The theme for this Mixology Monday, hosted at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour is ‘variations’. For once I haven’t had to think about what to throw together. This month’s theme perfectly fits something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now, namely a very straightforward and versatile variation of a Gin and Tonic.
Now this one really is very easy. Simply make a Gin and Tonic however you wish. The twist is that while performing this task, reach for a bottle of fruit eau de vie and drop a splash into the drink.
A Gin and Tonic is a summery drink, and fruit eau de vie are similarly summery. You don’t need to add too much eau de vie. A teaspoon or two will add a hint of summer fruit without dominating the drink. You want the drink to remain a Gin and Tonic, but with a little undefinable extra separating it from all the run-of-the-mill Gin and Tonics out there. Of course if you like eau de vie feel free to add more; the drink will still be great, but it may no longer taste like a Gin and Tonic.
So far I’ve only tried this with stone fruit eau de vie, specifically cherry, plum and apricot. Plum eau de vie (here I’m thinking Balkan style Slivovitch) can be rough, but it works beautifully in a concoction like this with other strongly flavored ingredients. The end result is really quite complex and interesting. Apricot eau de vie, for example the Hungarian Barack Palinka, is another excellent possibility. The apricot version is more straightforwardly fruity than plum, and maybe just a little more mainstream and easy to appreciate. Cherry would probably be my least favorite of the three versions I have tried, but I think it could still work well for some people. I’ve never tried raspberry but would like to.
I hardly need to put up a recipe for this, but here goes. . .
French Gin and Tonic (itâ€™s Be Nice to the French Day, and eau de vie is kind of French)
1 ½ – 2 oz gin (I used Plymouth)
juice of half a lime
dash of Angostura Bitters
1-2 tsp of fruit eau de vie (I’d start with one and increase if you need to)
Build over ice in a highball glass and top with tonic water. Garnish with a lime round or wedge.