Cocktail of the day: Gordon Cocktail

Saturday night, dinner and cocktails with friends, and experimentation! We tried out one that none of us had tried before, and I’m always willing to be a cocktail guinea pig (within reason). It’s easy to make, with at least one ingredient that everyone with a well-equipped bar should have, plus one more that you should treat yourself to more often. Amontillado sherry, one of Spain’s great gifts to the world, is nutty, delicious and almost worth getting bricked up behind a wall for. Being fortified it’ll keep longer than regular wine, but I suspect that after your first sip it won’t last terribly long.

The specific gin we used for this cocktail was a relatively new one called Hendrick’s from Scotland; it employs a few unique botanicals among the usual mix, including rose petals and cucumber! Absolutely lovely stuff.

I really enjoyed this cocktail, and I’m doubly glad for it because as it’s an excellent variation on the classic Martini it’s brought me just a little closer to true and full Martinihood.

from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David A. Embury
Faber and Faber, London, 1953

5 parts or more (2-1/2 ounces) gin
1 part (1/2 ounce) Amontillado sherry

Stir well in a bar glass or Martini pitcher with large cubes of ice
and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a large piece of lemon
peel over the top.

If you are in a hurry or if you do not have lemon peel available,
a few dashes of orange or lemon bitters (not more than two or three
dashes to each drink) make a reasonably satisfactory substitute. Also,
some people like both the bitters and the twist of lemon.

Embury suggests Gordon’s gin for this drink; try Hendrick’s if you can find/afford it, Plymouth if you can find it; otherwise good ol’ Beefeater, Bombay or Tanqueray No. 10 will do nicely.

Regarding the subject of the lemon twist, Embury continues from the Gordon recipe:

Few people realize the importance of the ‘twist of lemon’ in the preparation of cocktails, particularly the Martini. Some regard it as a fancy, rather frivolous, and wholly meaningless gesture. Nothing could be further from the truth. The lemon must be fully ripe but the skin must be soft and flexible. A hard, dried-out skin will not exude its oil when twisted. When the bit of lemon peel is twisted over the glass, the surface of the cocktail should be sprayed as if with an atomizer with the oil of the lemon. This simple operation transforms a mediocre cocktail into a good one and raises a good cocktail to the level of frankincense and myrrh!

Hmm. Did the Wise Men also bring cocktails among their gifts? I’ll have to concoct a “Magi Cocktail” for Christmas the year…