The leaves are just past their peak, hinting at cold weather to come, but this sweet stretch of Indian summer calls for a gin and tonic! I propose this lovely berry twist on the classic, with a handful of mint from your outdoor planter before a killing frost claims it.
The G&T taste of summer transitions to fall with the addition of Creme de Cassis.
Blackberry & Mint G&T
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 5 mint leaves
- 1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
- 2 oz gin
- Top tonic
- Garnish: Two blackberries and a mint sprig
Method: In a tall glass, muddle mint leaves with lime and Creme de Cassis. Add gin, fill the glass with ice, then top with tonic. Stir. Garnish with two blackberries and a mint sprig.
I haven’t written about rum cocktails for awhile, so it was fortuitous that I received samples of a trio of Brugal rums from the Dominican Republic: the Brugal 1888, a sipper; Brugal Anejo, a dark rum; and Brugal Extra Dry, a light rum perfect for summer cocktails like the mojito or daiquiri. Brugal’s angle with the light rum is that it’s “extra dry.” How does this translates with taste? It’s light and crisp and not too sweet. And it mixes well with lemon juice and honey syrup to create the rummy Bees Knees.
This twist on a Bees Knees cocktail features smooth rum and bitters for extra spice.
Yes, it’s true that Bees Knees is a wedding season cocktail traditionally made with gin, but I think it works really well with rum. The honey syrup is naturally sweet, the perfect foil to the dry rum and tart lemon juice. I also love the addition of Angostura bitters — they add a spicy kick reminiscent of a rum punch but in a much lighter, more summery cocktail.
- 2 oz Brugal Extra Dry Rum
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey to water)
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe (I used a martini glass).
— Recipe courtesy Brugal Rum
I first heard of an Aviation cocktail in Victoria last October. I was in town for the Art of the Cocktail festival where I toured Victoria Spirits (makers of Victoria Gin) on the Saanich Peninsula. I asked gin distiller Peter Hunt what his favourite gin cocktail was. His answer: “An Aviation.”
Upon returning to Calgary I wrote a Spirited Calgary cocktail column called Tempting gin cocktails. I wanted to include an Aviation but didn’t want to purchase its obscure ingredients. So imagine my delight to discover an Aviation on the menu at Milk Tiger Lounge last week.
The pre-prohibition Aviation recipe calls for Creme de Violette.
The pre-prohibition recipe favoured by Milk Tiger bartender Nathan Head includes Creme de Violette, which adds the lovely lavender hue pictured above.
I already love gin with lemon juice (hello, Tom Collins), and the floral and sweet notes of the Creme de Violette offset the tart lemon and enhance the gin. You just need a little Creme de Violette, ditto the sweet maraschino liqueur. In a word — love — and I’m glad I finally understand why gin-lovers adore this drink.
- 1-1/2 oz gin
- 1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
- 1/4 oz Creme de Violette (Giffard brand)
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied or maraschino cherry (a good homemade one, or a brand like Luxardo, not the scary red ones).
— Recipe courtesy Nathan Head, Milk Tiger Lounge