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.
Ever since the bar at Earls switched over to fresh herbs, juices and house made syrups back in 2011, I have been a big fan of their cocktails. Beverage director Cameron Bogue refreshes the list every four months or so, and I had the opportunity to sample a selection of their summer sips at Earls Tin Palace in Mission last week.
The menu includes a great mix of classics such as a margarita, amaretto sour and even a re-imagined pina colada (with fresh watermelon). But it was the light, lemony taste of the Bees Knees, sweetened with honey and Cointreau, that seemed the most apropos for spring. And that glass! Too cute, and its contents are tasty to boot. You might say it’s the bee’s knees (sorry).
I love this spring cocktail. Gin, lemon juice and honey suits the season, plus the Cointreau is a nice touch. And how cute is that glass?
Earls Bees Knees
- 3/4 oz honey syrup
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz Hendricks gin
- 3/4 oz Cointreau
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: Lemon zest and a wooden honey dipper
Method: Measure all ingredients (except garnish) into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Top the mixing glass with a stainless steel shaking tin. Shake ingredients vigorously 12 times to mix. Strain the cocktail into a honey bear jar over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon zest and a wooden honey dipper.
— Recipe courtesy Earls
We finally made it to Anju. Not only does this Korean small plates restaurant on 17th Ave. S.W. have tasty bites to eat (the Crispy Tofu is amazing!), the cocktails are good, too. Many have an Asian bent, thanks to the use of ingredients such as black sesame syrup, yujacha (a Korean citrus tea) and ginseng bitters.
I loved The Hall of Fame, a bourbon-based cocktail with lemon juice, dry curaçao and Yellow Chartreuse. The game changer is the Korean Plum Syrup; it adds a unique sweet flavour that rounds out the drink. It’s a bit complicated to make at home (recipe below), but now you know where to order it!
Another great winter cocktail, with bourbon and Korean plum syrup.
The Hall of Fame
- 1.5 oz bourbon
- .5 oz dry curaçao
- .25 oz Yellow Chartreuse
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz Korean Plum Syrup*
- Lemon twist garnish
Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Korean Plum Syrup
- Korean plum tea (available at Korean markets)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup marmalade-like jam (available at Korean markets)
Method: Steep tea in hot water. Add jam and combine until a syrup-like consistency is achieved (you may have to add a bit more hot water).
— Recipe courtesy Anju