Today was hot. The first really hot one of the summer—103 to be specific. Just to keep things interesting, the power also went out for a couple of hours. Well, not surprisingly B wanted something refreshing to combat the ill effects of such a concatentation of circumstances. I got to browsing through Dale Degroff’s (of Rainbow Room fame) The Essential Cocktail and decided on the Tom Collins, which he describes as “…producing a wonderful summer drink that’s much more interesting that a gin and tonic”. Just the ticket…
- 1 1/2 oz. London Dry Gin
- 1 oz. Simple Syrup
- 3/4 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Maraschino Cherry and an Orange Slice
Combine the gin, syrup and lemon juice. Shake and strain into a tall collins glass with ice. Top up with seltzer and garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
So, a couple of notes… The book recomends club soda. Personally, I never touch the stuff; it’s like drinking baking soda, so the soda siphon is the way to go. Also, oranges aren’t in season right now, so in spite of the fact that we live in the land of oranges, they look like crap and cost more than a forclosed house, so no on the orange slice right now. Finally, we both though that the drink was a bit sweet, so I think in future we would put in 3/4 oz. syrup and 1 oz. lemon juice.
What’s the conclusion? It really is a refreshing bit of summer, and we agree… It is better than a gin and tonic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go concentrate on sweating.
B here. When absinthe became legal again in the U.S. last year, M was overjoyed. I–less so. I remembered sipping from my mom’s Pernod when I was little, and the anise taste was nasty in my book. Plus, what sane person wants to drink a libation containing wormwood? M did. I broke down and offered to buy him some absinthe for a Valentine’s Day gift, and he chose Lucid. I had a small sip of his Lucid absinthe on ice so that it would louche, meaning the essential oils came out of solution, and I was not impressed. Imagine my concern when a few days later M offered to make cocktails, and when I inquired as to the specific cocktail, I was told it would be “a surprise.” He brought me a Monkey Gland; a cocktail name that did not inspire confidence. In addition, it was the same color as my neon red Prismacolor colored pencil. Is it OK to drink neon?
In fact, I am sorry to say that the Monkey Gland is quite tasty. I wouldn’t put it in my top 5, but maybe my top 10 cocktails (the superb Oriental takes the current top spot). The Monkey Gland is a little sweet, but the anise flavor from the absinthe is quite tasty and not overpowering, at least with the Lucid absinthe. M made the Monkey Glands a second time using absinthe from St. George Spirits of Alameda, California, (we had visited the distillery), and it was much sweeter. That version made me think of black jelly beans with every sip. So I can recommend the Monkey Gland with the Lucid absinthe but not the St. George. As to which absinthe is better straight up, that you will have to wait to hear from M; I’ll try to get him to do a post on that.
We got the recipe for the Monkey Gland from the January/February 2008 issue of Imbibe magazine, a wonderful periodical about all sorts of things to drink: beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffees, teas. They even picked my favorite root beer as the best root beer: Sprecher (these people know their beverages!).
The Monkey Gland
1.5 oz. gin
1.5 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. grenadine
1 tsp. absinthe
Pour ingredients into shaker and fill with ice. Shake 1o seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.