The Case for Gin or: How to Eat an Onion
“Oh, I don’t like gin.” Bartenders too often acquiesce to this common opinion. Why do so many people have this attitude? Simple, right? They taste gin and they “don’t like gin.”
Most spirits are drinkable straight, but gin is generally meant to be mixed. It’s the quintessential cocktail spirit. If I handed you a raw onion and told you to try it, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t enjoy that teary bite. So, do you not like onions?
As “internet personality” Maddox writes, “everything worth eating has onions in it.” Between raw onions, cooked onions, fried onions, and onion-powder, onions give pretty much everything flavor. You know what doesn’t have flavor? Vodka.
“Oh but Dan, I like flavored vodkas!” Oh ya? Well, I have news for you: Gin is basically flavored vodka. It’s a typically a neutral spirit infused with a basket of botanicals. I won’t get delve into the history of gin right here, but the gin most people are familiar with utilizes juniper berries as its predominant ingredient. But the distillery can use whatever combination of botanicals it chooses such as licorice root, lemon peel, or lavender.
I’ve decided to ease the skeptics in by highlighting a gin that’s infused with cucumber and rose petals: Hendrick’s. Today’s cocktail is a Legal Sea Foods invention (with my slight modifications). I present the Deadrise (named after a traditional fishing boat that is often used to catch oysters).
- 1.5 oz Hendrick’s gin
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Muddle 3 cucumber “coins” (about half inch thick)
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 2 dashes of grapefruit bitters
Hard Shake with ice. Double strain; Served Up. Feel free to enjoy with oysters.
Another cocktail I really adore that uses a more common style of gin is the Bohemian. The drink was created by the great Boston bartender, Misty Kalkofen.
- 1 oz Beefeater Gin
- 1 oz St. Germain
- 1 oz Grapefruit Juice
- 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Hard Shake with ice. Served Up.
St. Germain has wonderful floral notes and a touch of candied grapefruit flavor that makes it a perfect match for actual grapefruit juice and the brightness of a London Dry gin. Revealing to people that there is gin in the drink, and the surprise that follows, after they tell me how much they enjoy it is one of my small pleasures in life.