Ginuary 23rd: Neville Longbottom.

Harry Potter fans, hollaback. There are some awesome clever folk out there on the internet who happen to be a) nerds for certain things and b) clever with a cocktail recipe, and while I’m definitely a), I’m not quite b) yet. But I’m definitely c) ready with a home bar and willing to take your crazy ideas for a spin.

Neville Longbottom

  • 45ml tea-infused gin
  • 30ml PIMM’S No. 1
  • 22.5ml lemon juice
  • 22.5ml sugar syrup

 

Combine all ingredients (tea infusion elaboration after the jump) and shake. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass (or perhaps a teacup?).

 

23-neville

As the Backyard Bartender says, “a little fussy, quintessentially British, and unexpectedly strong”. A fairly decent description of Neville Longbottom and the drink named after him.

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Gingredients: simple syrup / sugar syrup.

I first made my own batch of simple syrup a couple of months ago when I decided I was going to dedicate this summer to the Tom Collins. As my plan for Ginuary evolved, so did my smugness at already having some syrup in the fridge, ready to use. Thing is, I made around 700ml. I’m now halfway through Ginuary and I’ve made most of my drinks at home, so I knew I’d have to make more soon enough. I found some time to do that this weekend.

Sugar Syrup / Simple Syrup

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part sugar (caster)

 

Pour one part (I used three cups) sugar into an appropriately-sized saucepan and squash any lumps. Add one part (I used three cups) water. Heat the mixture on the stove, stirring constantly, until it reaches boiling point. Make sure all sugar granules are dissolved before you remove from heat, but note that the longer you boil, the thicker (and stronger) the mixture will become – so don’t leave it too long.

Wait until it cools and then decant into a bottle with a decent seal. Fridge that bottle!

 

Gingredients: sugar syrup.

 

It is actually that simple. (GEDDIT?) The above picture features, from left to right: ginger sugar syrup, mint sugar syrup, a homemade grenadine cheat, and regular ol’ simple syrup. I’ll post the grenadine cheat recipe some time in the not too distant future, I promise. But for now: sugar time.

Sugar syrup is used in a heckload of cocktails because dissolving sugar in a cocktail is annoying. It’s like when you don’t stir your sugar into your tea properly and you end up with an aggressively sweet mouthful right at the end. Blech. Step up: LIQUID SUGAR. Already dissolved for you, stirs/shakes/builds in with other liquid ingredients, has multiple uses (I’ve begun to regularly use it for homemade iced coffee in these summer months). Having a bottle already made up in the fridge is an excellent addition to your home bar.

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Ginuary 7th: Bramble.

I have this problem with being stubborn and dogged. Yesterday I went shop-hopping in search of the last few things I wanted for my home bar stock for Ginuary. I found what I was looking for but I also found out that they’re all quite expensive. Why aren’t there more small bottles sold? That would be of so much more benefit to the home barkeep.

Anyway, what I said about stubborn and dogged – I woke up this morning and felt ill at ease because I didn’t own a bottle of crème de mure. Despite seeing it on the shelves at one place yesterday for around $50, I woke up this morning and I had to have it. I had to have it because I couldn’t stop thinking about the Bramble.

Bramble

  • 45ml gin
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • 20ml crème de mure

 

Build the first three ingredients over crushed ice, in a whisky glass. Stir, then pour over the crème de mure. Garnish with a lemon slice and two raspberries.

 

I like to call him "the bram", or "brammo", or "chief".

The Bramble was created some time in the mid-1980s by Dick Bradsell at Fred’s Club in Soho, London. I used this source as my recipe because this dude is just so convincing. There’s another recipe out there with (I think) slightly different measurements, but also that suggests a garnish of four blackberries. The source I used is vehemently against that being the correct garnish, because bro reckons he worked with the creator himself. I’m not going to argue with that. It’s on the internet; it must be true.

Here are the ways in which I deviated, but not on purpose: I don’t have any Plymouth gin at the moment so I used my good friend Hendrick’s (another website references Hendrick’s so I figured it couldn’t be so bad, despite GOING AGAINST THE CREATOR’S WISHES). I don’t have any raspberries (but only because I didn’t realise I needed them until it was too late). And we’ll get to the ice later in the story.

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Ginuary 6th: Bronx.

Today I decided to begin the process of easing myself into the martini. I’m a big fan of the pre-prohibition cocktails, so I travelled back in time to… the Bronx.

Bronx

  • 45ml gin
  • 15ml dry vermouth
  • 15ml sweet vermouth
  • 30ml orange juice
  • couple of dashes of orange bitters

 

Pour all ingredients into a shaker, add ice and give it a good one. Strain (double strain if you’re using fresh juice) into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

 

FROM DA BRONX

I love how many of the older cocktails have contesting creation stories. The Bronx story that seems to have the most gumption is that of Johnnie Solon, a bartender at the Waldorf-Astoria who named the cocktail after the Bronx Zoo and its crazy animals. Some dude gave him an on-the-spot challenge along the lines of “I’M BORED, MAKE ME SOMETHING DELICIOUS THAT HASN’T EXISTED BEFORE!” and he followed through. Look, the story says that the cocktail was named because the bartender was thinking about all the crazy animals that drunk people would tell him about seeing, but clearly the dude demanding the new cocktail was what got him thinking about those animals. SETTLE DOWN, SON!

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The shopping list.

Okay, dudes. I’m going to level with you. In general, there are no Ginuary rules. Ginuary as an existing game is not a thing. There is no “Ginuary: As She Is Played” handbook. My Ginuary involves a level of complication that another person’s Ginuary may not contain. For example, another person’s Ginuary may just be “JANUARY: DRINK GIN”. And that’s cool. That’s totally fine by me. I mean, it’s not like Movember is anything other than “GROW A MOUSTACHE” (and raise money for men’s health but whatever). Or Oktoberfest is anything other than “DRINK ALL THE BEER” (actually there are probably other things involved there but all I get is DRINK ALL THE BEER”). If you want to participate in Ginuary but yours by definition is “ALL GIN, ALL THE TIME (in moderation)” then I have no problem with you AT ALL. As far as I’m concerned, any level of gin appreciation is a good level (in moderation).

Having said that, MY Ginuary theme is “gin a different way every day” and that’s the way my cookie crumbles. That’s the way I’m hoping my cookie crumbles, anyway. I’m not ruling out the possibility of scaling back the operation mid-month due to extreme exhaustion and/or distraction, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that. Plus I’ve already stocked the booze cabinet… speaking of which, if you want to play along with Ginuary.com, you will find your shopping list below.

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Are you ready?

Hello, gin lovers.

You’ve found it. Are you ready? You knew your time would come soon enough.

Here it is, coming soon: Your Time.

warning: do not consume (...yet)

Gingredients.

Shopping list coming soon, I promise.

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