Rusty S: “One of my favorite martinis uses 1 oz vodka, 3 oz of gin and 1/2 oz of Lillet Blanc. I add just a little more Lillet than called for. Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, and serve. This believe it or not is known as the James Bond Martini. He was drinking these in Casino Royale.”
Okay Rust-Man I’ll bite, or, drink this infamous cocktail. And only for two reasons: It’s easy to whet my whistle and you’re offering it up.
I went to visit writer Rusty Sly last week to give him a little holiday thank you for writing-for-free-like-all-of-us-on-this-blog-dedicated-to-the-grape. He reciprocated by providing, what turned out to be, more holiday cheer that I had expected in one cocktail. The nose of this martini was different, the taste was overwhelmingly floral, yet not sweet. There was a bite to it. And so much I couldn’t identify that it only caused me to lament about it until the stores opened back up in the morning for me to buy my own bottle.
My husband has always said “Gin is cheap because it’s cheap”, something I didn’t quite get but accepted as Gin had never been a staple in our liquor cabinet. Vodka was for Martini makings. And Lillet, Rose or Blanc, was also often used to replace dry Vermouth in my Vodka Martini. It added a slightly delicate sweet taste and floral nose; perfect for an aperitif.
But, when I tried Hendricks (Albeit new Bond Daniel Craig had something to do with my interest…I don’t know if this pic is from Casino Royale or not. I don’t care. I just couldn’t find the one of him popping up from the water. It will just have to suffice.) Anyway, I found myself wanting to learn more about the flavors that infused the gin.
After hurriedly typing in my birthday to get past the annoying music and enter their website (http://www.hendricksgin.com) I learned:
“Hendrick’s is an iconoclastically produced small batch gin distilled in Ayrshire, Scotland. Our unusual distillation process combined with our oddly delicious set of infusions yields a one-of-a-kind gin that is passionately loved by a tiny yet growing handful of individuals all over the world. No other gin tastes like it because no other gin is made like it.
Hendrick’s infusions of rose petal and cucumber are capable of transporting even the most conventional of cocktails from the middling, mediocrity of everyday into the uncharted waters of the unexpected.”
So rose petal and cucumber is what I thought was maybe Anise and clean florals? Combined with the White Lillet (http://www.lillet.com) with it’s own “floral nose of honey, candied orange, pine resin, lime and fresh mint” – I could see what the she-bang was all about.
So are all Gins created equally? I knew Hendricks was Rusty’s favorite but I was on a quest for more so I searched Gins and got (from http://www.tastings.com/spirits/gin.html):
“Gin and its Lowlands cousin Genever (Jenever in Belgium) are white spirits that are flavored with juniper berries and so-called botanicals (a varied assortment of herbs and spices). The spirit base of Gin is primarily grain (usually wheat or rye), which results in a light-bodied spirit.“
Okay, so all Gins are infused, and I would have known this had my hubby not ruled over my liquor cabinet. I told said hubby about the drink, sans Daniel Craig of course, and now, lo and behold, he’d like one (or more) too.
So, the lesson here is no matter what your preconceived notions are about alcohol, there are so many different types of liquor out there, why judge before tasting? Why judge a book by it’s cover…or a bottle by it’s label?
The study of alcohol is an education…thanks for following your wine 101er through it. Now which Liquor(s) would you like to tell me about?