Gin!

Growing up, the only gin I was interested in was the card game of the same name, which Mom and I would play in the evenings on a regular basis. When I reached the legal drinking age, it was one of the liquors I figured I’d never like. After all, it smelled like the tree by the neighbors door and who wants to drink a tree?

Until an old boyfriend (he of the dirty martini, which I still don’t like) introduced me to the tart goodness that is the Gin & Tonic. Oh, my, but it was love at first sip. But, like all new loves, there’s an adjustment period. While attending an event with an open bar I had, perhaps, one (or three) drinks too many for the amount of catered hors d’oeuvres available to balance them out (or lack there of). It didn’t help that the bartender was an old high-school acquaintance and mixed with a generous hand. The party was fun, the next day not so much.

And then there was the time, in an attempt to be suave and sophisticated, I took a nod from the barenaked ladies’ song, “Alcohol,” and attempted to order it as a “G&T.” The guy behind the VFW bar had no clue what I was talking about. Kinda takes the wind out of your sails.

I don’t measure my gin & tonics, nor my gin & cranberries or gin & grapefruits, I just sort of eye-ball it and, like it’s predecessor for the top cocktail spot–the Rum & Coke, it depends a lot on my mood and tastebuds how much juniper berry I really want to taste in relation to everything. Seems the suggestion is 2:1, tonic to gin, and I guess I go more like 4:1 when it’s juice instead of tonic.

One problem some people have with gin & tonic is the tonic, more specifically the taste of the quinine. For the gin and the lime without the taste of quinine, try this recipe for a sharp citrus cooler perfect for Summer days:

Lime Rickey

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Ice cubes
1 1/2 oz gin
Chilled club soda
Lime wedge

Dropped the squeezed lime half (which the juice was squeezed from) into a highball glass, and then fill the glass three-quarters full with ice cubes.

Add the gin and lime juice. Top with club soda. Stir, but not too much. Garnish with the lime wedge and serve with a stirring device, preferably a long thin spoon.

—from Good Spirits, AJ Rathbun