All posts tagged: gin

Cocktail of the week no. 15: the Corpse Reviver no.2

The first time I came across the Corpse Reviver group of cocktails was reading P. G. Wodehouse, who on several occasions has Jeeves restoring Bertie from a hungover state with one of his ’tissue-restorers.’ Here’s one passage from The Code of the Woosters. “I loosed it down the hatch, and after undergoing the passing discomfort, unavoidable when you drink Jeeves’s patent morning revivers, of having the top of the skull fly up to the ceiling and the eyes shoot out of their sockets and rebound from the opposite wall like racquet balls, felt better.“ I have never been quite hardcore enough to indulge in hair of the dog cures, except once at university during a particularly hideous morning when half a Corona did considerably ease the pain. I really can’t imagine facing one of these in the morning, although I suppose, as Bertie’s experience testifies, you don’t do it for pleasure under those circumstances. As an evening snifter though, these are ideal, although something of the eyeballs shooting out of the head effect does remain – this …

Cocktail of the week no.14: the Aviation

Have I mentioned before how much I like crème de violette? Oh, yep, I think I have. And sour cocktails? That too. So I’ve been meaning to make this cocktail for quite some time, and after a long, long break from cocktails of the week (not that I wasn’t drinking them, believe), I finally got around to it. The Aviation is a pre-Prohibition cocktail that vanished from the scene for much of the twentieth century, only to be revived in the last decade. The absence of crème de violette (l’horreur) in America is largely to blame for its disappearance, and even now the ingredient is often listed as optional in recipes. But how could anyone voluntarily omit this AMAZING NECTAR? I’m actively looking for ways to use it that don’t involve just necking it from the bottle. This is a strong drink, containing as it does quite a lot of gin and not a huge amount of anything else. Ratios differ on the maraschino and lemon, and I went with slightly more lemon because… sour, I like …

Artesian: Best Bar in the World?

Well, this has been rather a long time coming. After a holiday from work and then a horrifying plunge back into work, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the cocktails. Time to catch up with a bar visit from waaaay back at the end of March. For a special occasion (ahem, major birthday), my friends and I took a trip to Artesian, the no.1 bar in the world according to this reputable authority. We were all dressed up and ever so slightly tipsy on French 75s when we arrived at the Langham Hotel, just north of Oxford Circus, where Artesian is located. It was a Saturday night and we were worried about queuing, (no reservations but it was pleasantly busy rather than heaving and we got right to a table by the window. The bar itself has a Chinoiserie theme, with an absolutely gorgeous back bar which I did not manage to get a photo of, and the drinks are Surrealism-themed, each with a hashtag to call their own. The presentation is… unique, …

Cocktail of the week no.13: the French 75

I have a birthday looming menacingly on the horizon, and I’d been waiting for this occasion to make a rather celebratory cocktail, the French 75. Not so much a cocktail for sipping on the couch on a weekday evening while watching Murder She Wrote (my normal MO), this champagne and gin concoction called for a slightly more special occasion. (Although now that I’ve realised how great they are, they might be making an appearance on sofa nights anyway.) This drink seems to have been popularised by Harry McElhone at his New York Bar in Paris in the 1920s, and apparently owes its name to a particularly effective 75mm artillery gun used by the French in World War I. Drinking a couple of these had a similar effect to getting shelled by one of the above, apparently (thank you Gin Foundry!). It really took off in the 40s after being ordered in Casablanca. It’s definitely worthy of its name, with a deceptively light, fruity taste but a kick like the hind leg of a horse (something I …

Cocktail of the week no.10: the Last Word

I’ve been dying to make this cocktail for ages, having had a great riff on it recently in a bar. It’s such a surprising mixture of flavours and a brilliant example of a drink that has had a real renaissance lately. It sounds like the oddest mixture of ingredients – gin, maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse, and lime juice in equal parts, but it somehow works fantastically well.  This is a cocktail which was only recently rediscovered (in 2005!) after long being out of favour.I don’t know how it fell out of favour in the first place, because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Somehow all these very powerful ingredients all manage to bring something out of each other that you wouldn’t get from each one alone. The strong, floral maraschino combines with the herby Chartreuse and the lime juice to make a flavour that suggests a powdery, perfumed apple. It’s such a weird combination of fresh, zippy flavours with flowery aromatics. I only bought a miniature Chartreuse for this, because I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, …

Take a Leap? The Leap Year Cocktail

I’m going to be stunningly original here – a Leap Year cocktail on February 29th! I do love the idea of Leap Day, that it’s a day to do things you might not normally do, but as with so many things in life, it’s mostly great because it reminds me of a great Frasier episode, which features this spectacular Daphne moment: “Tell me the truth. Is it as bad as I think it is?” “How… bad… do you think it is?” Taking a leap: not always the best idea? But what harm can we come to with this rather gentle cocktail? A simple concoction, invented by Harry Craddock at the Savoy to celebrate the occasion in 1928, it’s a bittersweet blend of gin, sweet vermouth, orange liqueur, and a hint of lemon juice. Thanks to The Kitchn for the recipe: Ingredients: 2 oz gin 3/4 oz orange liqueur (I used Cointreau) 1/2 oz sweet vermouth Dash of lemon juice Shake (or stir, since there’s so little lemon juice) over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a …

Cocktail Matching: Impressionists and a Water Lily Cocktail

Increasingly I find myself wanting to make cocktails to go with the things I enjoy doing. Currently I’m longing for spring, squinting up at trees to see if there are any leaves sprouting and peering at crocuses in the grass. In lieu of spring itself (it’s still COLD in London), I went to see the Royal Academy’s gorgeous ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition. It’s such a beautiful collection of paintings, from Monet’s huge, mournful late waterlily works, to some bright, vivid Expressionist ‘Avant-Gardens.’ There was no photography allowed inside, but here are some images of some of my favourite paintings to try and sum the experience up. If I could live inside any exhibition, I think it would be this one – it was such a riot of colour, bursting with flowers and sunshine, yet it was serene and gentle at the same time. I enjoyed this exhibition so much, and I wanted to make a cocktail that was colourful, fresh, and floral to go with it. Enter the very conveniently named Water Lily (thank you Saveur apparently an …

Cocktail of the week no.5: the Martinez

So I popped down to Gerry’s Wines and Spirits recently to get some new ingredients and expand my repertoire. It seems less common for people to make complex cocktails at home in the UK than it is in the US, perhaps because alcohol is generally more expensive here, so there aren’t a ton of stores that are really well-stocked. Gerry’s is the best in London as far as I can tell. The staff are really helpful, and I incidentally learned the correct way to pronounce ‘Tokaji’ when another customer was gently corrected (it’s Tok-eye). Among other things, I picked up some Old Tom gin, a style of gin popular in the 19th century, made obscure by the rise of London dry gin, and resurrected in the last decade or so. I bought it specifically to make a Martinez, an old relative, and supposedly the predecessor, of the Martini. I tried a Martinez for the first time recently at Bar Américain. It’s very different from a Martini, and not the easiest thing to drink, but it really stuck with me. It’s complex and bittersweet, featuring …

Bonus cocktail: the Princeton

I saw this drink browsing the ‘cocktails’ tag on my WordPress reader – thank you Rapid Cyclist! I spent 5 happy years in Princeton doing my PhD, and met my husband there, so this seemed like one I had to make. I’m not including it in my Cocktails of the Week, because it’s quite random, and I prefer to make my way through the big ones in that series, but it’s a great bonus! I looked up the cocktail, and found some more info at Serious Eats, of course. Apparently a barman named George Kappeler mixed a series of Ivy League themed drinks at the Holland House bar in New York in the late 19th century, as a way of currying favour with his student customers. Naturally, some of these cocktails are better than others. It’s doubly convenient because I just bought some Old Tom gin, and was wondering what else I could use it in, and we happen to have some nice port in the house too. I love the two tone effect of this cocktail, which is achieved …