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Ingredients: Boomsma Jonge Genever, Noilly Pratt Original Dry Vermouth

Makers: Boomsma, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Noilly Prat, Marseillan, France

Garnish: lime-stuffed olive

This a definately a different kinda martini.  Although made with gin and dry white French vermouth, there’s very little dry about it.  If it were a musical, it would be La cage aux folls; its Big, sweet and fruity.  Kinda of like a slightly herbal, higher abv kool-aid.  But in a good way.  Peaches, apricots, oranges, a bit of leftover licorice.  Too bad this this the last couple ounces of my Boomsma gin.  This is mad yummy.

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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.

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Bloody Caesar Cocktail

Recipe: 2 oz vodka, 6 oz (or so) Clamato juice cocktail, dashes of hot sauce and worchestershire sauce.

Featured: Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Clamato, Lea & Perrin’s, Deathwish Habanero Hot Sauce

To celebrate the completion of my midterm in my class on the Roman Republic, I’ve decided to enjoy a Bloody Caesar.  Because I have a feeling the class is going to end with one.

A bloody caesar is a bloody mary made with Clamato rather than tomato juice.  Clamato is a tomato juice cocktail made with clam juice.  It makes a much thinner, more mild drink than tomato or vegetable juice makes.  So I always find myself putting more worchestershire and hot sauce into a Caesar than I do into a Mary.  Especially this hot sauce which, despite the name, is less than deadly.  I also forgot to add any prepared horseradish.  Still, the clam came through.

At any rate, in my expereince pepper (black or red) or tomato infused vodka seems to work best with Clamato juice.  It gives its mild flavor a good boost.  At any rate, my Bloody Caesar was pretty tasty.  A nice change of pace from the Mary, even if it does lack its richness and bite.

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Shandy/Alster/Panaché Drink.

Type: Beer Drink

Recipe: 50% Lemonade/50% Lager (Blonde Ale)

Featured: Keweenaw Pick Axe Blonde Ale

Like many of these old-timey drinks, there is a bit of confusion  as to what actually constitutes a shandy.  According to online sources, in the U.S. a shandy is usually a mix of lager and ginger ale or ginger beer.  In the U.K., it is usually lemon soda with lager.

The German and French equivalents Alster (short for Alsterwasser, after the Alster river that flows through Hamburg) Panaché respectively, are both lagers with lemonade.  Being without ginger ale, but with lemonade, I decided on the continental version tonight.  Also lacking a lager, I used the lager-like blonde ale from Keweenaw Brewing company in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan.

The result was very refreshing.  As I am the only drinker in the house at the moment I had two.  No sense in wasting a perfectly good half can of beer!  At these proportions, the lemonade take the lead, but a pleasant bitterness pokes through at the end.  The beer also gives it a full body and keeps the sweetness of the lemonade from subjecting my teeth to that grinding, aching sweetness they get from drinks like lemonade.  It really hit the spot after a day of planting and coughing.