Saturday, May 22, 2010

New favorite drink: Botanical Cocktail

About two weeks ago I received my copy of Gaz Regan's new book, The Bartender's Gin Compendium. I've been on a huge gin kick ever since my friend Adam introduced me to the Martinez. In the early pages of the book, Mr. Regan describes a drink common to the latter half of the 1800s called the Gin Cocktail. He sketches out a recipe of gin, simple syrup, bitters, and "perhaps a little curaƧao or or absinthe." Sounds good!

So, a few days ago I was browsing through the gin section at my local Wine and Spirits retailer, and I saw this thing I had never seen before called Square One Botanical.

From their website:

"Square One Botanical is a bold organic rye spirit, infused with a striking blend of 8 organic botanicals - pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, coriander and citrus peel. This enticing composition of organic fruit, floral and herbs creates a captivating fragrance and offers a seductive taste experience in cocktails."

They say that Botanical is not vodka. Because of its complex infusion, it is essentially a gin, but without the juniper. Gin is defined by its juniper flavor. In fact the word gin is actually a corruption of the British slang word gen, which is short for genever, which is the Dutch word for juniper. Genever was once a style of gin (now beginning to make a comeback) that had a very malty, almost whiskey-like palate, unlike today's highly refined gins. It is also the earliest known style of gin to become popular.

Anyway, not to bore you w/the details (although I do recommend that book), but this new spirit by Square One is distilled identically to gin, but w/out the juniper, which some are saying is a revolutionary idea, and possibly a completely new type of spirit. I'm actually pretty excited about it. So... on w/the cocktail:

Botanical Cocktail
2 oz Square One Botanical
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz absinthe (been using Pernod)
3-4 dashes of bitters (been using Angostura)

Stir well in broken ice and strain into cocktail glass. Amazing!


Luke said...

I also heart Gin. It should be drunk more often.

skmckinn said...

Genever, she's a cheater. Dabs Pine Sol behind her ears and goes out to meet the King.

I'll have to talk my dad into trying this less-astringent-sounding version of gin.

But I repeat, to all of you gentlemen, why drink gin--the drink of the Evil Empire and all of its accents--when you can drink Whisk(e)y?

It's Bourbon season, for the love of a grasshopper!
Four Roses
is my new favorite.

Digitizdat said...

Kate, fantastic imagery aside, you must give up this bias. 1) Gin is actually of Dutch descent, and 2) all of the gin I own thus far is actually distilled in Portland, OR, which appears to be a beehive of quality distilleries at the moment.

I haven't tried Four Roses yet, but it is MOST CERTAINLY on my list of things to try. I've recently developed an appetite for Bourbon (in the form of Manhattans), but so far it's been limited to Maker's Mark.

Great to see the old man branching out! Did you actually get Dame to try some, or is that an empty glass of beer? :)

skmckinn said...

Yeah, D drinks whiskey, now. This development is
1) good because he used to threaten to refuse to kiss me when I drank it (which, as you may have gathered, is often).
2) bad because there's less for me.

Okay, okay...gin. It's clear, and therefore evil, but... that's been proven wrong long ago by an unmarked bottle of Mezcal from Arizona that tasted like the ghost of a delicious bottle of Scotch wandering, howling in the Sierra Madre.

And I love bitters. And you've got two recipes here with bitters.

But, see? *Recipes*. I wince. The only recipe should be "put in glass, maybe with ice or a drop of water"...

Does this stuff taste good neat?

Digitizdat said...

The Botanical does taste pretty good neat. It has a very nice, herbal-botanical palate, with a confident hit of alcohol, but not at all fuel-like, in my opinion. Some lesser spirits have that rubbing alcohol nose as soon as you get near it, but Botanical is very smooth.

I can certainly appreciate your traditional approach to a drink, and I do favor trying things on their own to appreciate them for what they are. Of course a recipe should not be required to enjoy a quality spirit! But the creative study of mixing various spirits developed around the early 19th century, and America has made a substantial contribution to its development!

It's exciting to create something new! A good steak is amazing on its own, but plain steak every time can get old. Beef Daube! Beef Bourguignon! Steak au Poivre! Stuffed Flank Steak!

skmckinn said...

Oh, and I forgot--"The Empire and all of its accents" fits the Netherlands nicely. I stand by that one. East India Trading Company, human merchandise, all that good stuff...Cape Town. Afrikaans.

But Portland, Oregon is clean, as far as I know. Aren't they a colony of Sweden, or something?