1.5 oz. gin
.5 oz. Zirbenz
2-3 dashes orange bitters
3 oz. tonic
Build first 3 ingredients in rocks glass
with ice. Top with tonic and stir. Garnish with lime wedge.
I have a strange fascination with drink ingredients
that no one seems to like. I donít know whether I simply feel sorry for
them in an orphaned-puppy kind of way, or if itís more of a desire to find
a way to successfully employ something everyone else has deemed unusable.
Probably a bit of both.
One ingredient that appears to have been resoundingly
written off by the cocktail community is Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur. For
those that havenít sampled it, itís piney. Extremely piney. Imagine grinding
up a Christmas wreath, adding the floor sweepings from a 7th-grade shop
class and steeping it in a jug of Everclear for a month. Now youíve got
the picture. But I like it, and I think you will too.
Without going into the boring details of my personal
quest to redeem Zirbenz, Iíll cut to the chase and say that I found gin
to be an excellent base spirit to combine it with.
Yep, itís a just a Gin & Tonic. With Zirbenz.
And a blip of bitters to wrap it all up. (It also helps the drink immensely
to squeeze the lime wedge into it.)
A simple drink to be sure, but hereís the
trick: The gin makes or breaks it. I wonít reveal how many different ones
I tried, but I found that a lot of straightforward London drys donít work
well. Plymouth isnít bad, but the ones Iíd put at the top of the heap were
North Shore #6 and Right. Theyíre both very soft, and I think itís exactly
this lack of sharpness that makes them match up so well with the Zirbenz,
dulling itís bite and making it whisper rather than shout.
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