About a month ago, Mixology Monday returned with an equal parts cocktail challenge. Of course, given my predilection for easy-to-remember cocktails, cocktails which you can walk into a kitchen and not worry about whether or not you have the right ratio (e.g. the Negroni), I was ready to get in on that. And then the deadline passed without a stroke of inspiration and I never quite for my entry in.
So gin and green, they almost seem to go together naturally. Gin and Tonic with a garnish of lime. The quintessential portrait of gin. I wanted to get lime into this cocktail somehow. Mint is another ingredient which works well with gin. While in the summer, fresh mint is widely available. Perhaps even growing in your backyard. But let’s look out the window. It’s October, fall is here to stay so fresh mint might be harder to come by. But interestingly enough I have this bottle of Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin lying around*. I think those two ingredients qualify as the green parts of this cocktail.
But how do we sweeten this? Gin + citrus + sweetener + carbonation is the formula for a Tom Collins-like cocktail. But I wanted to take this in a direction that invoked the feeling of the season. Its fall, the air is getting crisp, and things which are green (and still green) won’t be green for much longer. Honey sounded right, but it didn’t quite capture the crispness of the season. But I know of this syrup which is a great topping for an autumn ice cream sundae, burnt honey syrup**. It seems like the perfect mixture. Let’s get in on with the cocktail:
2 parts of Mint Flavored Gin.
1 half of lime fresh squeezed
2 tsbp of Burnt Honey Sauce
Shake with ice in a shaker until sauce is fully dissolved. Strain into a glass. Fill to the top with seltzer. Garnish with the half of lime you squeezed. Serve.
I think the cocktail takes on this beautiful golden hue, with the lime calling to mind the bright greens and verdant gardens of summers. The mint tastes a bit summery, like fresh gardens, while the burnt honey echoes the feeling of warm fires, caramel, autumn and winter. This cocktail straddles the line between summer and autumn, and that’s why I named it September Frost.
But I don’t have Mint Gin?
That’s okay, because there is an alternate version. It doesn’t work as an entry for the “Being Green” since the only green element is lime, but I wanted to throw it out there that this drink does work. It’s a little bit of a burnt honey Bees Knees cocktail with lime instead of lemon.
Swap out the mint flavored gin for a regular gin. In this case I went for a powerful navy Strength gin, but let’s just say that almost any gin can work well here. Cardinal Gin from North Carolina with its mint as a botanical will work here without being as literal. The mint flavor is subtle and it will work well. But I have to say, that Perry’s Tot Gin really packed a punch and elevated this cocktail. You are pouring a good amount of seltzer in here, so the Navy Strength helps the gin maintain its strength.
*If it is summer, and you can plan ahead. Take a pile of mint leaves, throw them into a bottle of gin. Shake once a day for a couple of weeks, and then filter out the gin leaves to make your own.
Cheers my friends, let me know what you think.
** Burnt Honey Syrup, recipe
2 part sugar: 1 part honey: 1 part water [added one half part a time]
2 Parts Sugar
1 part Honey
Add 1/2 part Water. Dissolve sugar in the water.
Bring to a boil until it turns to a deep brown, caramel like color.
Take off the heat, add another 1/2 part water. Raise heat and stir til warm. Add honey
Remove from heat and cool.