Hot, sticky August evenings, where everything is lazy and you move through air like syrup. These aren’t evenings built for toil, no matter how noble the effort. These evenings call for something wet, cold and particularly easy.
So sing it with me…
Let’s do the smash! The bourbon giiiiinger smash!
I read an article about how grapefruit is the under-appreciated citrus (it has no special citrus press!). But considering how often I reach for it for summertime cocktails, on the advice of any number of recipes, I figure I can’t be the only one with a growing appreciation for its own bittersweet charms. In the Salted Tarragon Greyhound, for example. Or this guy here – the (not) Knob Creek Sour Ginger.
I nicked that recipe up above, with a couple of tweaks. Now, it calls for Domaine de Canton liqueur, which (while absurdly delicious) is a pretty major investment. I had a couple of mini bottles that I picked up at Legacy, but I used them already and I haven’t seen them since. As I was just the maid of honour in a wedding and my discretionary spending is thus…limited, I was forced to improvise. I used Giffard Ginger of the Indies, which has a really nice intense ginger flavour, but lacks the sweetness of the Canton. I made up for some of that by adding about a half-ounce of honey syrup – I felt ginger syrup would gild the lily a bit, and honey syrup tastes miraculous with grapefruit. I also tried it with both the Maker’s Mark and the Basil Hayden’s, and found I preferred the former – the latter was just a bit too smooth.
What I wound up with was just the trick to deal with Vancouver’s uniquely deceptive heat. A little sweet, a little tart, a little bitter and very much like a drinkable version of those little spray bottle fan things.
- 1.25 oz of your preferred bourbon
- .75 oz of ginger liqueur (Canton, ideally, but Giffard will work)
- 2 oz good quality grapefruit juice
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .25 oz honey syrup (omit if using Canton)
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, shake to chill. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge, but give it a squeeze over the drink before you drop it in. Now take that drink, put a record on and sit on the balcony with your eyes half closed and your feet up. There ya go…
I had this idea.
You really have no idea how many times that sentence has ended in relative disaster for me.
My idea was born of an anniversary gift from Alex, a bottle of Snap that I had been too guilty to splurge on yet. I have a
little big ginormous thing for ginger in general, so you can imagine my glee. There may have been some petting of the bottle. Anyways, I started off by doing a quick mix-up of one of the ‘suggested cocktails’ in the little attached booklet…and it was absolutely disgusting. It tasted like sipping paint thinner.
Alright, no worries – how about I use this opportunity to take some baby steps away from my recipe dependance? Surely that’s a better idea than picking any of the dozen recipes I collected specifically for that spirit! I’m sure, going with the title, you can imagine how this ends.
It was a fairly conservative idea – start with a basic bourbon sour, make it gingery. Split the mix from straight bourbon into half and half with the Snap. Add lemon, then some honey syrup? Yeaaaah, not so much. It’s what I like to call ‘lopsided’ – a drink with a pronounced limp on the palate.
Maybe if I made it more gingery (Erin’s solution to any number of problems)? Skewed the spirit ratio, used some Morris Ginger Syrup instead. Nope. Nope nope nope, totally flat. Somehow tasted LESS gingery. Maybe if I add a couple drops of Shanghai Rhubarb Bitters (I like ginger and rhubarb elsewhere)? Yeaaahh, no, this thing is just not going to happen this evening.
It was a sad moment, made sadder by the empty space in the bottles. Waste of Snap, waste of a very, very tasty bourbon. I’m determined to try again after a bit, to not let it haunt me as long as my failed egg white experiments. I know you can’t learn what works until you’ve had an intimate acquaintance with what certainly doesn’t, so we’ll see when I can muster my courage once more.