Neglect. It’s an awful thing. And to be big and luscious and still be neglected makes aboslutly no sense.
Uh, no, I did not misspell abosolutly up above and here. It’s a pun. This is a vodka drink.
Grapefruit, actually ruby red grapefruit, is the item of the day. We use a bushel of lemons and limes and some oranges for our cocktails. But grapefruits? Far less often.
I think I mentioned here once that George Washington had a line item in his budget for ships to bring up Caribbean citrus so his Continental Army officers could make those rum concoctions that won us our liberty.
Here the spirit is vodka, not rum. In fact, vodka, not rum or whiskey is the number one selling spirit in the United. How do I know? Why is this true? I just read Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin, a wonderful one-theme book from a mixologist with over 30 years of inventiveness. I’ll write more about Vodka Distilled next time.
For now. Mix this. Drink this. Savor this.
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 1 ½ ounces vodka [preferably potato based; why? Well, read Vodka Distilled!]
- ½ ounce Aperol
- ¾ ounce St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
- ¾ ounce freshly squeeze Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice [fresh, not bottled, I must insist]
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice [again, fresh]
- 1 tablespoon of egg white [which I make optional]
In a mixing glass add vodka, Aperol, St-Germain, fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, and egg whites. Shake with ice until well mixed and the egg white are emulsified. Strain into a chilled champagne saucer or, in my case, a martini glass. Garnish with the oils from a grapefruit slice.
Source: Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin
It can be a bit of a challenge to come up with a flavorful cocktail in short order. A bartender is trained to do it, but at home we tend to move a bit slower. If you want a cool beverage, now and with no fuss, where can you turn?
This idea uses ingredients readily at hand: some mint, some cucumber, vodka and club soda.
The original recipe calls for a 12-ounce glass, but I like a smaller 8-ounce one. That means, necessarily, that when you top off with club soda, there’s less room for the soda and less dilution of the vodka-cucumber-mint component. I don’t like my drinks watered down, literally, so I’m happy with this more intense version.
The technique here calls for muddling the mint in the glass. I will admit that I am not a good muddler. I muddle through, but I just never seem to grind the mint all the way down. My solution here is to quarter the mint leaves to get a head start, then put 2 teaspoons of superfine sugar in the bottom of the glass. Yes, the drink is sweeter. But, also yes, the grit of that sugar enables you to chew up the mint.
Lastly, if your cucumber is filled with seeds, then of course scoop those out before finely chopping.
Cucumber Mint Splash
Yield: 1 drink
- Sugar for rimming
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- One 2-inch-thick slice of peeled cucumber, finely chopped
- Shaved ice for filling the glass
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- Club soda
Pour sugar into a saucer. Moisten the rim of an 8-ounce glass and dip in the sugar to coat the rim. Muddle the mint leaves in the glass. Add the cucumber.
Fill the glass with ice. Add the vodka and top off the glass with club soda.
Stir and serve.
Source: The Seven Stars Cookbook