Monday, September 24, 2012

When we have friends over, my first question before they've even crossed the threshold is "What can I get you to drink?" The inevitable answer is always some variation of "Oh, whatever you've got!" to which I notoriously re-ask my question, but with more bitch in my voice.

You see, I want to have on-hand all the various things someone might desire. And while I don't go as far as stocking housemade bitters or every garnish imaginable, I do like to have a good selection of beer, liquor and wine.

And so we'll start this ongoing series with my personal jam: Gin. Most of our friends are gin drinkers, too, and we've been known to polish off more than a bottle on particularly special occasions.

Personally, I don't like the way Hendrick's tastes with tonic, so tend to have a big jug of Tanqueray at-the-ready for those who like a cocktail. With its heavy rose and cucumber infusion, Hendrick's is unlike any other gin and, for me, best served on the rocks.

It's for people who like gin.


But since she had one up her sleeve, Tara O'Brady (of Seven Spoons and my real life friendship) offers this amazing recipe, perfect for these early days of autumn. (Everything below straight from the horse's mouth!)

Plum Ginger Gimlet

Now here’s where I’m a jerk and don’t tell you the exact recipe, instead supplying ranges and estimates.

The thing is, the nice part of making individual cocktails for friends is that you can tailor their drinks to their specific tastes. See below for how I like mine, but adjust yours accordingly — you might prefer it stronger, sweeter, tangier, or with a little more fizz. Taste to test, fiddle as needed, and taste again.

Gimlets are classically shaken with ice and served in a cocktail glass. I go rogue and reach for a Collins or Old Fashioned glass, depending on how icy I want my sip to be. For the gin, listen to Jason and don’t use anything that will clash with the fruit that’s steeped into the syrup. Speaking of, the syrup should be enough to make 8-10 cocktails.

For the plum syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 2-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled, sliced thinish into rounds
6 red plums, pitted and cut into eighths

For each cocktail 
1-2 ounces plum ginger syrup
Fresh lime juice, to taste
Ice, for serving
2 ounces gin
1 ounce Prosecco or Cava
A few fresh, skinny plum wedge for garnish

To make the syrup, stir the sugar with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Add the ginger and plums. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature. Strain into a clean jug through a fine-meshed sieve — do not press the fruit too hard while straining, or the syrup will be cloudy. Refrigerate until cold.

 In the glass of your choice, stir 1 ounce plum syrup with the juice of half a lime. Add a handful of ice, pour the gin over, and give it a swirl. Top with a splash of Prosecco and tuck in a few pieces of plum to make it pretty. Cheers.

Thanks, Tara!

(Image from the Hendrick's website.)


  1. The plum ginger syrup sounds delightful - will definitely make some this evening. I'm the same way with Hendrick's in that I don't care for it with tonic, but I go club soda/seltzer instead of rocks. You're a champ, Hudson.

  2. If only I had room for a liquor cabinet! On the hunt for ways to sneak storage into my small apartment. I'm with ya on the gin though.