It's time to elevate your drinking style from a six-pack of cans to a collection of bottles you're proud to pour. Don't have at-home mixology down to a science? We'll get you there. Each week, On the Rocks takes a look at a spirit that deserves a spot in your liquor lineup and delivers a cocktail recipe that's sure to impress your friends, family, and the girl who's not afraid to down a stiff drink.
THE SPIRIT: GIN
We know, gin gets a bad rap. Some say it's (cue obnoxious nasally voice) "like drinking a christmas tree one piney needle at a time." But come on, don't be just another bud-light lime drinking lame-ass; give this magnificent beverage another shot. Crisp and clean, the complex aromas of gin waft up gently from a glass plunging your senses into a world of berries, herbs, and evergreen delight. It's a juniper mash infusion that's not only a key component for some solid and easy classic cocktails (the gin and tonic, the gimlet, and the martini), but also an extremely flexible and dynamic spirit with a huge range of possibility.
Unlike bourbon, tequila, and other liquors made from two or three ingredients, gin can be flavored with any number of different spices and botanicals. This gives it's tasting profile a huge range of possibility. Some gins will be bigger on citrus notes, others on floral and herbs. Whatever the case may be, it's an extremely aromatic and naturally flavorful spirit that was just born for mixed drinks. If you plan on having a well rounded home bar, you'll need a least one kind of gin to transform your living room into a cocktail powerhouse.
THE COCKTAIL: THE FRENCH 75
Named after the World War I 75-milimeter M1897 artillery gun, the french 75 is infamous for packing a pretty generous punch. Booziness aside, it's a surprisingly delicate and sophisticated drink that's become a popular mainstay of New York gastropubs and mixology bars alike. Crisp and refreshing, it's an early afternoon or late night drink that's sure to be a lady killer.
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup or 2 tsp. sugar
1 lemon twist
Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to mixing tin. Shake for about eight seconds. Strain into chilled champagne flute or cocktail glass. Top with prosecco and garnish with lemon twist.
THE BOTTLE: PLYMOUTH GIN
Every gin has it's own unique flavor profile that focuses on a particular herb, fruit, or vegetable. Some of these can be overpowering and a bit inflexible for constructing a broad range of drinks. For the best all round quality and balance, Plymouth gin is a great home-bar investment. It's clean with citrus notes and slight sweetness. It's somewhat demure taste keeps it from overpowering other flavors making it a perfect mixer for a wide range of cocktails. Goes for about $30 on average.