Ginuary 4th: Leg Before Wicket @ Lantern’s Keep.

I moved to the big smoke today! I have to admit I was a little saddened to be leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan, because I’m a little more Brooklyn hipster than Manhattan socialite, but this isn’t a travel blog so let’s get down to the GIN.

I’m staying in the theater district, with Times Square right around the corner. The best drinking holes in Manhattan aren’t nearby, so I’ve been trying to do a bit of homework prep but there are still a lot of options available to me here. It’s glorious. But I’m still not talking about gin.

Thanks to some awesome door guys at the Iroquois Hotel watching my motorised scooter, I got to head down to the back of the hotel and pull up a lovely little marble table of my own at Lantern’s Keep. It’s a small, dark room with a killer cocktail list, all at the flat price of $16 a drink.

The cocktail list was so killer that I couldn’t decide—and I hadn’t had any of the gin drinks on the list. Oh my! I leaned toward the bartender for his advice and much to my delight, he engaged me in my favourite game—the Questions game. What’s my spirit? Gin. Do I prefer sweet, sour, bitter or citrus? … and this is where I failed badly at the Questions game tonight. I just had no clue what I wanted. But thanks to the bartender’s skills, I ended up with exactly what I needed.

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The Leg Before Wicket comes from back in the 1930s, or so cocktail sluzza tells me. It’s no surprise with that name, the drink recipe was first printed in Britain. I don’t even like or watch cricket but I’m Australian enough to know that ‘leg before wicket’ is a cricket thing, and I locked in my order by confirming “the LBW, thanks”.

Gin, Cynar, lime juice and Campari come together very nicely. The drink was so delicious and the atmosphere was so great that I have to be careful not to end up back there every night for the rest of my Manhattan stay. Let’s see how I go.

Ginuary 31st: Dry Martini.

Could you see this one coming? If you follow me on twitter, maybe so. If I actively called you out on how you like your martini, maybe quite easily.

It’s finally time for me to come clean and admit to you that tonight I drank my first real martini. No stuffing around, no using the word “martini” just because a concoction is served in a cocktail glass and includes gin, but a straight up dry martini with a twist, as recommended by quite honestly almost every person whose opinion I respect when it comes to gin.

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IXL Long Bar had a neat but excellent selection of gin, so I went with Tanqueray Ten. Noilly Prat was on hand for vermouth, and the twist was done beautifully.

It’s funny, I spent so long shying away from the martini because I wasn’t sure I was ready for it yet—even after drinking a pink gin (and Ginuary’s effort wasn’t even my first pink gin). Even after I went from fearing Campari at the start of last Ginuary to embracing it as 2012 continued. Even after drinking a particularly floral gin plain on the rocks earlier this month (not blogged—it was a bonus round).

My dry martini tonight was fresh and floral, nothing to fear. I had a second drink (an IXL Long Bar creation called the Windsor Knot) because I was in good company for my end of Ginuary celebration, and then over a dessert (we skipped dinner) featuring gin and rhubarb sorbet, I had another dry martini, because I bloody well could.

Thanks to you for reading another month of mad gin-themed shenanigans. I’m pretty happy that I’ve made it through another year and this year I didn’t get a blood test for something else and accidentally find out that my liver levels were elevated five times above where they should have been. Suck on THAT, liver! I ignored you this year! Actually I didn’t, I drank a lot of turmeric and black pepper tea and I tried to do a little more cooking with gin this year because I had your interests at heart, a little.

Perhaps this year I’ll be better at posting more during the non-Ginuary months. Wish me luck! Otherwise… let’s face it, I’ll probably just see you next year.

Ginuary 30th: White Lady.

I’m here tonight to admit that my first proper accidental drunken night of Ginuary has occurred. I’m here to admit that it wasn’t entirely accidental but perhaps ended up a little more accidental drunken than I first assumed. Anyway. You’ll see why.

The White Lady

  • 60ml gin
  • 30ml Cointreau
  • 30ml lemon juice

 

Shake all ingredients with cracked ice; strain into a cocktail glass or coupe.

 

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Here’s the thing. The White Lady is one of those prohibition-era cocktails that has a bajillion recipe variations swimming around, which normally wouldn’t phase me if they were based on ingredient measurements. But the White Lady is different in that one of the contentious things is one of the ingredients—egg white. Y’all remember how I feel about egg white? I wasn’t content with one or the other, White Lady. Oh no. I had to try it both ways.

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Ginuary 29th: Bijou.

Time for something a little more classic.

Bijou

  • 30ml London dry gin
  • 30ml green Chartreuse
  • 30ml sweet vermouth
  • dash orange bitters

 

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use as garnish.

 

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The reference I used for today’s gin describes the Bijou as “bombastically herbaceous” and I wholeheartedly agree. The first cold sip was OBNOXIOUSLY herbal, but I have to say as the drink warmed up, so did my feelings for it.

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Ginuary 16th: Martinez.

Another day, another pre-prohibition cocktail. The Martinez is a hotly debated drink, for it’s origin (and alleged roots in the origin of another little cocktail called the Martini) and also, as with a lot of drinks that come from the pre-prohibition era, for it’s quantities.

Martinez

  • 45ml gin
  • 30ml sweet vermouth
  • 7.5ml maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

 

Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

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Look up a recipe for Martinez and almost every one you find will have a variation to it. The earliest versions outweighed the gin with the sweet vermouth, but seeing as this is Ginuary and not Vermouthary I thought I’d try one of the more modern adaptions, most of which put more weight in gin’s presence.

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Ginuary 15th: Gin Toddy.

I was at a bit of a loss this morning. I think it was the first morning I sat down and properly thought, “What gin comes next?” Considering we’re now halfway through Ginuary, I’d say that’s pretty good. Of course, things were even better once I’d had my daily gin.

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Gin toddy, cool day.

 

Today’s concoction came courtesy of Brent at T42 on the gorgeous Elizabeth St Pier down on Hobart’s iconic waterfront (sorry, did those buzzwords just spill from my fingers?).

I sidled up to the bar and said, “Hello, how do you feel about gin?”

Brent laughed and replied, “You’ve come to exactly the right person.”

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Ginuary 11th: Pegu Club.

I was going to save this for later in the month, but what if I died tomorrow? What then? Live in the present, people.

Pegu Club

  • 90ml gin (Plymouth or London Dry)
  • 30ml Cointreau (or Orange Curacao, if you must)
  • 22.5ml fresh lime juice
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • dash of orange bitters

 

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass or one of those fancy-lookin’ kinda cylindrical ones. Garnish with lime, as a twist or a wheel or a wedge or whatever floats your boat.

 

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The Pegu Club is another British Empire classic, named for the actual club in it was originally served. I went straight to the Gin is In’s Cocktails By Consensus for today’s recipe, because I know this drink is a favourite of Aaron’s and he wouldn’t lead me astray.

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Ginuary 6th: Patricia.

There were a couple of options I could have chosen at the Woods of Windsor tonight. I’d never heard of Patricia before, but there was something about the old matron I couldn’t resist.

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Laurent Perrier, gin, lemon and rose water. Sweet, tart, sassy, and served in a coupe glass. I’m in. Lets run away together, Patricia. Are you really a classic? I’ve never heard of you before. It’s okay; being obscure is fine. Let’s go live in the woods.

(My birthday weekend has been kinda large.)

Ginuary 4th: Pink Gin.

I have to admit that I’m not quite on my A-Game yet as far as Ginuary’s concerned. The festive season’s been a flurry of activity for me and I haven’t really settled, so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to stock the home bar adequately. No sugar syrups, no inventory checklists, not a lot on hand for garnishing. I’m actually about to jump a plane to Melbourne for the weekend, so getting organised is still on hold.

It was pure luck that a twitter acquaintance queried me about pink gin earlier today, giving me fodder for the 4th of Ginuary.

Pink Gin

  • 60ml Plymouth gin
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

 

Get a glass chillin’—I was first served this drink in a coupe, so that’s what I’m sticking with, but some recipes suggest a cocktail glass, and one even suggests a rocks glass (but as there should be no ice in a pink gin, I’m going to suggest you stick with the coupe or cocktail).

 

Swirl a few drops of bitters in the glass for a rinse, shake out any excess (or leave in, if you really want). Add a double shot (or 1.5, you pansy) of chilled Plymouth. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

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Wanna pretend you’re a member of ye olde schoole British Navy? Drink this. Pink gin has been around since the mid-19th century, originally dreamt up as a more appealing way to dose oneself with some good ol’ medicinal Angostura bitters (identified as a seasickness remedy in the early 1800s—hence the alignment with the Navy). This drink is old, and this drink is delightful.

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Ginuary 2nd: Red Snapper.

I made it home from the festival quite late last night. This morning when I woke up, I was exhausted. As far as I could tell, there was only one way to fix that.

Red Snapper

  •  90ml gin
  • 180ml tomato juice
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3-6 dashes Tabasco
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp horseradish cream
  • a sprinkle of black pepper

 

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a large ice-filled Collins glass, or a big wine glass if you’re feeling fancy. Garnish with a celery stalk or I’ll hunt you down and smack you with said celery stalk. You can rim the glass with some cracked black pepper and celery salt if you can be bothered (I wasn’t).

 

Red Snapper in its natural habitat

If you didn’t know before reading this post and you haven’t already guessed from the recipe, the Red Snapper is the gin alternative to the infamous vodka-based Bloody Mary. It’s also the superior version, if you ask me.

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