Online Extra: When the Spirits Move You...
The Old Cuban (Champagne Mojito)
To create a mojito that could be enjoyed year-round, Saunders balanced a hefty aged rum and bitters against champagne, adding a split vanilla bean rolled in sugar as a festive garnish.
¾ oz. lime juice 1 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, uncooked) 2 dashes Angostura bitters 6 mint leaves 1½ oz. Bacardi 8-year-old rum 2 oz. high-quality Champagne
Garnish: Floating mint leaves with optional sugar-coated vanilla bean
Measure lime juice, simple syrup, mint, and bitters into a mixing glass. Muddle mint to extract flavor. Add rum and ice. Shake all (except champagne) and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with champagne, and garnish with a vanilla bean.
Now here are the others. You have photos of the Booker Manhattan and Gin-Gin Mule, but may as well include as well the Earl Grey MarTEAni and Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini, given the discussion they receive in the story. I've written (with Audrey's help) brief descriptions that help set the context for why we're introducing readers to each recipe.
The Booker Manhattan
Though this one chimes in at 126.8 proof, it manages also to be deliciously spicy when the sweet vermouth of a classic Manhattan is cut with a little Punt e Mes, one of the neglected aperitif wines that Saunders has been promoting.
3 oz. Booker's Bourbon ½ oz. Punt e Mes ¾ oz. Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Measure all ingredients into the mixing glass, and stir 35 times to properly dilute. Pour into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with the cherry.
The Gin-Gin Mule
An ardent advocate of gin in cocktails, Saunders says her version of the classic mule calls for using Tanqueray gin for its higher proof (94.6) and bold, herbaceous quality. It also marries beautifully with the spiciness of ginger beer. Since commercial ginger beers tend to be very sweet, Saunders recommends making your own. Its concentrated, dry, and non-carbonated quality will make it ideal for mixing directly into the cocktail.
¾ oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice 1 oz. simple syrup 6-8 mint sprigs 1 oz. (30 ml) home-made ginger beer (directions below) 1½ oz. (45 ml) Tanqueray Gin
Garnish: mint sprig and straw
In a mixing glass, measure lime juice, simple syrup, and mint. Muddle well. Add gin, ginger beer, and ice. Shake all and strain into a 10-oz. highball glass.
Homemade Ginger Beer
1 quart bottled water 4 oz. fresh ginger, unpeeled and finely grated Juice of ½ lime 4 tablespoons of light brown sugar
Finely grate ginger. In a pot, bring water to a boil, and shut off heat. Add grated ginger and lime juice. Cover and let stand for one hour. Add the light brown sugar and stir well to dissolve. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer, and let cool.
Important note: When you are straining the ginger, take a spoon or ladle and firmly press down on the ginger to fully extract the flavor. The strongest part of the ginger essence is still hiding in there, and needs to be pressed out manually. Its appearance will be cloudy. Let cool, and then pour through a funnel into a covered bottle or storage container. Shake well before using. Though it's best used fresh, it can be stored for up to two weeks in a refrigerator before the flavor begins to fade and fermentation sets in.
The Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini
One of Saunders' most audacious drinks, this cocktail substitutes a peaty, smoky-tasting single-malt Scotch for the vermouth called for in the classic martini recipe. The "lion tamer" that whips the other ingredients into balance is a few drops of Pernod, what she calls another unfairly neglected apertif. Saunders says the cocktail is named for an old friend, Dori, who likes to drink whisky.
½ oz. Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch 2 oz. Grey Goose Vodka 4 drops Pernod
Combine scotch, vodka, and Pernod over ice, and stir well. Serve up in a chilled martini glass, using a lemon twist as garnish.
The Earl Grey MarTEAni
Saunders thought this one up after she was invited to work a Thanksgiving celebration at the Ritz Hotel London. The instantly popular recipe helped ignite a boom in tea-based cocktails, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
1½ oz. Tanqueray Gin infused with Earl Grey Tea (directions below) ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 oz. simple syrup (equal parts by volume of superfine sugar and water, uncooked) 1 egg white
Garnish: lemon zest sugar rim & lemon twist (directions below)
Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass Add ice and shake hard. Strain into a chilled martini glass that has been rimmed with lemon zest sugar and add lemon twist.
To prepare gin infusion: Measure 4 tablespoons of loose Earl Grey tea into 1-liter bottle of Tanqueray gin. Replace cap, and shake well to agitate. Allow tea to steep in gin for 2 hours. To catch loose tea leaves, pour gin infusion through a fine strainer into an empty bottle or bowl. Take care not to press down on tea to extract excess gin, as this is likely to add unwanted bitterness to the gin. Rinse out Tanqueray bottle to remove any leftover tea leaves. Pour infused gin back into bottle, cap, and keep chilled in refrigerator.
To prepare lemon zest sugar: Grate the fresh lemon peel, taking care to use only the yellow rind and avoid the bitter white pith. Mix with the sugar.