Monday, June 15, 2009

Mixology Monday: Ginger

Ginger is the theme of this month’s Mixology Monday, a perfect ingredient for summer, and even more perfect for lazy me. It just so happens that a couple of weeks ago I made a syrup using up the lemon verbena that I received in my CSA box and some ginger that was hiding in the back of the fridge, and have been pondering what to do with it ever since. Rum Dood, our host for June, threw down the challenge, but left us plenty of boozy canvas to work with. The cocktail’s only requirement is that it contains ginger, and though his blog’s focus, as you might have guessed, is rum, it’s not required that the drinks be rum based. I would not have been so kind. However, paying my respects to the Dood, I decided to experiment with cachaça. I have never been a huge fan of this spirit, though admittedly my exposure to it has been limited. It’s something I’ve wanted to like, so I decided to sample Leblon, a brand that has one several gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The lightly spicy ginger and its citrusy counterpart paired well with the bright Leblon. Having just visited Monterey Bay, I decided to name the drink after some of the local marine life—and of course it’s in Portuguese, just to make it a real pain in the ass to pronounce.

by Alpha Cook

2 oz cachaça (I used Leblon)
½ oz ginger and lemon verbena syrup (recipe below)
3-4 thin wheels of lime

Tools: shaker, muddler, mallet

1. In a rocks glass, take about three thin wheels of freshly sliced lime and muddle them with the syrup and cachaça.
2. Crush ice lightly with a mallet or in an ice crusher. If you’re not using bagged ice at home, place cubes in a bar towel and smack them with a mallet. Or you can use you fancy refrigerator’s automatic dispenser.
3. Pour into a shaker filled with enough crushed ice to fill the glass, shake for about 10 seconds and pour contents back into the rocks glass. (Hopefully you will end up with a surplus of ice in your glass to make it cold and refreshing.)

Garnish with a lime wheel or wedge.

Ginger and Lemon Verbena Syrup

1 ½ - 2 cups water, filtered
¼ cup fresh ginger, finely sliced or chopped
1 hand-full of fresh, or lightly dried lemon verbena (I have very small hands)
white cane sugar

1. Add water and ginger to a small pot, bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
2. Remove mixture from heat, add lemon verbena, let steep for about 4-6 minutes.
3. Strain solids from water, then strain through a coffee filter.
4. Measure the liquid and return it to the pot, adding an equal amount of sugar to it. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool until it can be funneled into a container.

Store in the refrigerator.

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