Now that Halloween’s over, we know Christmas decorations are already going up. Let’s face it: winter is coming. But gin is just the thing to usher us into the season, with all things festive and spiced! Back in the day, gin was marketed as a medicine for all sorts of ailments and sold at chemists’ shops (the juniper was added to make it more palatable, so you can just imagine what it tasted like before that). But that was then, and this is now. Today’s gin is herbal and delicious—it’s bright with lovely astringent qualities and pairs uncommonly well with fruits and herbs, which has allowed us to pack some bold flavors into this month’s recipes.
We hope you can’t wait to try them in December’s Gincember Box! Subscribe now through November 30th to get yours—it’ll ship the week of December 5th.
First up is the Take Flight, created by Kyle Zimmerman, made with gin, cherry demerara syrup, and cold brew—which, although it’s been making itself known as the hip new thing, has actually been around for a long time. There’s evidence that the Dutch were making it all the way back in the 1600s! By the 1800s, we know for a fact cold brew was used in military rations, with tons of added sugar. In the 1960s, Japan’s Ueshima Coffee Co. made the first canned cold brew that was similar to what we know today, with a bit of added milk and sugar (the reverse of what they’d originally intended to make: a milk drink with coffee flavoring). We’re glad they tapped into this coffee trend and that it’s recently come back with a vengeance. Paired here with sweet cherry flavors and buttery notes, we can’t think of a better pick-me-up!
Kyle runs the cocktail program at The Hutch, a cocktail bar within the first true fine dining restaurant in Oklahoma City. Before that, he was the general manager of Oklahoma City’s top whiskey and cigar lounge and has also done consulting and competition work (including Bacardi Legacy).
Next is Above a Persimmon by Tyler Hudgens. The combination of gin, fresh lemon juice, spiced persimmon cordial, and Angostura bitters is only made more seasonally delicious when topped off with fresh grated nutmeg. In Ozark folklore (totally a thing) persimmons can predict what winter will be like (similarly to how groundhogs’ shadows predict the start of spring). And we’re hoping this drink will keep you joyful no matter what’s coming this winter! Check out our interview with Tyler, where you can get more persimmon history and lore, and the story behind her cocktail (plus her recommendations for food and music to pair with it!).
Tyler is the Bar Director at The Dabney in DC, which, since opening in the fall of 2015, has received praise from Michelin Guide, the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appetit, Southern Living, and Food & Wine as a Best New Restaurant. She travels to work and teach with Barsmarts, The Bar Institute, Diageo World Class, and The Washington Cup. She enjoys exploring The District with her golden retriever, Tucker, himself a lover of patios and not-so-fancy ice.
Last on the menu is the Flaming Rosemary Gimlet by Keith Waldbauer. The perfect gimlet, made with gin, simple syrup, and lime juice, becomes just a touch more perfect (if that’s possible) when we take a fresh sprig of rosemary, douse it in Underberg, and light it on fiiire! Just be sure to use a tempered rocks glass for this one—otherwise the sudden temperature change between the flaming rosemary and the cold drink could crack your glass when you pour the cocktail over the sprig to put the fire out. Safety first!
Keith is a leading bartender at Rumba in Seattle. He is a founding member and vice-president of the Washington State Bartenders Guild, as well as a published writer on the topic of spirits and cocktails. His drinks have been featured in books, magazines, and newspapers both regionally and nationally. Prior to Rumba, Keith was a co-owner of Liberty, and tended bar at Union, Vessel, and Barrio in Seattle.
We hope you can’t wait to try our Gincember Box. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
The Shaker & Spoon Team