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Magdalena

July 15, 2013

“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
“Magdalena”

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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.

[mag] glamour shot

Magdalena
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.

[mag] detailLambrusco 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.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2013 7:39 pm

    Jesus,Mary and Joseph, Jason! How in the hell did you figure out that 1962 was the year that gin died? Uncanny! You must have researched some old farts like myself. The reason I absolutely know you hit the nail on the head was that 1962 was PRECISELY the year that I had my last drink of gin. it’s been full tilt vodka/tequila ever since.Fifty freakin’ years. I can offer further evidence by the fact that ’62 was the year I got my degree and wrapped up my cocktail serving experience. I had worked my way through college as a waiter in a dinner house with active cocktail bar. When i started, orders for gin drinks were commonplace. Academic sophisticates might order the occasional vodka martini. That was about it in the vodka department. There were no Russki or Polski libations on the shelves in those days. The gin seemed to slide as my server days increased, until by my graduation, we hardly ever took a gin order. I didn’t notice it at the time. Never gave it a thought. Nor could I tell you why i switched,other than just going along with the current. But as soon as you said it stopped in 1962, all these memories came flooding back. Well, my boy, i’ll be seeing you in a couple of weeks and you can have the honor of serving me my first gin since ’62! . I love vinegar, btw. Great post, J!!

    • July 16, 2013 7:18 pm

      Thanks so much! That’s hilarious — I actually was aiming for the year Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to marijuana, but a moment of unlaziness finds out that was 1964. Lucky accident I guess.

      • Tom Shugart permalink
        July 16, 2013 9:27 pm

        Shucks! I thought it was your brilliance. 1964? Are you kidding? That’s news to me. I can’t believe the Fab Four weren’t rolling joints back in those sweaty Hamburg days.

      • July 16, 2013 11:24 pm

        I took a Beatles class at UCLA, believe it or not, and apparently the day Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to marijuana was a watershed moment in American cultural history. August 28, 1964, was (some say) the catalyst that turned “I want to hold your hand” into “We all live in a yellow submarine.”

      • July 17, 2013 9:04 am

        No, the cultural watershed was when UCLA put that class on the curriculum. Nothing against the Liverpool Lads, but college credits? You should refund that portion of your tuition to your parents. (Truth be told, I’m jealous. I was born too soon)

  2. Rebecca Zearing permalink
    July 16, 2013 2:31 pm

    Aisling is in town..we were headed there already..now we will be inexplicably drawn there! That sounds so good. I can hardly be there and not have my mane of needles, exceeded only by your Autumn Negroni..Your writing is wondrous and I too wonder how you know things like 1962 and you are so young. I and everyone I know appreciate what you bring with this Drinks and Drinking. I will shortly be the judge of this! Thanks for what you do.

    • July 16, 2013 7:18 pm

      Good to see you today! Thanks, as always, and I hope you found it as good as I did!

  3. February 9, 2014 11:32 pm

    Wowza, problem solved like it never happened.

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