Grow Your Own

This is the time of year Swizzle likes to reference the great Amy Stewart book The Drunken Botanist.   This is a classic!  Growing your own herbs and cocktail ingredients is not only economical, but makes you look pretty fancy when mixing for friends.  We typically grow the staples of our summer drinks. We already have thyme, basil, rosemary and the ever popular mint growing on our patio.  These are easy to grow in any climate and in the ground or containers.  Believe us when we say you will use these often!

Taking things a bit further, growing ingredients for shrubs, simple syrups and general cocktail use can be quite a kick, as well.  We love cultivating rhubarb, blueberries, tomatoes and peppers.  All of which are used throughout summer for freshly harvested cocktails.

Break out your green thumb and give it a try!  You won’t regret it when you pour yourself a Gin and Rosemary Lemonade or a Bloody Mary with fresh peppered tomato juice.  Cheers to warmer weather!

Drinko de Mayo

Ok.  It’s May 5th.  Technically not a holiday, but we here in the US have made it one.  An excuse to eat guacamole and drink tequila unabashedly.  Below are a couple of our favorite cocktails to try today.  Salud!

Mezcal Buzz from The Canon Cocktail Book

1 1/2 ounces of mezcal
1/2 ounce ginger syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 dashes lime bitters
1 large egg white
3 ounces ginger beer
lime wedge or twist as garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the mezcal,
ginger syrup, lime juice, bitters and egg white.
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled fizz glass.
Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge or twist.

Photo: The Canon Cocktail Book

Salt Air Margarita from José Andrés’ Minibar

1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
Ice
1 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
SALT AIR
4 ounces water
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Sucro
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila,
Cointreau and lime juice and shake well.
Strain into a chilled coupe.
MAKE THE SALT AIR:
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
Using an immersion blender, mix until bubbles form.
Carefully spoon on top of the drink.

Photo: Food and Wine Magazine

For the Love of Gin

Any reader of this blog or follower on Instagram will learn that we have a bit of a crush on gin.  Actually, it’s more than a crush, we are already sharing a place together.  It gives me a chuckle as this was the spirit that I may have enjoyed a bit too much of at one time, and we broke up.  Since our reunion, gin has become a staple and we hope to remain that way.  It was no surprise when we were recently gifted with Aaron Knoll’s book, Gin – The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival.  Admirers of the herbaceous spirit may know Mr. Knoll from his gin-centric blog, The Gin is In.

This outstanding book is the ideal guide for anyone curious about gin’s history, it’s current state and where it is going.  Two main highlights for us are the sections on the Botany of Gin and the Distillery Profiles.  After completing the botany section, one really feels they have a better understanding of how the herbs play off of each other.  Let’s just say Angelica is much more commonly used than we ever knew.  (pictured below in a gorgeous page from the book)

The other great highlight is the features on Distilleries.  It’s great to see and hear the stories of where our favorite gins have been crafted.  Our “house” gin is Sipsmith (photo from the book below) and they have been at the forefront of the distilling revolution that has transpired in London.  They are using copper pots for the first time in nearly 200 years!  Those of us in the States should be seeing Sipsmith more and more as Beam Suntory has taken a controlling stake in the company.

We are well into Spring here and gin and tonic season is upon us.  Take a page from Mr. Knoll’s book and find a gin to try this season.  Something new.  Something a bit daring.  You may find yourself surprised and starting a relationship with with a new friend.