Alcohol

Strawberry Thyme Gin Rickey

STRAWBERRY THYME GIN RICKEY-0707.jpg

We finally got around to planting our annual batch of tomatoes and herbs (along with hot peppers and cucumbers). For a while, we'd talked about doing raised beds, but, to be honest, I don't think we're ready to commit to something like that. Between the produce we get from our coop and what we grow in our pots, we're doing just fine. That may change in the future, but, for now, we're content with what we have. 

At the end of a long day, I like to walk around and see how our plants are doing, often with a gin and tonic in hand. We've skipped over spring and are in full-blown summer mode here, which means we're all about the g+ts (or t+ts (tequila) or r+ts (rum)). Whatever it is, it has to be refreshing... something with bubbles and lots of lime. I'm also a fan of incorporating herbs into my drinks. For a fancy, gin and tonic, I'll add sprigs of rosemary to provide some aromatics. 

I bought strawberries at the store and quickly forgot about them (shame, I know). I remembered just before they started to turn and decided the perfect use for them would be a festive summer drink. A batch of simple syrup, with the berries and thyme, makes a wonderful seasonal cocktail. Here's to warm, sunny days... hopefully spent by a lake or beach! 

Strawberry Thyme Gin Rickey

Yield
6 drinks

Glassware
Highball glasses

Tools
Jigger
Fine mesh sieve


Ingredients

For the strawberry-thyme syrup
1 cup sliced strawberries
.25 cup sugar
1.25 cups water
2 fresh thyme sprigs

For each cocktail
1.75 oz gin
1 oz lime
.75 oz strawberry thyme syrup
Ice
Soda water

Garnish
Sliced strawberries
Thyme sprigs

Directions

1. To make the strawberry-thyme syrup, heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add sliced strawberries and thyme and continue to cook until strawberries are mushy. Press the strawberries to release all their juices. Let syrup cool and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Syrup can be stored in a glass jar with a lid for up to 1 month.

2. To prepare each drink, pour gin, lime juice, and strawberry-thyme syrup into a highball glass. Add ice and top with soda water. 

3. Garnish with sliced strawberries and thyme sprigs. 

Pomegranate "Manhattan" + A Tour of Treaty Oak Distilling Co.

Pomegranate "Manhattan"

Pomegranate "Manhattan"

Eric and I aren’t ones to bring back souvenirs from our travels.  We eat our way through a city and return home with memories and a few extra (happy) pounds.  If we do purchase something, it tends to be booze.  From our honeymoon in France, we came back with a couple bottles of wine (oh, yeah, and a container of foie gras) and this is how it usually pans out when we go away.  Like food, drinking local vino or beer or spirits tells you a bit about the culture and it's nice to be able to relive that months (or even years) after a trip.

On our second day in Austin, we stopped at a liquor store to pick up some gin to have in the apartment we were staying at for the week. We scoured the shelves for something produced in the area, and that’s when we came across a bottle with a nifty label proudly proclaiming it as a “Texas-style gin.”  Ok, we’ll give it a try. Another stop for tonic and citrus and we were on our way home to test it out.

The Treaty Oak Distilling Co. is owned and operated by Daniel Barnes (along with his knowledgable and very friendly staff).  Walking in, we weren't quite sure what we'd find, but the guys there beamed when they saw us and were excited to give some out-of-towners a tour of their operations.  The day ended with them lining up bottles on a counter and one of them gestured and said "Ok... help yourselves." If we must, we will!  And we did.

The highlights are their gins… we had already become quite fond of their Waterloo gin, their take on a traditional London dry gin, which is infused with local juniper, lavender, zest from oranges, lemons and grapefruits, rosemary, anise, coriander, licorice root, ginger root and pecans.  The real knockout, however, is their newly released Waterloo Antique barrel-aged gin.  This is a whiskey lovers gin, not just because of its color, but the smooth, caramel notes that it embodies. We’ve been drinking it straight or swapping out for the whiskey in a Manhattan.  I wanted to get a bit playful and thought it might be fun to include a little pomegranate juice into the mix.  Sometimes my experiments are less than stellar. This, however, worked beautifully. Sweet, smooth, boozy. What's not to like?

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Treaty Oak Distilling Co. in Austin TX - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate Manhattan - A Thought For Food

Pomegranate "Manhattan"

Yield 1 drink

Tools Bar spoon

Ingredients 2 oz barrel aged gin (alternatively, whiskey can be used) 1 oz pomegranate juice 1/2 oz sweet vermouth 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds

Instructions

1. In a glass with a few ice cubes, add the barrel aged gin, pomegranate juice, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and bitters.

2. Stir for 10 seconds and strain into another glass.

3. Add the pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

Classic Negroni

NEGRONI-0618

NEGRONI-0618

negroni triptich

negroni triptich

As I open the door I’m greeted by Maki’s wagging tail.  In no mood to play, I do my best to brush her away, but our sweet dog’s persistance wins me over.  Fine… just a few minutes.  She guides me into the living room so we can roll around on the floor.  Soon, she has me pinned down and I get attacked with a few licks of her tongue, leaving long streaks of slobber across my glasses.

Exhausted, I call it quits and get my body off the ground.  Maki, disappointed, retires to her bed.  She wonders if maybe, just maybe, I’ll come back to play with her.  Sorry pup, I’m finished for the night.  It’s time to make dinner… and mix a drink.

After a long day, the kitchen becomes my sanctuary.  Before any onions are chopped, I throw a few rocks into my glass. An aperitif is in order to ease into a relaxing night of nothingness.  I whip up my old standard: a Negroni.  An equal pour of the three ingredients, a quick stir, and we’re in business.

Before the drink hits my lips, I shave a piece of orange peel and rim the glass with it.  The result is subtle, but effective.  The aroma of the citrus breathes life into the Negroni, but a bitter herbaceousness is present in the first sip, mellowed only by the sweet vermouth.  Another taste and my mind is no longer thinking of work and the stresses of my day.  I’m in the here and now.

The onion and garlic sizzle as they hit the pan of butter.  I rub my hand across my perspiring forehead, only to look down to see the glass sweating as well.  You and me both, my friend.  I pick up my drink. Cheers. Sip. Smile.

NEGRONI-0625

NEGRONI-0625

Classic Negroni

Yield: 1 cocktail Glassware: Rocks Glass

Tools Bar spoon Jigger or shot glass

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz 

(45 ml)

  gin 1 1/2 oz 

(45 ml) 

Campari 1 1/2 oz 

(45 ml) 

sweet vermouthIce

Orange peel, garnish

Ice

Instructions

1. Fill the glass with ice, followed by the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.  Stir gently.

2. Rim the glass with the orange peel and then add the peel into the drink.

3. Serve.