Is there a scary holiday happening where we’re all going to have to say inside and scream at each other? Is there a vastly more terrifying event happening a couple of days later? I can’t seem to remember.
If you feel like having a little liquid amnesia this very particular weekend, a simple sour type beverage might be a sensible move. Healthy juice and not a huge amount of sugar combined with a “healthy” portion of of gin. What’s not to like?
I’ve covered gimlets a couple of times. The classic version calls for Rose’s super-sweetened packaged lime juice — pretty much the only exception to the classic cocktail-lover’s insistence on fresh juice. Even so, I prefer the fresh juice-based update I took up last year. If some of you find the original version a little too sweet and fresh-sour version a little too sour, the Meyer Lemon Gimlet just might just be your beverage, Goldilocks.
Believed to be a crossbreeding of lemons and mandarin oranges. the Meyer lemon has a touch of sweetness. It’s supposed to be in season all throughout late fall and winter but you may have to go to a bit upscale or specialty in your supermarket shopping to find some. Using Meyer lemons as an alternative to limes in a gimlet, or lemons in a standard sour, yields some very nice results that are just a tad sweeter and perhaps more herbal in flavor, some say. Some recipes call for an infusion of a popular herb often found at Scarborough Fair, as the folk song tells us. This week, however, I’m keeping things simple. Yes, you could say that this week in particular I just don’t have thyme for fancy syrups.
The Meyer Lemon Gimlet
2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Lemon slice (very optional garnish)
Combine all of the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sip and appreciate that no one is trying to tell us we don’t taste what we taste, even if they are trying to convince us we’re not seeing or hearing what we’re seeing or hearing.
This is a drink that works pretty well with most gin brands though my favorite iterations were not necessarily aligned with my favorite gins. I’m not saying that the versions I made with such high quality stalwarts as Bombay Sapphire and Beefeater 24 weren’t tantalizing. The Beefeater was definitely hitting some interesting flavor zones on my tongue and was pretty danged good. Bombay was just fine but a bit busy for my taste.
However, both I and my house guinea pig agreed that the best two versions were made with less respected gin choices. Bellringer is a 94 proof brand that I’m still trying to make up my mind about as it has some odd flavors in the mix and, on its own or with plain soda, I wouldn’t recommend it — and most online reviewers are less than kind to it. Yet it was my favorite version as the spiky flavors stuck out in a way that I love and my in-house guinea pig quite liked. Gordon’s Gin — one of the great booze bargains, especially if you like you’re gin on the mild side. I don’t mind the unobtrusiveness of its flavors as much as it being merely a boring 80 proof. Still, it was a truly delightful, simple drink that my noncocktailian housemate and I agreed was pretty fantastic. Say what you will about 2020, it may be the year where we learn that, sometimes. the boring choice is also the best choice.