Part of the reason vodka is so dang popular is that it's sort of like a blank canvas on which to paint your own liquid masterpiece. Because it's literally designed to be flavorless, it magically takes on the flavors of whatever you pair it with, (think the tofu of the booze world). This makes it the ideal spirit for infusions. Surely you've seen these: chunks of months-old fruit floating in huge glass jars in your favorite fancy bar. Lychee-infused vodka, kumquat-infused vodka, cucumber/dandelion/pork chop-infused vodka. Whatever your heart desires. We took on the challenge, for the sake of this August newsletter, to find the best tasting, most refreshing, and most summer-timey vodka infusion for your mixing adventures. And we've finally found it.
It's called gin.
The name 'gin' is derived from geniêvre (French), jenever (Dutch) and ginepro (Italian), all of which mean "juniper".
I know, I know. I had a bad experience with gin at 21 too. Most of us have had a bad experience with every class of spirits in our early days, and yet it's always poor ol' gin that takes the heat. (Okay, sometimes tequila. Alright, a lot of times tequila.) But just as tequila is off the hook lately as the spirits available now vs then have increased exponentially in quality, so too should gin be. And we weren't misleading you with all that infused vodka business! Gin is nothing more than vodka with a bunch of delicious botanicals steeped in it. And these days, those botanicals range from the old school (juniper, citrus peel, bitter roots) to new and exciting flavors such as lavender, cardamom and sarsaparilla, like this month's featured spirit, Aviation American Gin.
This bright, floral, sometimes spicy spirit makes for the perfect summer cocktail, whether you're just enjoying it with tonic and a big squeeze of citrus, super clean in a dry martini, or want to get really fancy and get muddlin'. Its botanical backbone provides the structure needed to take your old vodka cocktail to the next level. At any rate, give gin another go. It's not just better than you remember- it might be your new favorite spirit.
We've included two cocktail recipes here celebrating both the new and old.