Happy Friday! One night last fall I received a text message from a friend about an amazing cocktail she was drinking at Azul, a restaurant in Miami. It was called a Twisted Gimlet and her request was very simple. “Is there any way you can make this for us at home?” Since then I’ve received quite a few similar text messages from family and friends wanting to know if I can figure out how to duplicate a particular drink they’re having. Sometimes I get a picture too, or a list of ingredients, or a screenshot of the menu, or even the menu itself. One friend in particular likes to call it “field research,” which I love. Whenever I look at my phone and see that this kind of message has popped up, it always makes me smile. Let me tell you why.
First of all, I love text messaging in general. Yes, yes it’s true. I’m one of those people who does not see this electronic means of communicating as the downfall of real relationships, but rather as something that can actually enhance the way we’re connected to one another, especially when we’re limited by time or distance. Secondly, trying to figure out how to make a drink involves some detective work and I am, at heart, a Nancy Drew wannabe. Aren’t we all, really? So it’s fun to track down ingredients, work out the right ratios, make infused simple syrups… whatever it takes to get the drink as close as possible to the original! But there’s something else here other than just fun, which is the most important reason why I love all of this so much. There’s a lot more to making a cocktail for someone that you care about than just the process of measuring, mixing, pouring, and garnishing. You can surely look at it that way, but why not step things up and make the gesture a bit more grandiose? I’d like to think that cocktails, especially those that are thoughtfully planned and carefully made, can be a reflection of the way we feel about one another, as well as a testimony to the lengths we’re willing to go to make each other smile, and the effort we’re willing to put in to maintain the connections that are important to us. Too much? I really don’t think so.
Bottom line to my family and friends: keep those cocktail text message requests coming! They make me very happy. As for the Twisted Gimlet from Azul, it was the very first cocktail I ever attempted to replicate for someone who asked me to do so. It will always have a special place in my heart.
2 oz vodka*
1/2 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz jalapeño simple syrup**
2 slices cucumber for muddling
Cucumber and lime for garnishing
Muddle the cucumber and the jalapeño simple syrup together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients along with 1 large ice cube and 2 small. If you don’t have the large cubes on hand, fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake for at least 15 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a lime strip. Enjoy!
Notice the ratios above: 2 oz of the base spirit (vodka), 3/4 oz sour ingredients (lime juice), and 3/4 oz sweet ingredients (simple syrup and St. Germain). It gets a bit trickier when there are lots of ingredients involved, but this a basic formula that’s a good place to start with most cocktails like this. Then you can adjust or add from there. Give it a try at home!
*CROP vodka is my very favorite.
**To make the jalapeño simple syrup, mix together equal parts of water and sugar in a pot and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid turns clear. Pour into a mason jar and add several jalapeño slices. Seal the jar and allow to steep, checking frequently to see how hot the syrup is (spicy hot, not temperature hot). Remove the jalapeño slices when it’s to your liking. Store for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Have a great weekend! See you all on Monday!