Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cocktails: California Gimlet With Lemon Verbena Vodka

By West Village Bill

I made Lemon Verbena Vodka this past weekend by steeping one bunch of lemon verbena from the farmers market in a bottle of 360 Vodka. And this week, I've been making California Gimlets for Tony and myself. And now his new pet nickname for me is Gimlet. Aw.

The lemon verbena sat in the vodka for three days. I maybe could have left it in a few days longer. It's verbeny but not terribly strongly so. The next time I make it, I'll leave it in for a week. And I'll break up the leaves and stems smaller so they'll come right out of the bottle along with the vodka. This time, I ended up fishing out the large bits of herb with a bent paper clip before I poured the vodka back in.

Dale DeGroff calls the type of gimlet I made a California Gimlet because it's made with fresh lime juice rather than Rose's lime juice, which is what bars are likely to use in a gimlet.

When I was visiting my buds Dan and Paul in Cape May a couple of weekends ago, Paul whipped us up some cocktails that Saturday night with what he found lying around the trailer (besides me): Rose's lime juice, vodka and amaretto. I'd write the recipe here, but he doesn't remember the proportions of the ingredients, which made for a fun combo. He dubbed the drink Fun With Fags, or the FWF for short.

When I went to buy some Rose's, I noticed on the bottle that it's sweetened with corn syrup, and I tend to avoid that stuff. So I decided to make my gimlets with a bottle of Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lime Juice. Which isn't exactly fresh. Maybe I should call my version the Nevada or Oregon Gimlet?

In his recipe in The Essential Cocktail, DeGroff calls for adding a dash of Rose's lime so drinkers who are used to the standard gimlet will feel more at home. His recipe also calls for gin, while his standard Gimlet calls for either gin or vodka. Other than leaving out the Rose's and making the substitution in the liquor, I followed DeGroff's recipe when I first made the CGs for Tony and me Tuesday night. I played around with it a little more last night and again tonight and arrived at a recipe that pumps up the vodka so that the verbena comes through more strongly.

California Gimlet With Lemon Verbena Vodka

3 oz. lemon verbena–flavored vodka
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup

Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour, unstrained, into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime slice, if desired.


Updating a little later: I like vodka gimlets, but they don't always like me.

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