Counter Intelligence
Blackcurrant Cordial

Until today, I had never experienced a blackcurrant outside of the realm of jam.  They are, I find, quite pleasant raw.  The internet will tell you they need sugar, but the internet tells you that everything needs sugar.  The raw berry is a bit tart, the peel has some tannins, as dark-peeled berries tend to have, and the flavor is something between a cranberry and a cherry.  For some reason I want to describe it as “meaty” but I feel like that might turn you off.  In any case, I went sugar-less, save for a whiff of absinthe, which strikes a nice balance with the blackcurrant, lingering on the front of your tongue while our berry friend hangs out a little farther back.

Blackcurrant Cordial

Blackcurrant Cordial

8 or 10 blackcurrants, rinsed

2oz gin

a whiff of absinthe

Muddle your blackcurrants.  Add gin and ice; shake.  Pour a small amount of absinthe in your glass, swirl around, and pour out.  Strain your cordial into your glass.

The Right Hook

Alternately called Brüz (thanks, Alex) but I can’t consistently make ü happen due to laziness/ineptness so instead we have a violent name for a violet drink that is, itself, largely good-natured and down to earth.  Herbal, fresh, and ginny, just like I like it:

The Right Hook

The Right Hook

5 blackberries (ideally fresh and local.  nuff said)

2oz gin

1 Elderflower Juicebox (avail at IKEA locations in Red Hook and, like, elsewhere)

seltzer

Muddle blackberries.  Add gin and shake with ice.  Strain into a new glass with ice and top with your juicebox and seltzer.  Maybe (maybe?!?) someone will buy me a bottle of St Germain and then I can make this thing all growns up, but this version is actually pretty tasty.  The mint was an afterthought, and I just bruised a few leaves between thumb and forefinger and dropped em in.  Added to the bouquet, more than anything else, but pretty is pretty, and everyone loves an edible garnish.  (Note to reader: start loving edible garnishes, everyone is doing it.)

P.S. Roommate, be advised: there’re no juiceboxes left, so I couldn’t even take my own photo.  Halp! 

Eureka! (that’s the bev’s name)

Some people think that summer drinking is all about the mojito, and mint is great or whatever, but you should buy some gin and make this instead:

Salad and Eureka

The salad was delicious, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about, this time.  I like this drink for summer because the cucumber is fresh and light, the basil gives a great herbal kick, and you can’t fake it with a bottle of “mint lime syrup” found on shelves at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  It’s a huge crowd pleaser, it’s not hard to throw together, and it’s perfect for these recent climes.

Eureka

4 cubes cucumber

3 basil leaves

1.5oz gin

.5oz triple sec

white cranberry juice

seltzer

Muddle your cucumber and basil leaves in a shaker, bruising but not shredding the basil if you’re not straining (but if you’re gonna strain it later like I do, go nuts).  Add gin, triple sec, and ice.  Shake.  Strain over ice, and top with juice and soda.  (Or, like, stir all that ish together.)

If you’re making this for a party: wash a big handful of basil leaves and put them at the bottom of a pitcher with a cut up cucumber.  Muddle a bit, somehow.  A big spoon or the bottom of a heavy glass?  Something that will bruise the basil leaves and make everything smell great.  Add gin and triple sec 3:1 and let that hang out in your fridge til party time.  Then your guests can get ice in a glass and add juice and/or soda to their heart’s content.

Strawberry Rhubarb Gimlet

The good news: this is what i did with the very last inch of rhubarb stalk, and the very last strawberry.  PROMISE.

Strawberry Rhubarb Gimlet

Strawberry Rhubarb Gimlet

1 strawberry, cut into pieces

1in rhubarb, sliced

the juice of 1/3 a lime

1t sugar

2oz gin

Muddle the fruit and juice.  Add sugar and gin.  Shake.  Strain over fresh ice, garnish with mint.  Choose a complimentary-colored straw.

Rhubarb Mint Gimlet

There was a period of two years when I ordered nothing but gimlets at bars.  Not sure why.  Even more surprised that I never experimented with additions other than lime!  I don’t think I could hold a conversation with former-me, she sounds boring.  My CSA fruit share started this week, and we got an enormous amount of rhubarb.  I like rhubarb, and I think tomorrow I’m going to bake it into a crisp (and then LEAVE my apt, sorry dog), but today, this:

Rhubarb Mint Gimlet

Rhubarb Mint Gimlet

five thin slices of rhubarb

five mint leaves

1t sugar (or more, or less)

juice of a quarter of a lime

2oz gin

Muddle the rhubarb and mint leaves in the lime juice.  Add gin and shake with ice.  Strain over fresh ice.  Garnish.  Photograph.  Drink.