Friday, September 5, 2014

Waldseemüller’s Gin and Tonic

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I’m a huge fan of Bluecoat Gin.  This is truly marvelous stuff as it stands handsomely on my bar.  Bluecoat speaks in a language of elegance and class.  The bottle, reminiscent of the other Philadelphia Distilling Company product named Vieux Carre, is striking to hold and to look at.  The bottle appears to be of the highest quality glass, laser etched in a fleur de lys pattern, then dyed of a deep cerulean blue in color.  When this bottle is lit from below, sitting on the shelf at your bar, it’s truly striking. 

Add to that the fact that Bluecoat is from Philadelphia, so it’s a local product to me, and that gets my attention.  I love Bluecoat for the citrus elements of each taste.  Bluecoat is known to make an excellent gin and tonic for those who like to keep things simple.

I too like to keep things simple, but Bluecoat lends itself well to my creative impulses because the flavors encapsulated are anything but wimpy! 

The last gasp of summer is when my palate kicks in for the cooler nights coming down the road.  But today is going to be anything but cool.  Under these stressful circumstances of paring hazy with hot and humid all that I can think about are citrus juices.  There is nothing quite as delicious as a little something that I call grilled grapefruit juice. 

Typically when I’m thirsty in the throes of this kind of weather I’ll reach for a cold beer.  But I’ve taken a different tack with a glistening new bottle of Bluecoat Gin at the ready.   I also like to switch things up a bit by using ingredients that are familiar in a new, unfamiliar manner.  For this we have Punt e Mes Vermouth. 

Punt e Mes features  in to  my  thirst in the cooler months,  although  it does contribute to a pretty darn good Negroni, usually finger stirred if you really want to know.  I think the citrus and spice elements of this Italian Vermouth, say elegance to me.  The scene when I first discovered Vermouth was in Europe.  My parents were passionate world travelers and they loved to take my sister and myself to far off places.  One of these trips was to Italy.  I was about fourteen and in our household; wine was always on the table.  If not wine then something else.  I truly believe this open policy towards alcohol permitted me an upbringing of flavor, as opposed to quantity.  Not only did my parents drink much fine wine but also they encouraged me to taste it.  This lesson from a very early age honed my tasting agility because it was always the very best that was available. 

My father used to enjoy “Sweet Vermouth on the rocks with a twist” before dinner on our trips to Europe.  He said that Vermouth stimulated his appetite and it gave me a bit of relaxation as well.  My mom preferred hers straight up for dessert with a Cuban cigar at the ready.  I liked mine with soda water and a straw.  It was well watered down, but the flavor sticks with me today.  I never drank soda growing up; it just wasn’t something we had in the house.  But soda water from an old fashioned bottle did make its way into my memory.  And when it is mixed with the sweet/tangy flavors of Vermouth, well, it’s a memory I’ll never shake from my imagination. 

There is a casual elegance about Sweet Vermouth that sticks around in your taste buds.  I also love to cook with it, finishing a sauce like a gastrique is always lovely when this forgotten culinary ingredient makes its way into your memory. 

So why not combine a fruit juice with the gin and the vermouth?  Something like pink grapefruit, cut by ½ and set onto a charcoal grill perhaps?  Grilled grapefruit juice is one of my great favorites and it goes so beautifully with gin and yes, even Sweet Vermouth like Punt e Mes!

So what we have here is a combination of flavors.  First the citrus tang of the Bluecoat gin, tempered by some really great tonic water from Q-Drinks.  I’d add a splash of the grilled grapefruit juice, drip some Bitter Truth Creole Bitters over the top and finally float a mere tablespoon of Punt e Mes Sweet Vermouth over the top. 

Really the only three things that separate this cocktail whisperer version of the classic gin and tonic are the bitters, the grilled grapefruit juice and of course the Punt e Mes Vermouth.  And yes, the tonic water.. So that makes four.. And you have been using the wrong ice and probably the wrong glass as well, so that makes six. 

I’d like you to take a Collins Glass and pack it full of ice and water.  Let it sit for a few minutes to chill down well.  Then pour out the ice and water.   Add a couple hand cut cubes of ice.  One or two will be perfect.  Now, you should add a portion of the Bluecoat Gin,  top with some grilled grapefruit juice.  Add the tonic water (Q-Tonic) and drip a couple drops of the Creole Bitters over the top.

Finish with a tablespoon of Punt e Mes and garnish with an orange pinwheel.  Yum city!

Waldseemüller’s Gin and Tonic
(Waldseemüller was a German cartographer in the 1500’s)
2 oz. Bluecoat Gin
½ oz. Punt e Mes Sweet Vermouth
2 oz. Grilled Grapefruit juice
2 oz. Q-Tonic Water
3-4 drops Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

Chill your Collins glass with regular bar ice and water- discard when icy cold
Fill a Collins glass ¾ with hand cut ice
Add the Bluecoat Gin
Add the Grilled Grapefruit Juice
Top with the Q-Tonic Water
Add a barspoon of Punt e Mes Vermouth
Drip a few drops of the Creole Bitters to finish.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.

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