Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Ginrita: A Really Simple Cocktail

Part of the trick to entertaining is to maintain balance with the stages of the evening. When guests come to our house — which really means when they come to our kitchen where every party seems to focus — we always have an array of appetizers ready and waiting.

As people gaze at that party food, I play bartender and I’m ready to mix, muddle and pour. But I want to get everyone sipping at the same time. This weekend, our friends were easy to serve. One person wanted his ice cold vodka and another wanted her diet soda. That left me and Suzen and I had to “catch up” time wise. I needed a quick cocktail, so we could all begin conversing and chewing at the same time.

“Gin and tonic?” Suzen asked.

“I’m feeling experimental,” I said. I was already halving a lime.

This “Ginrita” can be made in a minute and is very simple, yet very, very refreshing. Depending on your limes, you’ll get a light green color or something a tad more distinctive. This isn’t a margarita, and it isn’t a gin and tonic. It has its own distinctive flavor.

I got the idea for the Ginrita from recipes for the Clover Club, a cocktail for a hundred years ago in Philadelphia. The original clover club used grenadine instead of my sugar syrup and was cloudy because it was shaken with egg white. My drink is really a new creation and simpler to craft.

Its pure taste lets it complement many appetizers, including smoked salmon with sour cream and dill on rye bread and figs stuffed with gorgonzola, then dusted with sugar and baked until the sugar caramelizes. [Hint: there’s a pathway to start your holiday party!]

One note, a couple of years ago, we bought an ice crushing machine: you put in ice cubes, the crusher makes noise, and little ice shards go into a container. Shelf space in any kitchen is precious. There is never enough space for everything. We’ve put our espresso machine away, but this ice crusher is always there.

Crushed ice creates a much better beverage than using ice cubes. The crushed ice has more surface area, so it “chills” the beverage far quicker. If you fill the glass with crushed ice, then it actually stays colder longer. The buried ice pieces below the surface just form a thermal mass that takes a longer time to melt than would a few ice cubes bobbing about on the top of the drink.

Brian’s Ginrita

Yield: 2 moderately sized cocktails


  • 3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice [probably 2 limes]
  • 3 ounces simple sugar syrup
  • 4 ounces gin


If you wish, rub the squeezed lime halves around the rim of each glass and dip the glass rim into sugar. You can even create lime-flavored sugar in advance.

Before you begin preparing the drinks, crush a dozen ice cubes and fill two cocktail glasses with ice pieces.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add the lime juice, sugar syrup, and gin. Shake for at least 30 seconds until very thoroughly chilled.

Pour into the ice-filled glasses. Garnish, if you wish, with a slice of lime.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Raspberry Martini



“I don’t feel like a drink tonight,” Suzen said. It’s hot, she’s tired, and a bit over the edge.

“Taste it,” I said.

She sipped. She smiled. “Mine,” she said.

Success. It’s a night when I’m tired too, it’s still hot in the Northeast, and I want something quick and refreshing. I bought raspberries today intentionally to drink with. Tonight, I went to and quickly found the raspberry martini recipe below. It’s very quick, refreshing on a hot night, and pleasantly distinct.

If you have not tried the website at, you are missing a great opportunity. You can enter your ideas for a base liquor, drink style, bartender or ingredients [such as raspberries]. Press “Go” and voila you are rewarded with list of drink ideas.

Diffords comes from Simon Difford, mixologist extradinaire from the UK. Simon has Google alerts on, so he’ll see this post. Simon, thanks for this lovely drink idea. I do have one request. Can you come up with an idea for raspberries and gin? You have several for raspberries and vodka, but your gin queue is empty. I think, given your UK background, that is an oversight deserving of immediate remedy.

Raspberry Martini

Yield: 1 drink


  • 10 raspberries
  • ½ shot of sugar syrup
  • 2 shots of cold vodka


Place the raspberries in the bottom of a stainless steel cocktail shaker and muddle. Add syrup and vodka, then ice. Shake until very chilled.

Pour and delight.