Shop + Learn: Botanical Spirits
On the nose, gins are often bright, alcoholic, and noticeably forest-y thanks to the juniper. Aquavit, a native of Scandinavia, on the other hand, is typically dominated by either caraway or anise in place of juniper, making for a spicy, savory cocktail. But each brand has unique characteristics driven by their botanical makeup on top of those cores, and each will steer cocktails in different direction. With the craft spirit movement in full swing worldwide, gin has become a way for producers to identify a sense of place through botanicals. The result is a golden age of botanical spirits, and we can now choose from a larger palette of selections than ever. Here, we focus on just a few, but your local bottle shop is a wonderful place to peruse & learn.
Gin & Tonic
The gin and tonic is perhaps even more popular than the Whisky Highball, perhaps because of how its two simple ingredients interact with each other. Tonic water isn't just a bitter seltzer; it also has a fair amount of sugar, giving it a sweetness that helps highlight the botanical flavors of high-proof gin while curbing its alcohol heat. And while we are in the golden age of gin, tonic producers are coming along for the ride. You can now often find dozens of tonic brands at your local bottle shops, many of which are made for their interaction with gin.
The Many Faces of a Martini
By our definition, a Martini can be called a Martini if it's made with booze and vermouth, without much else added. Gin. Aquavit. Vodka. Each can make a great martini, and each should be treated differently in its creation of this highly customizable cocktail. Whereas many cocktails are defined by the strong personalities of their ingredients, the Martini is defined by minutiae - the small changes that can push the drink in many directions.
When working with ingredients from which we want to extract as much fresh, vibrant flavor as possible, cold maceration helps draw out the desired flavors (think cold brew coffee). One such method is fat washing. When alcohol is combined with a fatty ingredient (such as butter, cream, oil, or animal fats) and then frozen, the fat will congeal into solids that can easily be strained out, leaving just the flavor of that fat in the alcohol. This is a great technique for introducing richness into cocktails that aren't rich. We recommend Bimini Coconut Gin as a great example of the result of fat washing using coconut oil.
Fellow Classics: Fresh Gimlet
As Death & Co extensively explained in Cocktail Codex, every recipe is a riff on a classic. Here, we offer guidance on these templates as a great starting point for any original creation.
Fellow Tips: We swap the classic lime cordial for fresh lime juice, essentially making it a Daiquiri made with gin, to get a bright pop of citrus.