Smoked Salmon and Gin.. Just the very sound of these words makes me very hungry and thirsty. Although thirsty sometimes becomes a misnomer because it's only 10:42 AM and drinking gin is never recommended. Unless of course I'm mixing that salmon (from Maine) with good cream cheese on seeded Jewish rye? Well, I may be able to make some kind of difference in this unique situation.
After all, next month is the yearly event named Tales of the Cocktail. This event is the shining star of cocktailian pleasures. Sure there are events in Portland, Oregon and of course New York City and now even Miami has become a viable venue for our industry. And with my passion for the drinks industry I'd say that each has their charms.
For my money, I choose New Orleans. Not only because of the place or the name of this venerable event, but the people who make Tales of the Cocktail a world class event, in the city that practically invented the cocktail.
At Tales of the Cocktail, serious drinking starts early in the morning. Or is it late at night? I'm really not sure because after a day or so, it all becomes blurry.
I've found in a very short time in this business that you must have a very high tolerance for hard liquor at sometimes impossibly early hours of the day. You are forced to practice many months prior.
In this case I'm looking over my desktop real estate wistfully at a bottle of gin from my friend John Lundin in Seattle. John is the owner of another favored liquor, Bluewater Vodka. Bluewater signifies the ocean that crashes against the prehistoric piles of stone which make the Pacific Northwest. John is a hearty sort of gentleman and his vodka exemplifies his desire to expand flavor.
The newest product in John's cupboard is a London Style Gin. This gin is oh, so dry with a wisp of juniper at the finish and a gorgeous, crisp and aromatic nose. At 92 Proof, its hardly a breakfast gin, but maybe with a splash of Luxardo Aperitivo, would this gin be able to be supped before noon.
I love the bottle design of the Halcyon Organic Distilled Gin. It clearly reads right on the front of the clear bottle, USDA Certified Organic. That means to me that this bottle has no un-natural ingredients. Full disclosure- right there on the front label.
The orange colored float plane is handsome as is the side of the bottle reading: Bluewater Organic Distilling, American Glass, 1% for the planet member. I like this gin even more knowing these things. And when I learned that the gin (and the vodka) is distilled in traditional copper pot stills I was charmed all the more.
Crisp aromatics of Orris Root, Asian Spices and Citrus give way to a dry finish of juniper with a slightly white chocolate nose. There is bittersweet herbs in the background along with freshly cut dandelion greens. I love this gin for its sensuous qualities of warming and stimulating the appetite.
I've made some ice infused with the Luxardo Aperitivo with "Inspired Water" from my Mavea pitcher.
I live for drinks that cause me to experience FLAVOR.
Now about that smoked salmon. You certainly can make gravlox with gin and good salmon. A bit of Kosher Salt, some sugar, dill and of course gin makes a pretty good example of this Scandinavian soul food. And what tastes better with gravlox than an icy glass of gin? Ok I know that Aquavit tastes pretty darned good, but this morning with a bottle of this highly expressive gin in front of me, all I can think about is that sandwich that I devoured.
It was, after all before noon!
I say try this easy and stomach healing cocktail that speaks clearly of the passion for a world class level- great gin!
2350 Broadway Cocktail with honor to the late Pete Namlook
(Makes two drinks)
2 oz. Halcyon Gin
.50 oz. Luxardo Aperitivo
.50 oz. Fernet Branca
1 bar spoon of Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit)
Cherry infused Mavea Ice. (to a regular ice cube tray, freeze a bit of cherry jam and freeze overnight)
To a mixing glass fill 3/4 with bar ice
Add the liquors and the bar spoon of the bitters
Stir briskly with this bar spoon
Place the cherry infused ice cubes in a Collins glass
Pour the gin/bitters mixture into the glass
Top with an ounce or two of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Garnish with a lime wheel