Two unavoidable things are happening right now, as they do each year: gin/ice/tonic usage is rising in lockstep with warmer temperatures. I don't even try to fight it, even to the point of embracing it. If icy cold, gin soaked cocktails are inevitable, then I say sit back and enjoy them! If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you are well aware of my healthy respect for cocktail culture and my need, want, and desire to explore this intoxicating subject. Also you may have noticed the repeated mention of Washington Post spirits columnist Jason Wilson, whose ramblings have inspired numerous moments of fuzzy-headedness at my home bar.
His latest column from a couple of weeks ago sent me once again scurrying to my home liquor cabinet, cocktail shaker in hand, to make one of the truly old school classics, the Gin Fizz. His column was focused on one of his (many) pet peeves, the proliferation of commercial sour mix, which is essential to two summer classics, the Tom Collins and the Gin Fizz. His anti-commercial sour mix rant includes one of my favorite Wilson-isms to date: "This mix usually sneaks up on you, like a mullet seen from the front." That visual alone should be enough to have you, as it did me, spend the extra five minutes doing you own sour shuffle. So it was a couple of nights ago that I made my own gin fizz, and I have to say I may have discovered my Cocktail of Summer '09. This was delicious! Light, refreshing, strong-but-not-too so as to invite you back for a second. It had the perfect sweet-sour composition that is the key to so much imbibing enjoyment, with a foamy, fizzy feel on the palate. Read his column, try it at home, and feel sorry for those who bow to convenience.
*** *** *** *** ***
Inspired by Jason Wilson/Washington Post
Spirits columnist Jason Wilson recommends adding egg white, which adds a light froth to the proceedings, and using a sparkling mineral water instead of club soda or seltzer. If you have a sweet tooth and absolutely must, you may add a half-teaspoon of sugar.
1 1/2 ounces gin, preferably Plymouth brand
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil until the sugar dissolves. For this drink a 1/4 cup of each will net you enough for several cocktails- bb)
1 tablespoon egg white
Sparkling mineral water
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white; shake vigorously for at least 1 minute. The egg white should get frothy.
Strain into an ice-filled high ball glass; top with the mineral water.