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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with gin

31Jul 12

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple

The Bronx CocktailThroughout history, the names of many drinks have been associated to places. This is due to the fact that some cocktails are named after the town they are first concocted in. On other occasions, the mix earns its name after the region where the main ingredient in it is grown or distilled. The drink I want to tell you about today has a powerful name, and is one of the 5 cocktails named after one of
New York City´s five boroughs: The Bronx Cocktail.

The Bronx cocktail is basically a perfect martini with orange juice added. In 1934, it was ranked third in “The World´s 10 most famous cocktails”, which made it a very popular rival to both the Martini and the Manhattan. And although it does not have the glamour of any of the latter, it is certainly a drink with a great story behind it.

According to the official historian of the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, the inventor of the cocktail was Johnnie Solon, a pre-Prohibition bartender at the hotel in the late 1890s. One evening, the head waiter of the Empire Room, the main dining room in the original Waldorf, dared Solon to concoct a new drink. He claimed even the regulars thought he couldn´t come up with something new. So Solon got down to business.

He prepared the cocktail, and in his own words: “I didn´t taste it myself, but I poured it into a cocktail glass and handed it to the head waiter, because he was actually a pretty good judge.” The waiter tasted it, and then chugged it all. He loved it, and asked Solon to mix another to pass around. The cocktail became an instant classic.

After-dinner drinks can be taken with dessert as well. I recommend this dark chocolate and orange mousse dessert to pair with the Bronx. As they both have a sweet orange taste, I think the flavour would be fantastic!

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
The Bronx cocktail is basically a Perfect martini with orange juice added
Ingredients
  • 3cl Gin
  • 1,5cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  • 1cl Dry Vermouth
  • 1,5cl Orange Juice
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Pour it all into a chilled glass.

 

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21Jun 12

The martini, a glamourous escape from reality

MartiniA couple of weeks ago, I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a business trip. The company I was consulting for put me up at the Faena Hotel in a very fancy part of town, Puerto Madero. It’s actually a bit like the Lower East side of Manhattan, but with a Latin touch. On the Friday after my arrival, I wandered into the hotel’s bar, the Faena Cabaret, for a drink. The whole place looked like it was a set for the new James Bond saga, so I decided to order a cocktail fit for the occasion: a martini.

Even if the Martini became a worldwide classic with James Bond’s immortal phrase “shaken not stirred”, many other famous and powerful people have favoured this rather simple mix over the last hundred years. Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote, amongst others, have added to the lore of this cocktail which is linked to status, fame and glory. There is something about just ordering it which transports one to a better place, where dreams and real life collide, if only for a while.

The exact origin of the martini is unclear. One theory suggests it comes from a cocktail called a Martinez, which was first served at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco in 1862. According to the myth, people used to gather in this bar before taking the evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez. Another story claims it is named after a famous bartender who first concocted the drink at the Knickerbockers Hotel in New York City, in 1913.

A martini is made by mixing gin and dry vermouth, which is a fortified white wine, infused, distilled or macerated with herbs, spices, caramel and other ingredients. A quality martini should taste very clean and dry, go down smooth, and have some light herbal flavors (from the gin) and a little bit of tang (from the olives and vermouth).

Needed:

  • 3cl gin
  • 1.5cl dry vermouth
  • A couple of olives or lemon twist

How it’s made:
1.Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.
2.Shake or stir for half a minute.
3.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4.Garnish with an olive or lemon twist.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

Note: As you probably know, this is the classic martini, but there are an endless number of varieties. One such example is this Green Cowboy Martini. Not quite the original, but an interesting twist!

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18Jun 12

The white lady, a gin classic with style

White Lady CocktailAlthough I can’t honestly say I am a big gin drinker, there is one gin that I do enjoy once in a while: the white lady. Today, I want to tell you about this drink and also about gin in general because there are some very interesing facts about it. (For another surprisingly good gin cocktail, try this French ’75.)

One thing which has always struck me about gin is that, contrary to most spirits, it is said to have been invented by a person instead of a brand or country. Professor Franciscus de la Boe (1614-1672), lecturer of medicine at Leiden University, presented gin for the first time for medical purposes. He started off distilling alcohols and then mixed them with a type of berry called “juniperus communis”. The fruit was also known by its French name, genivere, that was called genever in The Netherlands and finally gin in English. It became popular in the United Kingdom amongst the soldiers that came home after battles on the European continent. Furthermore, in 1708, Queen Anne taxed imported spirits heavily and lowered them for local producers, thus creating a flourishing local production of the spirit and a rise in its popularity.

Today, there are two basic types of gin in the market: the British version, called just gin or London gin, and the Dutch version, called Geneva schnapps or Holland’s gin. The fruit used to give gin its aroma is still the berry, produced in Germany or Italy.

The white lady is a very sophisticated beverage, and usually an after-dinner drink. The name itself is reminiscent of a posh evening party. It has a clean, fresh taste and is always best served extra cold. Although many people have had bad experiences with gin, this is a cocktail which is not very alcoholic; hence, the chance of a hangover is slim. As I said at the beginning, I am not a big gin drinker, but I definitely recomend a white lady once in a while.

Needed:

  • 3cl gin
  • 1cl Cointreau
  •  1cl lemon juice
  • Ice

How it’s made:

1.Pour all beverages into a cocktail shaker.
2.Shake for no less than 30 seconds. (This cocktail must be served extra cold. If you are hosting a party, make sure to chill your cocktail glasses before serving.)
3.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Time: 3 minutes

Makes: 1 cocktail

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17May 12

Tom Collins

Tom CollinsDuring my years on the road, I have learnt a great deal about local drinks and mixes in the different regions I have visited. And although every country is proud of a particular beverage, there are drinks which are famous anywhere you go. The Tom Collins is one of them. Whether in South America or Asia, in a big city or a beach bar, this cocktail is a must on every bartender’s list.

The main ingredient to a Tom Collins is gin. It’s a tremendously refreshing drink and great to sip on hot, damp afternoons while watching the West Indies play England at cricket in Barbados. This is actually where I started drinking it.

According to history, the Tom Collins was first mixed by an American bartender named James Collins, somewhere in the state of New York in the late 1870s. As the story goes, he used Old Tom gin, a sweeter type than the London dry brand, to prepare the cocktail. He then named the drink using a mix of both his name and the gin’s.

The Tom Collins became so famous worldwide that there is even a cocktail glass named after it. It became so popular, that it has inspired a load of spin-off drinks such as:

  • John Collins (replace the gin with whiskey)
  • Joe Collins (replace the gin with scotch)
  • Ivan Collins (replace the gin with vodka)
  • Sloe gin Tom Collins

To me, it tastes like delicious lemonade, with no noticeable alcohol trace. This can be very dangerous, especially on a warm afternoon in a tropical country. In other words, be careful how many you drink if you intend to walk back to your hotel after 7 hours of cricket.

Needed:

  • 45ml Old Tom gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of super fine sugar
  • 60ml club soda
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 slice of orange

How to prepare it:
1. In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well.
2. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes.
3. Add the club soda.
4. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.

Time: between 2 and 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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10May 12

Negroni

NegroniIf I were able to choose where I came from, without thinking twice, I would pick Florence, Italy. Ever since I spent a couple of months in the city a few years ago, I fell in love with the architecture and the passionate way Italians speak and gesture with their hands in order to communicate. Also, one of my favourite drinks was invented in Florence: The Negroni.

Very typically Italian, where everything is extravagant and over-the-top, the Negroni has not one or two, but three main ingredients: Gin, Campari and Sweet Red Vermouth. Campari is the one that really struck my attention because I had not seen it in a great many drinks before the Negroni. Campari is an alcoholic apéritif obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. It is described as a bitter.

So where does the name of the drink come from? In the 1920’s, Florentine aristocracy used to meet at the Café Casoni, in a beautiful Renaissance building downtown Florence. The trendy drink for aristocrats at the time was the American cocktail, mixed with equal parts of Campari and Sweet Red Vermouth. History has it that Count Negroni grew bored of the drink and, one evening, asked his favourite bartender, Fosco Scarelli, to add gin into his American cocktail to see what would happen. The result is that almost 100 years later, Negroni is one of Italy’s favourite drinks. When asked about the drink, a friend from Florence boasted that he had more Negroni than blood in his system.

Whatever the season, whether served as a summer negroni or winter cocktail, this beverage is usually offered as an appetizer, as Campari is meant to awaken your taste buds and get you ready for a meal. Also, you’ll want to drink it slowly because it is a rather strong mix. As a cocktail, it is an acquired taste, and once you get used to it, the Negroni grows on you, just as everything Italian has been growing on me ever since I went to Florence for the first time.

Needed:

  • 3cl Gin
  • 3cl Campari
  • 3cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange slice

How to make a Negroni:

  1. Pour all ingredients directly into an old fashioned glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with half an orange slice and a stirrer.

Time: about 1 minute
Makes: 1 cocktail

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06Apr 12

Singapore Sling

Singapore SlingWhen I think of extravagant places I have visited, Singapore always pops up in my mind. Although it is as complex and beautiful as the rest of Southeast Asia, there is something about this place that makes it unreal. The same happens whenever I taste the most famous cocktail this tiny country has ever produced: the Singapore Sling.

The drink is said to have originated at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel (named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company in 1819) by a bartender called Ngiam Tong Boon sometime in the early 1920’s. When in this country, you will be offered the Singapore Sling, also referred to as “the lion’s drink”. This is due to the fact that Singapore means “lion city” in Malayan.

The key (and often overlooked) ingredient in a Singapore Sling is Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur which boasts over 30 herbs in its mix. According to history, it was originally meant as a woman’s drink, hence the attractive pink colour and sweetness in its taste.

Another component is a dash of Angostura Bitters which adds a nice touch to various tipples, such as a magic flute or champagne cocktail.

This drink is extravagant as it mixes together 8 different beverages. That’s a lot for a country which is one of the 15 smallest in the world! Another enlightening fact is that Singapore has the world’s third highest GDP per capita and has the largest man-made fountain in the world.

Probably the oddest fact about this cocktail is that no one really knows what the original recipe is. The closest, though, is probably the one served at the Raffles Hotel. So if you are ever in Singapore, I highly recommend you visit the place and try this magnificent and extravagant cocktail.

Ingredients:
• 30 ml Gin.
• 15 ml Cherry Brandy.
• 120 ml Pineapple Juice.
• 15 ml Lime Juice.
• 7.5 ml Cointreau.
• 7.5 ml Dom Benedictine.
• 10 ml Grenadine.
• A Dash of Angostura Bitters
• Club soda.

How to prepare it:
1. Put the Gin, Benedictine, Lime juice, Grenadine, Cointreau, Pineapple juice and Bitters in a shaker with cracked ice and shake five times.
2. Pour into a chilled Collins glass.
3. Top off with club soda.
4. Pour Brandy over the back of a spoon into the center.
5. Garnish with a cherry and an umbrella.

Time: between 3 and 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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