Friday, July 27, 2012

The Great Gin Twist Adventure

I like cocktail parties. I like parties where we roast pigs. But, what I like the best is pig roast cocktail parties.

Saugatuck Craft Butchery  approached me a few days ago and asked if I wanted to supply the booze for their First Annual Pig on the Plaza event. It's a pig roast that originated as one of their butchery classes that turned into a bad ass event. Of course I would supply the booze! I don't want to talk about the beer or wine that we're serving. So, let's get right to the cocktail. The Gin Twist.

I've been thumbing through a cocktail book originally printed in 1902 by Farrow & Jackson called Recipes of American and Other Iced Drinks. It was a marketing ploy by Farrow & Jackson, who manufactured tools and equipment for bars. Buy the book. It's pretty cool. Charlie Paul was the man who provided most of the recipes in this little goodie. I'm only assuming that he came up with the Gin Twist recipe back in the day. But, I may be wrong. So, don't quote me on it.

As with a lot of the recipes found in these antique printings, it leaves a lot up to interpretation. The actual recipe goes as follows <as printed in the book>:

Gin Twist. S.D. (short drink)

Take a wine glass ; put in a small piece of ice, a
teaspoonful of strawberry syrup and half a tea-
spoonful of lemon juice ; fill up with Old Tom gin,
then pare half a lemon, twist, and drop in.

This is an amazing action shot
Awesome. So, when I say "interpretation" that means that when I made this recipe for the first time, I didn't have the exact ingredients on hand at that exact moment. So, I "interpret" the shit out of it. Really, what happened was, I didn't have Old Tom Gin and I just made lemonade with all of the lemons i had in house. Bare with me here. Old Tom gins stylistically are sweetened gins. So, what would happened if the sweetener was misplaced and put into the lemon juice? It's all sugar right? Who cares how it gets in there, just as long as it gets in there? Right? Right. Moving on. 

The Pig on the Plaza event has grown to at least 150 people at this point. That's a lot of Gin Twisting.

Fifty lemons, two bags of oleo saccharum and 14 cups of lemon juice, I'm ready to move on to the strawberry syrup. Now, I haven't had any scholastic or culinary training and I haven't done any true research on it. But, I'm pretty sure any kind of strawberry syrup contains a shit load of strawberries and a whole bunch of sugar. Some might say there is some water in there, too. There is water in strawberries, right? Good enough.

I guess you're supposed to boil and simmer fruit and sugar to create syrups. Let's interpret "syrup" here, too. I'm lazy.

Hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Yes, all 4lbs of them.

Throw them in a bag and add 2 cups of that lovely granulated sugar.

Smoosh them together a bit to jump start that sugar/fruit magic.

Yup. vacuum seal it, too. If you don't have a vacuum sealer like this one, I would assume you can use a Ziploc bag and take as much air out as possible.Just let it sit out on the counter at room temperature for a few hours or until it looks like a lot of the sugar is dissolving.

Okay. You're done for today. Let all of that hard work you just did sit overnight in the fridge.

I know we all have busy schedules nowadays. This will keep fresh in the fridge for a couple days.

You have a blender or a food processor, right? Take it out of the cupboard and dust it off. Strawberries+sugar+blender=strawberry syrup in my Gin Twisted head.  Blend the strawberries until they're smooth. Voila! You have strawberry "syrup". Now you can funnel this syrup into Ball canning jars,  swing-top bottles or whatever resealable vessel you feel like. Personally, I think this tastes better than that nasty syrup crap from a can you get at diners. The sweetness here ends up being a bit brighter and you still have a little texture to it. And, guess what? No boiling, simmering or reducing! Plus, it's works better in cocktails.

The next step was to make my famous and ridiculously delicious oleo saccharum lemonade in large format. I won't bore you with the details.

Gin Twist

2oz Plymouth Gin
1/2oz Strawberry syrup
1oz oleo saccharum lemonade

Combine in a strainer. Add ice and shake.
Strain over fresh ice in a Highball glass
top with 1oz club soda
Garnish with a lemon twist and a sprig of mint

1 comment:

  1. so amazing..This is exactly the kind of stuff I am looking for.Thanks for sharing!!
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