Here, two emergent trends in tonic collide: first, the trend towards tonic syrups: concentrated, sweet, herbal concoctions designed to be diluted with soda water before drinking. The second trend is that of “companion” tonics: that is tonics made by distillers, crafted in such a way that it perfectly compliments the spirit.
Pinckney Bend has designed a tonic to compliment their Pinckney Bend Gin. They are the only companion tonic syrup on the market right now, but others have pushed this idea forward in the past.
As you know by know, the “recipe” or ratios that are recommended vary from tonic to tonic. Here is Pinckney Bend’s:
1 part Pinckney Bend Gin
1 part Tonic Syrup
4 parts Soda water
stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Thoughts: most tonic syrup ratios advocate for 2 parts of their gin. This is a case where “companion” should be taken quite seriously to understand. Their gin is a little stronger than most [93 proof] and has a good deal of heat. For companion purposes, I think this ratio works. For other gins, I’d suggest perhaps looking a bit closer to the 3 parts soda, 2 parts gin, 1 part tonic, that most bottles lean towards.
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We continue our series on Jello Shots w/gin [made by my friend Laura] with the one that I was most excited about: The Negroni. The Negroni shots were not a huge hit, as oddly the intersection between those who were most enthusiastic about Jello shots did not intersect with those most enthusiastic about Negronis.
1/3 cup Campari
1/3 cup sweet italian red vermouth
1/3 cup Pinckney Bend Gin
Ingredients in the Negroni jelly shot: Orange (to be zested), sweet red vermouth, gelatin, gin, campari (in a cup, because Aaron provided it), cookbook.
A layer of Negroni shots. Now, lets mix them up:
Overall, I thought they were excellent. Taste remarkably close to a Negroni. Good amount of bitterness from the Campari and a hint of gin flavor. Well balanced. Better than expected, and without the saccharine sweetness I was expecting from my favorite drink committed to the medium of gelatin.
Again, a special thanks to my friend Laura who made the shots and took all of the pictures. They were all wonderful, and I know at all future parties where to turn for fantastic jello shots that don’t remind you one bit of the ones you might have seen in college.
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Not too long ago, as a coda to the summer long celebration of gin that David and I called “50 States of Gin,” I held a little “get together” among friends to enjoy some of the great craft gins that had taken over my kitchen. The gin wife is kind and loving, but she will only tolerate 60+ bottles of gin for so long. So reviews having been written, there was only one way to properly pay homage to great American distilling. Spread the word!
My friend Laura helped me out in this celebration of craft gin by creating three different kinds of Jello shots. She was so kind as to share me pictures of the process and the recipes so you too can enjoy the wiggling, jiggling taste of gin and jello together once again.
For the record, we made the shots with Pinckney Bend Gin.
The ingredients of Tom Collins Jelly Shots: Lemon Syrup (stored in an empty salsa jar; there’s no salsa in these), club soda, cookbook, gin, plain gelatin, simple syrup, loaf pan
Club soda and lemon syrup
Letting the gelatin soak
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Naturally, when there’s 30+ gins to be tasted it cannot be done all at once. As much as we’d like to try, to do a proper tasting our livers and mental capacities just couldn’t take it. So in order to give every gin a proper tasting and a fair shot, we spread it out into 6 mini tastings over the course of a long day. So as promised, here’s a recap of what we tasted side by side and with what– and I’ll share with you my top two from each heat.
For full gin reviews of every gin covered in the 50 States of Gin tasting, you’ll have to stay tuned to the Gin is In this fall. If my first post was the 10 miles high overview, this is the one from 50,000 feet. The full reviews will be on the ground: up close and personal.
Heat #1 ///
The Participants: Dogfish Head Jin from Delaware [the nation’s first state, I’m sure you see where we’re going with this], Pennsylvania’s Bluecoat Gin, Southern Gin from Georgia, Gale Force Gin from Masscahussetts and finally, New Hampshire’s Karner Blue gin.
Overall a strong opening.
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A few years ago (and with a much more limited scope of gin experience!) I took a first shot at trying to figure out which gins worked best in a series of classic gin cocktails. Since that initial attempt, I have tried more gins than I can even attempt to count, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to revise my initial list and offer a more nuanced take on how gin works in each of these cocktails.
These cocktails have become my “canon” for reviewing a gin. They’re the old-standbys, the familiar friends whose ingredients I always have in stock. They’re the cocktails that you can go into any bar with its salt and order (perhaps the lone exception in my cabinet may be the “Last Word,” but I digress. The cocktails in the Gin Cocktail Canon are: The Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, Gimlet, Negroni, Aviation, Martini and The Last Word. All are fine cocktails and all worthy uses of your gin. But with so many new contemporary gins out there and bold experiments on the classic London Dry out there, it is no longer safe to assume that all gins are created equal.
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