The Gintender Features the “Eminent Domaine” on Fox 5

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The Gintender featured his original creation, “Eminent Domaine”, on FoxDC last night!

Stop by Wisdom to enjoy one soon or give it a try yourself! Here’s the recipe:

– 1 oz of Bluecoat Gin (PA)

– .75 oz of Domaine de Canton (FR)

– .25 oz of Luxardo Amaro (ITA)

– 1.25 oz of pressed/cloudy apple juice

– .25 oz of fresh squeezed lemon

Shaken on ice and strained into a martini glass. Garnish: Apple Slice

NEGRONI WEEK

Negroni_week

It’s Negroni Week–sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and, of course, Campari.

We are excited to see this cocktail grow in popularity in the country and are excited to be a part of the Negroni movement!

But first, a little background into this historic tipple. The Negroni or “King of the Aperitivo” is believed to have originated by Count Camillo Negroni of Florence around 1919-20. It is an “aperitivo” cocktail; that is “an opening” drink that refers to the time when Italians meet after work before heading home for dinner. Aperitif liqueurs and cocktails are said to stimulate or excite the appetite, cleanse the palate, and prep the taste buds prior to the feast.

The Negroni actually evolved from the Americano which came into being around 1860. The Americano (‘amer’ indicating bitter, not American) cocktail was first served in Caffè Casoni, and originally called the “Milano-Torino” because of its two alcoholic ingredients: Campari, the bitter liqueur, is from Milano and Cinzano vermouth from Torino. The legend describes Count Negroni as the coolest guy on the block (noble, wealthy, well-traveled, full of anecdotes and stories, and a great tipper) who befriended the bartender of Caffè Casoni. Mr. Fosco Scarselli mixed the count a stronger tipple by adding a London dry gin to the mix and changing the garnish from a lemon peel to an orange slice.

NOTE: An important life lesson: When in doubt add GIN. The rest is drinking history.

Audrey Saunders, the queen of gin and proprietor of The Pegu Club in NYC, has a Negroni philosophy the Gintender completely agrees with: Because of Campari’s potentially overwhelming bitter palate, this drink screams for a heavy juniper, classic dry gin.

The recipe:

1 oz of a heavy juniper classic dry gin (think Beefeater flavor profile)
1 oz of sweet vermouth (the better quality the vermouth, the better the Negroni)
1 oz of Campari
Stir over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange slice or twist.

An appreciation for bitter in food and drink is said to be the pinnacle of a sophisticated palate. Bitter libations are also wonderfully refreshing and ideal on hot summer days. All this aside, the Negroni may be too bitter for some. In that case we recommend bumping up the gin slightly to 1.25 oz and lowering the Campari to 0.75 oz. Another simple tweak is to split the ounce of Campari with another less bitter liqueur. For example, Aperol (Italian bitter blood orange liqueur) is slightly less bitter.

Try this Gintender tweak at Wisdom this week:

N.B.I. (Nicholas on the Beach in Italy)
1.25 oz of barrel-aged Cardinal Gin from North Carolina
1.0 oz of Dolin Rouge Vermouth
0.75 oz of Campari
0.25 oz of Contratto Fernet Liqueur
Stir over ice in a rocks glass
Optional Garnish: Mint sprig

Tastings Notes:
The barrel-aged gin provides an extra depth to the drink and the gin’s peppermint finish blends extremely well with the mint in the Fernet liqueur.

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How to Drink Gin in the Spring

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Photo by Flickr user Ashley Moore

My guide to drinking Gin in the Spring–with classic tipples. The snow is beginning to melt and soon green will begin to appear. Spring is upon us and its time to shake off the hibernation cobwebs and load up on energy and excitement as the mating period is about to begin! Here are five classics gin cocktails with my recommended ratios that I believe are best suited for Spring:

Bees Knees

The Bees Knees-originated during our prohibition in the 1920s. The phrase “bee’s knees” was prohibition-era slang for “top notch”. Citrus & honey were often used to mask the cheap smell & taste of bathtub gin; believed to be the favorite of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recommend a rye-based or aged gin that adds a bit of “weight” to the mix. If you have a a sweet tooth and have a Winnie the Poo fondness for honey, try it with the craft honey-heavy gin, Bar Hill.

2 oz of gin
0.5 oz of Runny Honey*
0.5 oz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Shake ingredients over ice and serve in a coup.

*Runny honey is a British mixologist term for diluted honey (1:1) water to honey. Caution: do not make massive amounts of Runny Honey ahead of time; water is introduced to honey it will inevitable combine with yeast (naturally in the air) and start the chain reaction of converting the sugar to alcohol making a prehistoric mead…or maybe you want to do this intentionally…

Monkey Gland

Created by Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York bar in Paris sometime in the 1920s. The name derives in honor of the work of Dr. Voronoff, who attempted to delay the ageing process by transplanting monkey testicles…eh…cheers! A fine example of an absinthe cocktail that is well balanced by sweet and citrus. Any strength of juniper gin can work in this cocktail, but I would tend to go to a heavier juniper gin.

1.5oz of gin
0.25 oz absinthe
½ orange fresh-squeezed
Heavy dash of real grenadine
Shaken over ice and strained into a coup glass

Corpse Reviver #2

The most popular of the Corpse Reviver cocktails, intended to be a “hair of the dog” hangover. First published in 1930 in Harry Craddock’s Savoy cocktail book with these instructions: “to be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed.” I recommend a heavy juniper gin.

1.0 oz of gin
0.5 oz of Lillet Blanc
0.5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
0.5 oz of Cointreau
Dash of absinthe
Shaken over ice and strained into a coup

Ramos Gin Fizz

The secret recipe of the Imperial Cabinet Bar in New Orleans that was created in 1888. Over 20 bartenders were working at once, making nothing but this cocktail and still struggled to keep up with demand. The wildly popular & profitable bar like many fine institutions, however, met its end with American prohibition. At the onset of prohibition, Henry Ramos’ brother as a “screw you” to the government, published the secret recipe in a full page advertisement. This is a remarkable classic drink with the perfect balance of sweet and sour and a fluffy mouth feel. The longer you shake the ingredients without ice and then with ice the better-10 minutes should yield a wonderful drink and a great arm workout.

Any strength of juniper gin can work in this cocktail
1.5 oz of Gin
0.5 oz of fresh-squeezed lemon
0.5 oz of fresh-squeezed lime
0.5 agave nectar with drops of orange blossom water added
0.5 oz egg white
1.0 oz double heavy cream
Dry shake all ingredients, then add ice and shake
Pour over ice and top w soda in collins

Singapore Sling

Created sometime between 1911 and 1915 by Chinese-born Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel, Singapore. There is huge debate over the original name and ingredients, and not even the Raffles Hotel knows for sure. Gin, Cherry Brandy & Benedictine are certain and the cherry brandy is primarily what distinguishes it from other slings. Such a famous creation that so few have actually tasted.

Recommend a heavy juniper gin or rye-based gin
1.5 oz of gin
1.0 oz Benedictine
0.5 oz Cherry Heering
0.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon
Stir in highball glass filled with ice and top w/ soda
2 dashes of orange & angostura bitters

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The Greenest of Gins

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By Scott Harris
Founder of Catoctin Creek

Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin is green. If you look at the capsule sealing each bottle of Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin, you’ll notice its green, unlike our Mosby’s Spirit and Roundstone Rye, which have black caps. For us, this color difference has real meaning. Not only is Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin is one of the few organic gins on the market, but it’s also produced in a zero waste process.

To make our gin, we start with whiskey. When we distill our whiskey, we make conservative cuts to ensure we have the smoothest whiskey possible. As a result, we have lots of alcohol that would normally go to waste. At Catoctin Creek, we re-distill the spirit until it has no taste and infuse it with our proprietary mix of botanicals, including juniper, bitter orange peel, cinnamon, coriander and anise seed. Besides using organic rye spirits for our gin’s base, we’re using 100% organic botanicals as well. Without any pesticides, herbicides, nitrogen-based fertilizers being used in the production of our gin, we’re helping to keep our streams and groundwater cleaner, hence the name “Watershed Gin”, referring to our native Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Because of how well the color suits our gin, we love using Green Chartreuse when we make cocktails. Since Green Chartreuse has a little bit of anise in it as well, it plays well with our gin’s flavor profile. Two classic gin and Chartreuse cocktails, the Bijou and the Last Word, are excellent cocktails for enjoying Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin.

Bijou

1 ½ oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
¾ oz Green Chartreuse
¾ oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe.

Last Word

¾ oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
¾ oz Green Chartreuse
¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¾ oz lime juice

Shake ingredients until frost forms and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

If you typically drink martinis, I would wager these cocktails aren’t your stead. May we recommend our take on the original Bond cocktail: The Ghost of Vesper Lynd.

Using our Mosby’s Spirit in place of vodka in the conventional Vesper Martini recipe, you get a cocktail with a silky texture and a boozy punch, just like 007.

The Ghost of Vesper Lynd

2 oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
½ oz Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit
¼ oz Cocchi Americano

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lemon peel.

Try these and other gin cocktails with Scott Harris, co-owner of Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. when he visits the Gin Club on March 6.

Register for the March 6 Catoctin Creek tasting.

How to Drink Gin in the Winter

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Photo by Flickr User Raymond Shobe

Some drinkers believe that gin and other clear spirits are best enjoyed during warm, sunny weather and that darker spirits such as aged rums and whiskeys are best drank in the winter. These people are amateurs and should be tarred and feathered, or at the very least ignored.

The following are the Gintenders suggestions and his recommended proportions on classic gin cocktails that are perfect on cold nights…some are better known then others, but all when mixed with the right gin are delicious. And all along with over 70 gin combinations are available at Wisdom.

The Alexander

Created sometime before 1917. Although the Brandy Alexander is a famous variation, the original was certainly based on gin. The Alexander was a prohibition favorite because the other ingredients could mask harsh “bathtub” gin.

1.5 oz gin (recommend a heavy juniper gin, rye based gin or aged gin for this creamy delight)
0.75 oz crème de cacao
0.75 oz of heavy cream
Shake over ice and strain into coup
Garnish: nutmeg

The Bijou

Originated in the 1890s is believed to have been created by Harry Johnson. “Bijou” translates to “jewel” in French; gin represents diamonds, sweet vermouth-rubies, and Green Chartreuse-emeralds. This drink is a bold a high proof concoction, not for the faint of heart. The Gintender recommends dialing back the chartreuse to better balance the drink.

1.5 oz of gin (recommend a bold juniper gin)
.3 oz of Green Chartreuse
.5 oz of Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coup glass
Optional garnish: lemon zest

The Martinez

Now believed to be the precursor of the Martini, the first known recipe for this drink appears in “The Modern Bartender” from 1884. It is debated whether it originally called for Oude genever or old tom gin-which are about as far opposite on the gin flavor spectrum as one can get. Some believe that a man named Julio Richelieu created the drink in 1874 for a goldminer in the Californian town of Martinez, the Gintender just believes it is delicious.

1.5 oz of genever Oude (or any style of gin)
1.5 oz of Cinzano Red
Dash of Cointreau
2 dashes angostura bitters
Shake over ice and strain into a coup

White Lady

Created by Harry MacElhone in 1919, and then recreated by Harry in 1923 as proprietor at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. This drink uses eggwhites which makes some squeamish due to salmonella fears…please decide for yourself. Why use raw eggwhites at all in a cocktail? Their impact on taste is negligible, but they do add a rich, silky, foam texture which is impossible to mimic.

1.5 oz gin (recommend a heavy juniper/spicy gin or rye based gin)
0.5 oz Cointreau
0.5 oz of fresh squeezed lemon
1.0 oz egg white
Dry shake all ingredients, then add ice and shake again. Strain into coup glass

Clover Club

One of the best known gin cocktails whose origin is shrouded in mystery, this cocktail may have originated at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.
Believed to have been around since 1909.

1.5 oz gin (recommend a medium to heavy juniper gin)
1.0 oz dry vermouth
0.25 oz of fresh squeezed lemon
0.25 of grenadine or Guyot crème de cassis (black currant liqueur)
0.5 oz of egg white
Dry shake, then shake over ice and strain into coup

The Reverse Martini

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It is no secret I have a healthy obsession with gin. It is the canvas I like to build most of my drinks on. But right after my obsession with gin is my obsession with aperitif wines/vermouth. In my humble opinion it is the least understood and most underutilized cocktail ingredient in our current cocktail rebirth. It is one of two ingredients in a Martini and one of three ingredients in a Manhattan, yet the majority of Americans and even many professional cocktail makers know very little about it and do not place importance on it.

There are three main reasons why Americans shy away from Vermouth. One, the famous haters such as Winston Churchill who declared that the way to make a martini correctly is extremely chilled gin and then bowing in the direction of France. Secondly, it is trendy to order a martini “dry”, although in my seven years experience behind the bar it is scary how many customers order a martini that way but do not really understand what they are asking…but it sounds correct! And finally, most do not realize that vermouth has a shelf life. And if you have ever had wine that has been opened for days/weeks that has oxidized it is horrible. The same thing happens to Vermouth (although it takes longer to turn). But if your first experience with the stuff is oxidized Vermouth, anyone sane drinker would want to keep it as far away from their lips as possible.

If you want to learn the magic of vermouth I suggest you sign up for a class with me, but in the mean time you can come in to Wisdom or Church & State and order a REVERSE MARTINI.

What is a reverse martini? Besides being the favored drink of Julia Child, it is a simple reverse in the ratio of gin and vermouth. It puts the vermouth/aperitif wine on stage and uses the gin for some body and a botanical subtle kick. Much lighter in proof than a standard Martini and yet much stronger than a glass of wine or beer. It may be the perfect drink for the individual who loves the elegance and flavor profile of a classic cocktail but whose tolerance level is not ready for the heat!

One combination that I recently came up with is the BLUE ROSE. The Cocchi Rosé is a new aperitif wine from Cocchi that has incredible depth and a nice layer of bitterness from the chinchona (ken-KEE-nah) bark that is added. BTW the “Americano” does not refer to American but to “Amer” or bitter.

THE BLUE ROSE

2.25 oz of Cocchi Americano Rosé Aperitif Wine

0.75 oz of BlueCoat Gin

dash of Orange bitters

I recommend stirring over the rocks than straining into a coup glass.

Optional Garnish: Orange Peel

Oh My Tonic!

Tonic

**Tammy Taylor Manager and head bartender at Church & State in Washington, D.C.**

By Tammy Taylor

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with liquor, and it’s not just a small obsession. It’s huge and not just with drinking it. Though, I do not deny that’s part of it. I’m obsessed with what I can do to make it different, well, better. So when presented with a recipe to make my own tonic at Church&State, I jumped on it.

Originally, tonic was used for medicinal purposes to ward off against malaria in South America and Africa. The “tonic” was made by soaking the bark from the South American cinchona (kenKEEnah) tree to extract quinine, a natural prophylactic against malaria, and then drinking it as a tea. The quinine tonic was so bitter that eventually the British added lime and gin to tame the bitterness of the drink…so the tonic came first and the gin was the mixer! Thus the beloved “gin and tonic” was born.

But the tonic we drink today is a far cry from what the British drank back then. The first commercial tonic was produced in Britain in the 1850s by adding soda water and sugar. In 1953, Schweppes Beverage Co. brought to the American market. The quinine in the American tonic is produced by a chemical extraction; not by soaking tree bark. It also contains a lot less quinine because the U.S Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of quinine to 83 parts per million. This dilution, along with the high fructose corn syrup that is added, makes it a lot less bitter. It can be argued that American tonic produced for bars on the rail is so far removed from the original formula that it shouldn’t even be called tonic water.

How awesome was it to find out that it was not only better, but easy to make. I found the cinchona bark online without much trouble so I bought it and began experimenting. The earthiness you get is amazing and I, a non-bitter drinker, don’t even mind how bitter and sour it tastes. I haven’t had a gin yet that hasn’t been complimented by my new obsession. I have since modified the recipe and created the “tonic of the month” for our bars. So far, I’ve steeped in lavender, rose hip and the current tonic is hibiscus.

Here is a basic tonic recipe from Imbibe Magazine that you can try at home. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, come to Wisdom or Church&State to give my fresh tonic of the month a try.

Ingredients:
4 cups water
3 cups pure cane sugar
3 Tbsp. quinine (powdered cinchona bark)
6 Tbsp. powdered citric acid
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat down to low. Add the quinine, citric acid, lemongrass, lime zest and lime juice. Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the powders are dissolved and the syrup is thin and runny. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the large chunks through a colander, then filter through cheesecloth or coffee filters to refine. This step can take a while—and many filters—as the bark is a very fine powder, so be patient.

*Gintender’s drunken wisdom*


If you are a fan of gin and tonics and you are sipping a super premium gin opt for a better tonic. It makes a dramatic difference! Schweppes is a solid choice as are artesian products such as Fevertree or Q tonic out of Brooklyn. If you are in a bar and have no options other then harsh rail tonic, consider choosing a heavier juniper London dry style gin versus a “New Western style” softer juniper spirit, that will be able to stand up to the tonic.

Winter OR-G


Start your New Year off right with a Winter OR-G (or orgy if you prefer).

OR-G is a brand new liqueur (or at least to the U.S.A.) from France and is the first liqueur to use Permission fruit. Persimmon is an exotic tropical fruit that brings a deliciousness that can’t be found in any other spirit.  Even using a small amount in a simple cocktail adds a completely new twist.

In OR-G’s own words:

OR-G is a tempting blend of Ultra-Premium Vodka and Persimmon mingling with Papaya, Mango and Lime Juices. Created by Master Spirit maker Jean Marc Daucourt, OR-G’s exotic design is not only intended to deliver amazing taste, but adds a sensuality to the drinking experience. OR-G is also highly mixable, lending itself to a variety of tempting cocktail creations. At 17% Alcohol by Volume, OR-G is perfect by itself or ready to be mixed with your favorite Spirit, to add that little extra pop you need to get the party started.

 

Without a doubt, OR-G is an interesting liqueur that at the very least is worth a try.  If you’re not feeling all that creative, here’s a simple concoction to get you started:

Winter OR-G

Ingredients:
.5 oz Stones Ginger wine
1.5 oz OR-G
Cardamom bitters
Lime

Instructions:
Muddle 1/4 lime and a generous slice of fresh persimmon fruit on the bottom of shaker with 0.5 oz of stones ginger wine. Add ice and 1.5 oz of OR-G. Shake and pour over rocks in a collins glass add soda and a dash of cardamom bitters.

Give this a try and let The Gintender know what you think below or send us an email!

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