As part of my reclaimed daily schedule*, I intend to blog at least a little bit each day. Today’s post is a bit of bar blogging, just in case anyone had feared that I had lost interest in cocktails.
On Sunday we went to lunch at a bar/burger place in Decatur, The Imperial, owned and operated by an old friend. (Seriously, Kenneth: a website and a sign outside your place would be really helpful.) The food was great, the weather was beautiful, and the menu was literature. In particular, the liquor listings were intriguing, and I ended up with two separate gin and tonics, using two small batch gins with which I was unfamiliar. They were distinctive and tasty.
Indeed. I will say now that this is a slippery slope, branching out into crafted gins. If I were wise, I would stick to Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s and call myself cool. But now I’ve started, and soon the gin bottles will start piling up just like the single malt scotches did. The problem is that I don’t have another room to put the gin in.
Anyway, the DPS did indeed have a fascinating collection of gins, including one of the ones I had at lunch, and so I emerged with two.
The first, St. George Terroir, is what I had at lunch. St. George makes several gins, and I think I’m going to visit all of them soon enough. This one is very different from your usual gin, with—as the makers say—strong aromas of Douglas fir. It has a very “earthy” body, quite tasty. I would hesitate to use it in any of the usual cocktails because of its strong personality, but a gin and tonic is very nice indeed.
The second is Bols Genever. (I’ve linked to the site, but it’s overly slick and silly, even for a website trying to sell booze to hipsters.) Genever is gin’s half-brother and used to be far more popular and today can only be officially made in the Netherlands. This particular brand is a reconstruction of a recipe from way back. The stuff is very malty and is not only fine with tonic but also in some of the classic cocktails like the Corpse Reviver #2 or the Barnum Was Right.
I’d recommend both for exploration.
However, the package store’s real star line-up was their display of bitters! You name it, they’ve got it (except for Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters, which I was actually in the mood for), and I was hard pressed not to buy everything.
As it was, I limited myself to the Fee Bros. Celery Bitters, and two from “Dr. Adam Elmegirab,” Boker’s Bitters and Dandelion & Burdock Bitters.
Boker’s Bitters is another reconstituted recipe. Before Prohibition killed the company, Boker’s ranked alongside Angostura in popularity, and mourning its loss has been one of those status markers for the trendier cocquetailistes. (I think I just made that word up; I like it.) Who knows if this product is an accurate reproduction? Anyone who could verify that for us is long gone, but the question is irrelevant. The product is excellent whether it’s authentic or not. It will become a preferred ingredient around here.
The other, Dandelion & Burdock, is even better. Based on the traditional British drink, it has an herbal body that is quite delightful in a vodka tonic. This one will get some exploration.
As for the Celery Bitters, it did not appeal to me in a vodka tonic, but it might be useful in layering with other substances to do something horribly hipster.
And that’s how I spent my Monday night.
*I am, as far as I can tell, completely retired.