow full evening dress, black tie, white shirt, etc, really enhances the flavour of this one.

Fruity Mix :The Luigi Like a Bach fugue, we will now expand a little on our basic themes. Again put your cubes into a mixing glass. add three measures of gin, one of Cointreau, one of dry vermouth and one of grenadine. Finally, one of best fresh orange juice. Stir and pour, sin hielo, into a different clean cocktail glass. Decorate with a slice of blood orange. Again, best drunk in evening attire, but with your light summer jacket.

Cool and Languid: The Singapore Sling For us, this still beats all the other long summer cocktails, even Pimms. You’ll need your best mixer. Into which add 8 ice cubes, three measures of gin, 1 measure of cherry brandy, and the juices of both half a lemon and half an orange. For the piece de resistance, add a dash of angostura bitters, just to pull the whole thing back to a more grown up taste, and shake vigorously. Pour with the ice into a long glass and add a little ice cold sparkling water to top up. Decoration: give it a tropical theme: slices of lemon or orange help, or even a discrete cherry on a stick. Who said something about your five-a day? Dress notes Best taken in a Hawaiian shirt after a long day on the beach.


#gin #cocktails #katherine hepburn #william hogath

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