Happy Halloween! Last Thursday night I had the opportunity to attend Whiskey Fest here in Philadelphia, which was an amazing event. Being the gin lover that I am (most of the time) I was very curious to taste Liberty Gin, the offering from W.P. Palmer Distilling Co. in Manayunk. What really intrigued me was the fact that their gin is based on an old Dutch recipe that goes back to the time of the American Revolution and includes only 6 classic ingredients: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Cardamom, Lemon Peel, and Grains of Paradise. Lately I’ve been drinking gins that are a lot more botanical so it was a nice change to go with something that was a bit simpler, and was also historically accurate. It was fun to think that George Washington could have been drinking gin based on this very same recipe! Both the aroma and the taste did not disappoint, and I was excited to use it in a Fall cocktail (even though it was 80 degrees today) as I continue to feature Philly Craft Spirits Week here on the blog.
As I began to play around with the ingredients for this drink I quickly realized the challenge involved in combining Autumn’s typical spicy flavors with a spirit like gin. Although it’s very assertive on its own, gin can quickly become overwhelmed by other elements that are just too heavy for it. Gin might be the extrovert at the party, but she’s still choosy about the company she keeps! I knew that I wanted to use Suze because it has a spicy, bitter flavor that’s also very delicate; I felt like any of the Amari would just be too powerful here. To contrast the bitterness, I decided to bring in some St. Germain, which is one of gin’s best friends, and which also pairs so beautifully with Suze in Death & Co.’s Terrible Love cocktail. For the fruit, I was ready for a break from apples and decided on pears instead, and I wanted lemon as my citrus. When I tried the cocktail this way, it definitely needed just a little bit more of something so I reached for the aromatic bitters, only to find that they knocked the entire drink off balance. After some trial and error, I landed on DRAM Apothecary’s Wild Mountain Sage bitters and they added just the element I was looking for. They’re available at the Art in the Age store in Old City. I called it Early Autumn because its flavors are so delicate and because it tastes like there’s just a little bit of summer hanging on.
1 1/2 oz Liberty Gin
1/2 oz Suze
1/4 oz St. Germain
1 1/2 oz R.W. Knudsen Spiced Pear
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash DRAM Apothecary Wild Mountain Sage bitters
Pear slice for garnishing
Place all the ingredients in the bottom half of a shaker tin and then add your 1 large cube and 2 small. Shake for 15—20 seconds or until cold. If you don’t have any large format cubes on hand, then fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Strain using a Hawthorne strainer into a bucket glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with the pear slice. Enjoy!