This cocktail is long overdue. I created this drink in honor of my friend Chris, who has been a big supporter of my efforts with Viva la Cocktail. She lives just north of San Francisco, so I wanted to create something that would be fitting of her California lifestyle. I turned to organic vodka and fresh herbs and started to work around that. I also wanted to create a cocktail that was fitting of her personality—something sophisticated but not too formal. With some trial and error, The Kitchenette was born.
The name comes from her passion for good food and drink, which was embodied in her website called Kitchenette. It was an online magazine dedicated to “celebrating experiences of the palate.”
While this cocktail does not include everything but the kitchen sink, I did want to add some subtle complexity to the drink. I turned to Bols Genever, which is a unique gin from the pre-prohibition era that has been brought back by Bols.
2 oz Square One organic vodka
1/2 oz Bols Genever
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 fresh lime
4 fresh basil leaves
Cut 1/2 lime into 3 wedges. Muddle limes with 3 basil leaves in shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Genever and simple syrup. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Double strain into a 6 oz chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.
A note about muddling
Muddling is an important technique in cocktail making. The idea is to use a muddling stick to extract juice or essential oils from fruit and herbs. When muddling, lightly push on the fruit and herbs with a flat-bottomed muddling stick until the juice is extracted. You don't want to kill it or you'll get a lot of bitter taste.
Nothing says “tiki” like a drink served in a tiki mug with an extravagant garnish. I always like to incorporate one drink served in a tiki mug into my tiki party cocktail rotation. This is your chance to go all out on the garnish—the more the better as far as I’m concerned! Because the drink is served with a straw, you can really load it up and not worry about pineapple chunks plopping out when your guest takes a sip.
The Thurston Howl is a wonderful concoction ripped from the pages of Imbibe magazine (May/June-2009). It makes wonderful use of Tangueray’s Rangpur gin—which is heavy on the lime—and pairs well with the Appleton rum and the Paul Masson brandy. This is a delightful concoction to sip on a warm summer day. Plus, the name always brings a smile to people’s faces.
1 oz Appleton Estate V/X rum
1/2 oz Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP brandy
1/2 oz Tangueray Rangpur gin
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz grapefruit juice
2 oz papaya nectar
1/4 oz Trader Tiki’s cinnamon syrup
1/2 oz ginger syrup
Fill a shaker full of ice. Add the rum, brandy, gin, juices, nectar and syrups. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Pour into a tiki mug. Garnish with pineapple, cherries, cinnamon stick and a hibiscus flower.
Making garnishes should be fun—so take your time. You can pre-make your garnishes right before your party so that you don’t feel rushed when your making drinks. Be careful when using flowers as garnishes because you don’t want to use flowers with pesticides on them. I like to grow my own flowers for garnishes since I know that they’re not treated with anything.
One of my favorite restaurants in Portland is Fenouil, and they have this fabulous drink on their menu called the L’Oranger. It’s always reminds me of sitting outside on their patio overlooking Jameson Square on a warm (and dry) spring day. I was so taken with this cocktail that I swiped the menu (as I do) so I could recreate it at home. Here’s my take on Fenouil’s inspired drink.
1 + 1/2 oz 12 Bridges Gin
1/2 oz orgeat syrup
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the gin, orgeat syrup, juice and bitters (but not the ginger ale). Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a 12 oz collins glass filled with ice. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange slice.
I like to use 12 Bridges Gin (which is made in Portland) because it’s light on the juniper with notes of cucumber, melon and rose petals. I realize 12 Bridges is hard to get outside of Oregon, so you can substitute Hendricks Gin. I also recommend that you use fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a craft brewed ginger ale like Thomas Kemper versus a mass-produced brand. But make sure you don’t use ginger beer! Here’s to spring.