Gin & Tonic
Ingredients: Boomsma Jonge Genever, Q Tonic water
Garnish: Lime wedge
Makers: Boomsma, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Q Tonic, Brooklyn, New York.
Boomsma Jonge Genever is a Dutch-style gin. For those who may not know, gin is vodka (grain spirit) infused with certain traditional botanicals, like juniper. As with most liquors, there are a number of different styles of gin, although with gin, the differences are more subtle. If this one is any indication, Genever is heavier bodied than London dry gins. Smelled and tasted neat, the traditional juniper scent of English gins seems to be practically non-existant. Delicate orange peel and licorice are leading the way here, but more by example than by force.
Q Tonic is a specialty tonic water that claims to be a return to traditional tonic water. It uses real quinine, a substance found in the bark of a South American tree called the cinchona, and agave nectar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Q tonic is much more citrusy than mass-market tonics, although whether that is a result of the quinine or the lemon juice added to it. It has a nice bitter finish, like a good tonic should.
But of course the point is to have them together. They are a good match for each other, and for the ice and the lime. The gin comes through on the nose and upon entry. The sour-bitter of the tonic is a perfect complement to the orange peel and licorice of the gin. If one might dare to say such a thing about a G & T, it’s a triumph. I’ve had this gin with the standard supermarket tonics and the sweetness of the tonic overwhelms the delicate botanicals of the gin. Not so with Q. It elevates this humble drink to another level.
Woodchuck Summer Cider (Limited Release)
Maker: Green Mountain Cidery, Middlebury, Vermont.
Wow, I hadn’t realized that it had been this long since I posted! Well I haven’t stopped drinking, but I have stopped writing. So let’s remedy that right now shall we?
This cider is the special summer release for Woodchuck. The bottle is mostly blue. Initially I thought it was just to project a cool summer image of lakeside living. But as it turns out there’s another reason. As their website states,
“If there was going to be an official drink for the summer season, it would be our Limited Release Summer Cider. It was inevitable; we were going to come up with a Summer Cider at some point, mostly because the two just fit together so nicely. Our Summer Cider is light, crisp, and leaves the tingle of fresh-picked Blueberries on the tip of your tongue.
“Blueberries are a New England tradition that everyone looks forward to. They’re found in the cool shady spots off the trail when you least expect it. You’ve got to hunt for them, but the reward of sweet Blueberries on a hot summer afternoon is not to be forgotten. Neither is the stain they leave on your shirt.”
Wow, what a cool New England tradition! I’ve never heard of those before, what are they called again?, blue berries? Wow, us midwestern slobs have nothing like that around here!
All sarcasm aside, I did sense something a little different about this cider when I first tried it but I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. It’s a testament to how seriously the folks at Green Mountain take their produce. The cider itself is a pale straw color (not some blue kool-aid color) and the blueberry is subtle but adds a perfect tang to the finish and to the nose. Like blueberries, this cider has the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. As a refreshing summer drink, it suceeds wildly. Buy some.