Friday, 18 April 2014

An apple a day...

Apparently the old adage of, 'an apple an day...' is no longer sufficient to keep the doctor away. In fact, if recent press is to be believed, then your 'five a day' needs to be at least seven, and ideally, should be twelve. It's enough to drive anyone to drink, particularly if your idea of fruit and veg includes the slice of lemon in your gin and tonic (that does count, right?) Mr TG and I are tireless in our quest to up our vitamin intake through the medium of cocktails and we calculate that if you drink all of these, you should be at least two portions of fruit closer to your daily goal. The naysayers among you may spot the potential flaws in this plan, but if you actually manage to drink them all, the chances are, you won't care too much...

The inspiration for this week's post came from my friends at Pinkster whose deliciously pink gin recently crossed the ocean, popping up in New York City by the Empire State building (click here to see the picture). Pinkster Gin in the Big Apple immediately suggested a cocktail opportunity and the Big Pink was conceived - a fresh and simple combination of Pinkster Gin, raspberry, fresh mint and cloudy apple juice. 

The Big Pink

4 fresh raspberries
6 mint leaves
Cloudy apple juice
Sprig of mint to garnish

Add the gin, raspberries and mint to the bottom of a tall glass and gently muddle together - the object is not to really squish them together but just to slightly bruise the mint and fruit to release the flavours.
Add a handful of ice and top up with cloudy apple juice.
Stir with a swizzle to mix and garnish with a sprig of mint.

My inspiration for the next cocktail came from a little further down south in the US of A, from the state of Kentucky - home to the world renowned Kentucky Derby where the drink of choice is the Julep. Derby day falls on May the 10th of this year and I always like to mark the occasion with a Julep or two, although this time, I am playing pretty fast and loose with the traditional Julep formula (click here for the traditional Mint Julep and the alternative, Lavender Julep recipes). I like this apple version as it is a little less alcoholic and fruitier than the traditional Mint Julep.

Apple Julep

2oz bourbon (I used my favourite Buffalo Trace)
10 - 15 mint leaves
2oz cloudy apple juice
Sprig of mint to garnish

Muddle the mint and bourbon in the bottom of a Julep tin or tall glass.
Fill with crushed ice and pour over the cloudy apple juice.
Use a swizzle stick to mix the drink thoroughly and garnish with a sprig of mint (gently slapping the mint between your palms beforehand, will release the minty aroma).

This next cocktail combines the sharp, sweet flavour of apples with the fiery kick of ginger. Here we get a double shot of fresh apple flavour from both cloudy apple juice and the exceptional, Chase Sharp Bramley Apple Vodka. This vodka was distilled in a small, limited edition batch and is nigh on impossible to get hold of. However, I live in hope that with enough demand, the clever people at Chase Distillery will decide to create another batch, so please feel free to make enquiries at their website and perhaps we can collectively make it happen...

Chase Apple and Ginger 

2oz Chase Sharp Bramley Apple Vodka
5 mint leaves
1 strawberry (quartered)
1oz cloudy apple juice
2oz Fever Tree Naturally Light Ginger Beer

Gently muddle the mint, strawberry and vodka in the bottom of a glass, taking care not to overly bruise the fruit.
Add a handful of ice, the ginger beer and juice and stir with a swizzle stick to mix the drink.

Finally, we come full circle and back to Pinkster Gin who inspired the post in the first place with their appearance in The Big Apple. This cocktail, The Big Pink Martini isn't a martini in the traditional sense, but is served in the martini style. In place of dry vermouth, we are using Sauvignon Blanc and cloudy apple juice with just a dash of simple syrup to approximate the intensity. The result is much lighter and of course, fruitier...

The Big Pink Martini

1oz Sauvignon Blanc
1oz cloudy apple juice
3 raspberries
Dash of simple syrup

Muddle the raspberries with the gin in the bottom of a shaker.
Add the remaining ingredients with a handful of ice and shake hard to mix.
Double strain the contents into a chilled martini glass.

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