Sunday, September 25, 2011

MxMo LXI: Local Color

Warm thanks to Lindsay of Alcohol Alchemy for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday. Her theme is Local Color, drinks based on regionally made artisanal spirits. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re home to some of the most distinguished craft distillers, Anchor Distilling in San Francisco and St. George Spirits in Alameda among them. I could go on about all the delicious things from both companies, but this post is about their specialty gins, featured here in two classic recipes.


That’s not a Cosmo in the picture, folks. As David Wondrich points out in Imbibe! Hollands gin, or genever, responds quite well to the Sazerac treatment, and while the results may look like candy from the bitters, this is serious drinking. Here I’ve used Anchor’s Genevieve, an unaged genever in the antique style.

Genever Sazerac
  • 2 oz genever (Genevieve)
  • 1/2 tsp absinthe (St. George—what else?)
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.


Two of my neighborhood bottle shops less than a block apart have each decided on a different St. George gin to stock. Fine with me. The Terroir is the offbeat one: inspired by the botanicals of California wilderness, it has notes of Douglas fir, fennel, bay laurel and sage along with the juniper—a forest spirit. The housemate and I dig that kind of thing, and stood around the patio in the blowing mists, wearing our magic helmets and nipping the gin out of shot glasses. “Mm—arboreal!”

Whenever I get an unusual gin, I like to try it in a Corpse Reviver No. 2. It has the right degree of mildness to take on the personality of the spirit, and a botanical edge from the gin balances the sweet.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

  • 3/4 oz gin (St. George Terroir)
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau (Seniors Curacao)
  • 3/4 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 drop absinthe (St. George Absinthe Verte)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

There seems to be agreement that this is an equal parts cocktail (except for the absinthe, of course), but the volume tends to vary with the editor. Dr. Cocktail gives a full ounce, which makes for a fine bucket of booze, though maybe more than you’d want to suck down on a hangover. The CocktailDB, gaz regan and Erik Ellestad give it 3/4 of an ounce, which makes up to a nice size if a bit light for general purposes.

With an assertive gin like the Terroir, it doesn’t make much difference if it’s one drop or two (or three) of absinthe.

The Terroir is very successful here—slightly savory, which is nice with the lemon. Don’t wait until your next drinking misadventure to freshen up your corpse.

I guess I oughta finish this thing off, but I can’t stop playing.

Over dinner, my housemate remarked that the St. George Dry Rye Gin I urged him to make a Martini with for himself last night turned out kind of odd. We had both tasted it neat, and it seemed like a suitable kind of juniperous stuff with which to make a Dry Martini Cocktail. “Like it had a splash of rye in it,” was how he put it. Like that’s a bad thing? I sniffed again: almost like a dry genever. The light came on: Eureka! I knew what to do.

El Camino Real

  • 2 oz St. George Dry Rye Gin
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Creole Bitters
Sitr with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

This gin, with its splash of rye, as the housemate put it, has an intense juniper wallop that rings out clear over sweet vermouth and who knows what else you might throw at it. A great cocktail ingredient.

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