Thursday, August 29, 2013

Impromptus - Gin and Tonics

I've realized of late that I've gotten to a point where I can rattle off ingredients off the top of my head and turn them into pretty decent cocktails. It doesn't always work out, but I would say my hit rate is still 50% or so. And I've also realized I don't document these recipes beyond TwitPic at times, to the detriment of the blog, purely because they weren't "planned" and fought-for ideas.

But some weekends or evenings, you just want to mix a few tasty ingredients with no deeper meaning. So this will be the start of a quick-and-dirty series of those impromptu recipes successful (enough) to merit spent words. ('cause the last time I wrote up an impromptu, it took me a fiddle-faddlin' month, just for the extra stuff! No more!)

Given these recipes are so off-the-cuff, I haven't given them formal names. And the first recipe here may not warrant it, unless you think it's distinct the way a Martini and a Gibson are distinct. If you have any ideas, I'm plenty open to them!

So, for this first set of impromptus, a couple months back on a hot lazy summer Saturday (July 5th to be exact) I was playing around with the light crispness of gin & tonics. I can never leave well enough alone: there always needs to be variety, and the chance to mold a drink in different ways. To that end, two rather dissimilar G&T's, whittling down a small bottle of tonic:

Impromptu G&T #1
2 oz Tanqueray
3 oz tonic water
1 tsp absinthe (Vieux Carré)
lemon twist

Gently stir all on ice in a rocks glass. Twist lemon over top and add. Enjoy.

A bracing and heightened-herbal G&T with my favorite gin. Bone-deep refreshing. Somehow I bet this mod is the least of what the Spanish have done with their Gin Tonicas.

Impromptu G&T #2
2 oz honeydew-infused Hendrick's gin
3 oz tonic water
2 dashes amaretto
1 dash rose water
3 dashes Teapot bitters
lemon twist & honeydew melon ball for garnish

Gently stir all on ice in a rocks glass. Skewer a zest-encased melon ball as garnish.

Kitten-y soft, as my notes go. A very happy balance.

I had a small bottle of honeydew-infused Hendrick's gin for another recipe I was working on (delayed until next summer). Hendrick's doesn't take the best to infusion, probably because of the way the rose and cucumber essences are added post-distillation (they stick to the melon pieces, not the gin). Still, there were some mild ginny notes remaining and a light pale mint cotton candy-like flavor to the gin. The tonic's bitterness could prove balance to that sweetness. A few dashes of friendly notes here and there pushed it into cotton-y soft, but a bit less candy.

And, for a bonus, as I was snacking on guacamole while enjoying #2, I noticed how friendly rose water was to avocado. Not too long after, I had an impromptu recipe down for Fruited Guacamole (to which I've received raves from family & friends):

3 small avocados, diced
1 small yellow tomato (plum or otherwise), 1 shallot, 2 black plums* - broiled/grilled and diced
1/2 small cucumber, seeded & chopped
2 dates, seeded and chopped
2 packed tablespoons chopped spearmint
juice of 1 lemon
3 dashes rose water
pinch of salt

In a bowl, drizzle juice of 1/2 lemon over the diced avocado before heating/chopping the rest. Add rest of ingredients to the bowl and stir/mash to desired consistency. SCARF!

*apricots or pluots may also work nicely here