Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Cocktails, Part II

Please, come have a drink with me!

The new year is upon us, and I hope it's not cliché but I'm making quite a few resolutions for the first month of the year. Mostly about cleansing my system: I am giving up alcohol, meat, dairy and sugar for two weeks, and the two following weeks will be a slow re-entry back to those things. I have never, ever given up sugar and to be perfectly frank, I am petrified. I am also working on other things in my life, both physically (be more active in the winter) and emotionally (be more grateful). I often don't give New Year's too much sway in my life, but this year I'm feeling it a bit more. I really, really want to be a better me. There's no quitting involved here, but there is a pause I feel is necessary.

But! I've still got one more day to revel in the indulgent things. And they are really good things. A while back the really great people at No. 3 Gin London Dry Gin sent me a spectacular present. Not only a bottle of No. 3 Gin, but bonus, The King's Ginger, an amazing ginger liqueur. They wanted to know if my Calamondin Cocktail would suit the No. 3 well. I have good news, it did all that and more. The No. 3 Gin is a really fine gin: smooth, herbaceous and warm with a piney juniper bite to it. It makes a mean dry martini, but it also mixes well, which to be honest, I was surprised by.

It really makes you want to kick back...
The King's Ginger is amazing, I was really impressed with it. It would make a great hot toddy, and in all truthiness, the thought did cross my mind that next time I was sick with a cold, I might need a shot of it. It's that good, and I think it even may be good for you. Listen, lest you roll your eyes at me, alcohol is a tonic! I am sure I will be revisiting The King's Ginger in this blog. I think it might figure into some jam recipes down the road.

[Please note:  I loved receiving these gifts, but my opinions are my own. If it wasn't good stuff, I wouldn't be talking about it.]


King's Ginger, No. 3 Gin, citrus syrup and a gin cordial*

This is a drink that is sure to satisfy the preserver and drinker alike. After you've made candied citrus peels, you are left with a lot of lovely citrus-y syrup, thick and very sweet. I find it a lovely thing to put in a cocktail, but sparingly. This is not a simple syrup. If you don't have candied citrus syrup (which you may indeed not) use a nice soft marmalade instead. If you have a firm marmalade, heat it up a bit before using it to soften it, and keep the chunks in. The bitter-citrus-sweet of a marmalade added to a drink is a natural! In this situation, it marries well with both the ginger and the gin.

Maybe it's my impending cleanse that's making me think thoughts like this, but I sat down and really thought about how this drink made me feel. This macrobiotic book I like always tells you to be thoughtful about how the food feels or makes you feel. Well, this drink made me feel warm, a swell to the chest, my throat felt warm and my forehead tingly. Isn't that what a cocktail ought to do? (It might have helped that I was watching Ernie Kovacs at the time. Have you ever? Watching even a few minutes will make anyone feel a tad altered. I do think Ernie would have approved.)

The Gin-Gin

1 ounce of No. 3 Gin
1 ounce of The King's Ginger
1 spoonful of candied citrus syrup (between a teaspoon and tablespoon, depending on your tastes) or a simple marmalade
soda water

Mix the gin, the King's Ginger and the syrup in a tall glass of ice and stir well. Strain into a small coupe glass. I like to top it with a splash of soda water, but you could pass on this. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger, candied citrus, both, or just a slice of orange peel. This will make one or two small cocktails, depending on your glass size. Mine are ridiculously small, but I like that. Trying to keep it together here, people.


This is a standard Gibson, but I used slices of pickled red onions for it, instead of pearl onions. There are a million recipes for pickled red onions, but here's one from David Lebovitz or Simply Recipes, two fine resources. You should always have them in the fridge. They are a sandwich, and cocktail, staple.

The Preserver's Gibson

1 ounce of gin
a whisper of vermouth
a few thin slices of red onion pickles

Mix gin and vermouth in a large glass of ice. Stir that up! Strain into a nice martini glass, and garnish with some pickle slices. Sometimes I slip in a little bit of the brine.

* Did you see that quart jar of gin cordial? A dear friend with fabulous taste gave that to me for the holidays. It's a gin cordial with clementine, kumquat, coriander and black pepper. Wow! I think she based it on this recipe from the always inspiring Melissa Clark.


  1. Oh my darling Julia... you crush it every time. Happy New Year!


  2. The cocktails sound divine, but I won't be dipping in for some time as I embark on my own regimen for the new year. I think you will notice the absence of inflammation in your body when you give up sugar. As for being more active in winter, I highly recommend snowshoeing! Here's to a healthy and happy 2012!

  3. Leesie, you are too good to me! Happy New Year to you and yours, too!

    Laura, I have been wanting to snowshoe and xcountry ski for a long time. I got to get moving! Now, all we need is some snow, right? Happy New Year!

  4. I want a Gin-Gin! I love gin, ginger, and cocktails featuring marmalade or jam. Fantastic!
    Best of luck on the fast/cleanse! Happy New Year!

  5. Hey Jules, As always love your research and quest for all things wonderful...we had our friends Paul and Genny of The Stockade over last night and was trilled to hear the original Hot Toddy was made by putting a hot poker fresh from the fire into the alcohol to caramelize it a bit. Paul said that he tried it at our friend Ed's and it was a whole different taste. looks like we have ourselves a project next time we get together and you are fastish free and ready to taste the toxic again. xo til then, happy questing C

  6. Meg, thanks and a belated Happy New Year! xoj

    C, That sounds like a plan! I only have a few more days---get that fire ready! xoj