The Art of Trying To Be a Pretentious Mixologist…and Sort of Failing

August 17, 2019
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    First off. I hate scrolling for 4 days through someone’s nonsense ramblings to get to a recipe so here you go.   Cucumber Rosemary Gin & Tonic *recipe is per drink so multiply it as much as you want  **note: you don’t need a whole cucumber for each drink. That should be obvious… but you only need a couple pieces per drink, so might as well make more than one!   1 small cucumber – sliced into “ribbons” (just cut long slices of it really thin) ¼ of a lime – cut off some peel for garnish if you want before slicing it up 2 sprigs of rosemary 1 tsp of rosemary simple syrup – this is optional. I tried to be all fancy and make some myself and totally mucked it up, BUT I might have come across a brilliant idea. If you want to use it, I’ll give instructions further down. 2 oz of gin 4 oz tonic     Instructions: In a glass you can bash things around in, put in a couple pieces of cucumber that aren’t pretty enough to use as garnish, the juice of ¼ lime, 1 sprig of rosemary, a splash of gin, and rosemary simple syrup if you’re using it. Find something you can muddle these together with. I used the end of a spatula. Most people would use a muddler. Mush everything together making sure you break up the cucumber and the rosemary. Then add the gin and continue to mush about, getting all the flavor out of everything. Using a fine mesh strainer (find my handy tip below), strain the mixture into a glass with ice. Top with tonic water. Garnish with cucumber ribbon, rosemary sprig, and lime peel twist. Yesterday I decided on this drink. The Cucumber Rosemary Gin & Tonic. It sounded refreshing and delicious. Plus I had some gin in the cabinet that I wanted to finish off.   I decided to go over the top and make a rosemary simple syrup. I’ve made infused syrups before so it was going to be a breeze. I boiled some water, cut up some rosemary sprigs and put them all in a container and shook it like a polaroid picture trying the bruise the herbs and get them to release all their flavor. Then I let the little container sit overnight so it could infuse more. This morning it smelled amazing. I took half of it and mixed in sugar to make the syrup. It was thin and had kind of lost its herby essence. I figured that might happen, which is why I only used half, and put all of it in a small pot over low-medium heat to reduce.   It was about 2:00pm when I started it and got the midday munchies and had some chips and salsa. I had Mrs. Renfro’s Mango Habanero Salsa and if you’ve never had it, 1) It’s a great line of salsas and jalapenos and 2) they had just redesigned their branding and it is lovely. It’s clean, sleek, modern and wonderfully reimagined. I love it when a brand is able to get a facelift and still remain who they are while keeping up with the times.   In my admiration of the new label and tasty snacks, I forgot about the pot on the stove and realized my syrup had turned to hard candy. It was brown and still a little bit liquid so I was able to salvage some. But the spoon I used to stir it with had become encased in caramelized rosemary candy. My simple syrup was mostly ruined (so I thought) but I had invented rosemary lollipops which I think I might actually make as drink stirrers in the future. Don’t steal my idea. Patent pending.   The recipe calls for a small mesh strainer to be able to strain the mixture into a glass. I have nothing of the sort like that around. But, I do have a French press. After a thorough cleaning I dumped everything from the muddling cup into the press and squeezed that luscious nectar from the liquid pulpy mess. It worked like a charm. Every bit of flavor with none of the chunks. Every cocktail sippers dream.   The other almost fail was a lack of tonic water. In a panic I went to two different stores and neither carried any tonic which I thought was weird. Thankfully, one of our clients, Bodega Boise, carried tonic water. And it was the nice fancy stuff too, in different flavors. Bodega Boise you are a life saver and always have everything I need in an emergency, or when I’m too lazy to go all the way down to the supermarket.   Despite the failure/triumph of making rosemary simple syrup/lollipops, the drink turned out amazing. It was bright and refreshing. Cool, crisp, deep, and earthy. Plus, it’s fun to look at and you feel fancy AF drinking it.   The venture started out as an attempt at being a pretentious mixologist and turned out to be a story of defeat and success. Great ideas don’t always work out like you thought they would. Sometimes you find yourself unprepared. Basically, everything boils down to being able to make the best of things that don’t seem to turn out right for you and not giving up (simple syrup boiling mishap pun intended). Sometimes, with a little clever ingenuity, they work out in your favor. You just have to be willing and brave enough to work with what you’ve got.

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