Every Thursday night, starting around 7 pm EST (00:00 GMT), we meet in the Mixolseum chat room and make up drinks. Usually we have a theme centered around an ingredient that we try to experiment with.
The theme for November 6 was gin. Participants were asked to find a gin they haven’t previously purchased.
This was a big challenge for me. I’ve made an effort to try as many premium and moderately priced gins as possible. I admit I was afraid I might have to face the dreaded lower shelves.
Then I remembered Bellringer Gin. It’s a moderately priced gin, in the $10-$15 range.
At first taste, this is a nice gin. It’s got a full flavor profile; It does not shy away from being a gin. It is 94.4 proof, and the high proof burn is noticeable, but not intolerable.
I’ll be experimenting more with this gin in the future. Given it’s excellent price point I’m hoping it can play a role as a reliable house gin.
Gin in hand, I needed to invent a drink. My eyes fell upon my bottle of Orchard Apricot. This would bring a nice sweetness. To balance, I thought of Campari, which packs a lot of punch. I started with 1.5 oz gin, 0.5 apricot brandy, 0.5 Campari. While there was some sweetness, there was no apricot flavor at all. I upped the apricot to 0.75 oz, which let the apricot flavor shine through without being too sweet.
However, it was all a little boozy. I was going to try some sparkling wine to lengthen it, but then I remembered Lillet blanc. This quinquina helped meld the apricot and Campari flavors. At first I added only 0.75 oz, but the drink was still a little strong. At 1 ounce, the drink was well rounded.
Add one dash of rhubarb bitters or orange bitters, and you have a cocktail.
Bitter Apricot Cocktail
1.5 oz gin (Bellringer)
1 oz Lillet blanc
0.75 apricot brandy (Orchard Apricot)
0.5 oz Campari
1 dash rhubarb bitters (or orange bitters)
stir over ice until good and cold, strain into cocktail glass, relax in a comfortable chair, and sip with joy.