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Drink of the Week:


Text and illustrations copyright Craig Mrusek Illustration & Design



Zirbenz Kingsley

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.
     Bottoms up!





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