Bootlegging: Import Taxes and the Fresh from Chicago

I have lovely, lovely friends. Sometimes, these friends go places, and sometimes, they ask if I want them to pick me up anything while they’re away. This is how my cousin wound up making her way through customs with half a suitcase full of liquor last weekend.

Let me backtrack a bit, and tell you of my two-year-long hunt for Art in the Age’s RHUBARB Tea spirit. I started expanding my collection a few years back, and I had come across RHUBY (as it was called at the time) in a few recipes that sounded absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, not only can we not get it in Canada, but it was making itself scarce on the west coast in general (at least when I looked – multiple times – in Seattle, or when my lovely parents tried hunting it down in California for me). So when M asked if I wanted her to check for anything in Chicago while she was at a conference, you can guess what was first on my list. She went on her own (extensive) hunt, and lo, it was found, and it was bought, and now I have it. Bliss! I also got her to bring me back some local stuff to play with, along with a bottle of Ransom Old Tom Gin (because, again, Canada).

While I had oodles of plans for the RHUBARB Tea, it was one of the locals – an herbal liqueur called hum – that got pulled first. It’s a ‘botanical spirit’, a blend of hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffir lime that clocks in at 70 proof, and it’s just…interesting. And tasty. This past Sunday, we helped M move, and I took delivery of the precious cargo (and let’s not talk about duty and BC liquor taxes, k?). As we all wound down at the end of the day, I achieved the level of mild-buzz where I’m prone to experiment*. This is what came from it, and damn…you should try it too – tis easy, breezy, and beautifully bittersweet:

freshfromchicagoFresh from Chicago

  • 2 oz Tanqueray Rangpur Lime (or any citrus-y gin)
  • 1 oz hum liqueur
  • 2 oz Whistler Kalamansi Lime Cordial (or make your own lime syrup – I like the cold-pressed method here)
  • 1 dropper-full of The Bitter End Moroccan Bitters (swap as you like, with a nose to the Hum notes)
  • soda

Add all ingredients (except soda) in a glass with ice. Stir to combine, and top with soda.

 

* Call it performance anxiety, but I’m too chicken to go off script when I’m stone-cold sober. All of my ‘from scratch’ recipes come from a place of just-tipsy-enough-to-be-brave. I’m sure I’ll outgrow that…

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