“And I’d sell my soul, my self esteem a dollar at a time,
for one chance, one kiss, one taste of you my Magdalena.”
A Perfect Circle
I can dimly remember nursing an aversion to gin, though I don’t remember why. In those early years of warm beer cans and late night theft from the basement liquor cabinet, everything tasted like burning, and gin like Christmas burning. Maybe that’s why.
Maybe it’s that — despite being the quintessential mixing spirit, unrivaled in its mixibility — gin has no champion. Drinking gin hasn’t been cool since like 1962. Whiskey has been shrouded in mystique and testosterone since wagoners were floating it down the Mississippi, rum’s got pirates, tequila’s a party in itself and vodka is essentially Kate Moss in liquor form, but what’s gin got? In this land of endless summer, you’d think the starring ingredient of a Southside or Tom Collins would recommend itself, but it doesn’t.
Whatever the reason, gin cocktails in this town are criminally undervalued. By way of response, we decided the new gin drink on URBN’s summer cocktail menu must be not only good, but so deliciously, slap-your-momma, holy-fuck refreshing that people will have to order it. They’ll have no other choice.
1.5oz Strawberry-infused Beefeater gin
0.5oz Stirrings Ginger Liqueur
0.5oz simple syrup (1:1)
0.75oz lemon juice
Shake, strain over fresh ice in a collins glass. Top with:
1.5oz Midici Ermete Lambrusco
1.5oz soda water
Mix with straw. Garnish with a lemon wedge, in the drink like a sinking ship. Serve.
Lambrusco is a sweet to off-dry, lightly sparkling Italian red wine. Since I tried our particular bottling, I’ve wanted to mix it with strawberries — the wine’s balsamic notes are so strong that it’s a fairly natural choice. Fresh strawberries are too intense, but the fruit notes extracted by the gin infusion work perfectly. Basil would’ve worked just as well as ginger, but strawberry/ginger is one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time (as is balsamic/basil, for that matter, but you can’t do everything).
This drink comes out a dark purple. The acidic bite of vinegar, when properly restrained, is soul-mates with a hot summer day. Add those flavors to what is essentially a Tom Collins, itself preternaturally refreshing, and you’ve got my favorite cocktail on the new menu.
There’s definitely a subset of the population who won’t like it — the taste of vinegar isn’t for everybody, after all — but sometimes, you shouldn’t make cocktails for everybody. Sometimes you have to swing for the fences.