The Red Queen (and King)

I can’t believe that I am going to write this, but I think I might be turning into a gin fan.  I’m not sure that I will ever desire a gin and tonic.  I know women who drink those – they are REAL women…I admire them.  However, the gin drinks I have mixed up this month have been excellent and are wiping out any bitter memories I might have of gin.

For some reason, I feel that I must justify my drinking by telling you that we had good reason to celebrate last night.  Yesterday, my husband safely shoveled a shit ton of snow (or, in his estimate, 4 shit tons) from our very slightly sloped kitchen roof before the arrival of more snow, ice and rain.  Then we somehow managed to fit our cars back into our off-street parking spots, which are also overtaken with snow.  Another city-issued snow emergency/parking ban was getting us down – it was time for a drink!

I wasn’t sure how gin would go with pizza, but, frankly, I didn’t care.  This recipe for the Red Queen comes all the way from the UK.  (I have to admit that I got a little emotional and homesick for London when using metric units to measure my ingredients.)  It turns out that this beverage goes well with pizza and, probably, anything.

Start with a cocktail shaker nearly full of ice.  Put in 100 mL (3 oz) cranberry juice, 80 mL (2.7 oz or 1/3 cup) gin, 40 mL (1.3 oz) St. Germain, and juice of half of a lemon.  The recipe suggests shaking until frost forms on the shaker…I went with the suggestion of shaking for 30 seconds because, well, I was thirsty and dinner was getting cold.  Pour through a strainer into a chilled martini or coupe glass and garnish with fresh cranberries.  I did not pre-chill my glass or garnish my beverage and neither seemed to affect my drink.

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The original poster suggests this drink for the holidays as, I guess, all things cranberry have become synonymous with that time of year.  I think this is a bit more versatile than that.  The color is certainly festive.  The St. Germain adds a floral-fruity flavor, while the gin makes it more substantial and perfect for chillier weather.  I could see this becoming a favorite in November, when I am transitioning from seasonal fall cocktails into heavier winter drinks.  I think it would also make a perfect “I survived Thanksgiving or Black Friday” drink.  This drink is absolutely delightful – it is refreshing but also has some depth.  However, it is not so heavy that you can’t drink more than one.  It is also husband approved!

Now, just a little about St. Germain in case you haven’t tried it.  This is a French liqueur made from pressed elderflowers. Aren’t they pretty…and so reminiscent of spring?

Elder-flower

There are other elderflower liqueurs – St. Germain might be the most notable brand.  Hell, the bottle, alone, is a beautiful piece of art.  I was so excited to finally have a reason to buy it.

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The St. Germain web site states the liqueur is “versatile and mixable – adds character to many cocktails and pairs well with every base spirit.”  I would agree with that – and I definitely look forward to using it more throughout the spring and summer.  I would describe it as a sophisticated flavor, a step, or two, above your average liqueur, like schnapps.  While I am not at all “too good” for schnapps, this liqueur has a more refined flavor.  It is the confident, self-assured, mature woman, where the others are unsure, giddy college girls.  While I assumed the company would have some exciting history, I found out it is, in fact, new to the market (2007).  In this time it has earned some impressive accolades and is frequently written about – click here for one of those articles.

In closing, I will share another quote from the St. Germain web site which might become my motto of sorts or incorporated into some art.  (Oooh, maybe a post about something not related to cocktails?)

“Vive L’Aperitif – The French manner of slowing down from the day’s chase, stimulating one’s appetite and readying one’s spirit for the inevitable joys to come.” 

Think about that while you sip a Red Queen (or King).

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