The return of gin cocktails

Gin is not very popular in India as a standalone drink. But it remains an ingredient of choice for the discerning cocktailista.

By Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: Nov 4, 2007

Bottoms up
You want to do a story on what?” asked a rather perturbed Rishi Raj Singh when this reporter explained this story to him. Even a mixer as experienced as the Food and Beverage Manager at ITC Maurya’s Dublin was surprised at our request.

You see, Gin, the alcohol derived from juniper berries, went out of style along with the bow-tie, and while most bars still serve gin, the dirty secret they don’t tell you is that it is possibly the slowest moving alcohol they have.

Other than an ingredient in some popular cocktails, few people actually ask for gin. Maybe the occasional Singapore Sling, which Singh contends most bartenders don’t know how to make properly, and the even rarer Martini made the proper way (with gin instead of vodka).

But Singh is a sport, and decided to take us on our challenge to make some exciting new gin cocktails. So, here is what he cooked up, three new cocktails and one classic one, each quite delicious. So, next time you see that forlorn bottle of gin lying around in your bar, you know what to do.

 New gins for a new generation

 The newer gins still have the edgier juniper taste but also have a host of other flavours added through sometimes strange distillation processes.
It’s actually made by William Grants & Co, famous for that delightful Single Malt called Glenfiddich. This bottle advertises itself as: "The unexpected infusion of cucumber and rose petals results in a most iconoclastic gin." Hmmm, worth a few drinks then.
Old Raj
Yet another Scottish gin, the first thing you notice about this super strong gin (55 per cent by volume) is that it is pale yellow, which comes from the addition of a dash of saffron. Perfect accompaniment for Zaffrani Biryani then?
Junipero No 209
This small batch gin from the San Francisco Bay Area is distilled five times. Unique flavours lend this gin to a whole host of drinks, but it makes the best Martinis, which were also born in the Bay Area.
We used Gilbey’s and Beefeater Gin for our drinks. We suggest that you pick up a high-end imported gin for making these cocktails, because they are better distilled.

Golden Fizz: The brave drink!

Ingredients: 45 ml gin; 15 ml fresh lime juice; 15 ml sugar syrup; 1 tablespoon egg white; 1 dash Angostura bitters; Sweet lime

Chill a martini glass. Combine all the above ingredients in a Boston shaker and shake it until well blended. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish it with a slice of sweet lime set afloat.

Hawaiian: Fruity!

Ingredients: 45 ml gin; 15 ml fresh lime juice; 3 wedges of apple (use your own judgement with the amount of fruit); 3 wedges of pineapple; 3 wedges of banana; 90 ml mango nectar; Pineapple spear

First chill a wide-bottomed glass, then muddle all the fresh fruits in a shaker properly (take your time over this). Add the liquid ingredients and blend the drink in a blender until smooth. Strain it into the chilled glass and garnish with the Pineapple spear!

Singapore Sling: The Classic

Ingredients: 45 ml gin; 15 ml Cherry Heering (a Danish cherry liqueur); 10 ml Benedictine; 15 ml freshly squeezed lime juice; 1 dash Angostura bitters; 90 ml pineapple juice; Maraschino cherry or Pineapple Spear for garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in an icefilled mixing glass and blend well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a spear of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

Gin Fresco: A Twist

Ingredients: 45 ml gin; 10 ml fresh lime juice; 10 ml sugar syrup; 1 tablespoon blueberry puree; 1 dash Angostura bitters; 30 ml cranberry juice

Chill a Martini glass and rim the glass with a fine mix of salt and Angostura mix. Combine all the above ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Strain into the rimmed Martini glass and garnish with an apple fan.

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