S.I.P. #1: Margarita

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This post is my contribution to the first Russian Internet imbibers event called «S.I.P.».

At first blush similar to «Mixology Monday», our event is targeted to few Russian-speaking cocktail bloggers who already knew each other. We just want to share our passion and ideas with other Russian imbibers and to invite new people to join our cocktail community. And the main differences from MixMo will be very close and friendly atmosphere and much more opinions and discussions.

Well, the topic for the first event is Margarita, famous tequila-based cocktail.

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Honeysuckle Cocktails

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In our garden we have some honeysuckle shrubs. That plant is very important in the beginning of the June when it usually starts to fruit, first of all shrubs. Blue and sour berries are similar to bilberry in taste and appearance but honeysuckle berries are sourer though .

This summer our honeysuckle had time to fruit before heavy heat burnt down all plants and shrubs and forced trees to drop their fruits.

I’ve managed to gather a lot of honeysuckle berries and enjoyed it in daiquiri. Later I’ve thought that I would make some new cocktails and started to experiment on it.

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One day I’ve red a little story about a cocktail made by Murray Stenson, bartender at Zig Zag Café, Seattle, USA. That article has been written by well-known mixology expert Gary Regan for his San Francisco Chronicle column. It was very warm-hearted text among other things.

I was intrigued with such complex ingredients combination – whiskey and equal parts of cherry brandy, lime and Fernet Branca.

That cocktail is called Porteño. As far as I know it means Argentinean who lives in Buenos Aires. Another interesting fact is that Argentineans are mad about Fernet. While all world drinks Coca-Cola with rum, they drink Fernando – Coca-Cola mixed with Fernet.

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Bourbon Sours

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For some time bourbons became my favourite strong alcohol I’m used to utilize in cocktails.

I think the perfect companion for bourbon is fresh orange juice possibly with lime juice or syrups to bring sweetness and sourness to the balance. I’ve knew it from my own experience but later I’ve got that this combination is well-known so I’ve ended my attempts to find a perfect recipe and started to search for the known mixologists’ cocktails.

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Green Tea Gimlets

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I missed Mixology Monday XLV dedicated to drinks with tea. But I’m not sorry. I have read all posts and now I can say that was great for me as a puppy in mixology.

The most interesting for me was the Green tea gimlet on Drink Of The Week, mainly because of green tea syrup used there.

I’m very interesting in old-school drinks with gin and vodka, and gimlet itself promised a wonderful experience. Besides that I like green tea too so green tea gimlet was perfect recipe for me.

First of all, I’ve made green tea syrup. The difference between my syrup and original one from Drink Of The Week recipe is in green tea only. Tea-bag has been used in the original recipe but I prefer natural Chinese green tea without any flavourings so I think that oolong with its strong and rich flavour is the better choice.

So my homemade green tea syrup is ready, and I prepared to make green tea gimlet using Drink Of The Week recipe.

1 1/2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. green tea syrup

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon wheel.

This cocktail was pretty good, sweet and refreshing. But I felt that I hadn’t have enough tea distinctive features in its flavour as well as common brightness and energy.

Then I decided to decrease the amount of lemon juice (a little bit), to increase the amount of vodka (a little bit too) and to use stronger vodka – Danzka 50% ABV.

My Green tea vodka gimlet

  • 50 ml 50% ABV vodka,
  • 20 ml fresh lemon juice,
  • 30 ml homemade green tea syrup

shaken with ice, strained and served in the rock glass filled with ice.

Green tea gimlets, with vodka and lemon

The main achievement was in the rich green tea aftertaste appeared in this drink. Lemon moved to background to balance syrup’s sweetness well. In addition, lemon helped to combine properly sweet and sour flavour with vodka’s power and depth.

Also lemon zest set off tea’s tart and dry aftertastes and removed bitterness at the same time. In whole, my green tea vodka gimlet has more freshness and power but preserves incredibly soft and comfortable taste inherited from the original drink.

The next cocktail I planned to make was green tea gimlet – a natural gimlet with gin and lime juice sweetened with green tea syrup.

My Green tea gimlet

  • 50 ml gin,
  • 20 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 30 ml homemade green tea syrup

shaken with ice, strained and served in the rock glass filled with ice.

Green tea gimlets, with gin and lime

At first for this drink I took harsh, straight and rough Gordon’s gin. I always use this gin in my long drinks where it successfully competes with tonic or lemon juice. But here in my green tea gimlet Gordon’s gin was very poor because it brought strange soapy aftertaste.

Then I tried mild and light Seagram’s gin, and this one worked very well. With Seagram’s gin my gimlet became soft but not weak. Lime and gin added necessary sourness, and in aftertaste outstanding oolong had been backed with gin botanical flavour.

Made with gin, this green tea gimlet became a bit piquant and sharp and preserved the charming notes of fresh Chinese green tea.