It’s been a long time coming, but we are pleased to welcome craft spirits to The Chopping Block's beverage program. Staying along the same lines as our wine program, we are focusing on small batch producers whose product displays the same care and precision as a vintner in the winery or a chef in the kitchen.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing choice offerings from small batch distilleries from around the world, and quite a few local ones too. Here are a couple of recipes for two of our new spirits.
A refreshing take on the Gimlet, the cucumber adds brightness and makes the drink a little lighter.
2 oz. Geneva Preservation Gin
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 slices peeled cucumber, plus 1 slice for garnish
½ oz. simple syrup
Gently muddle the cucumber in a cocktail shaker and pour in Gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Add just enough ice to chill shaker, put on the cap and shake. Place a few cubes of ice in a rocks glass, strain gimlet into glass and garnish with lime wedge and remaining cucumber slice. Sit on patio and enjoy warm weather.
1.5 oz. Old New Orleans 3 yr. Amber Rum
2 oz. Gingeroo (also from Old New Orleans Distillery)
¾ oz. simple syrup
3 Lime wedges
4-5 Mint Leaves
Soda – optional
Gently muddle 2 lime wedges and mint leaves in a highball glass just until the mint becomes fragrant. Don’t over muddle your mint; we’ll go over this later. Add simple syrup, rum and a few cubes of ice. Stir with bar spoon, add Gingeroo, then give one last stir. Top with soda water if desired; the Gingeroo is slightly carbonated, so there is already some spritz to this drink. Garnish with lime wedge, sit on patio, repeat as needed or until rum runs out.
Have you ever had a drink with mint in it that was grassy or a little bitter? This is the result of over-muddling the mint leaves or any other leaf for that matter: basil, sage, etc. Leaves contain chlorophyll, its what makes them green, and chloropyll is really bitter.
When you smash the leaves to the point where they start to come apart or turn brown, you have completely crushed the cell structure of the leaf and released all the chlorophyll into your drink, making it unpleasantly bitter. The essential oils that give mojitos that minty fresh flavor are on the surface of the leaf, that’s why if you’ve ever rubbed a mint leaf between your fingers, the aroma comes to life almost immediately, so it only take gentle pressure to realeast those oils. Okay, class dismissed, have a cocktail and enjoy the warmer weather.