Monday, June 15, 2009

MxMo XL: Glorious Ginger

This month, Rum Dood is hosting Mixology Monday and the theme is ginger. Long story short, I love ginger and we use it in lots of cocktails. One of my ongoing favorites is the ginger gimlet that I blogged about a couple of years ago (using a 2:1:2/3 ratio these days). Lately, however, I've been playing with ginger and our award-winning Aquavit.

Aquavit is an under-appreciated spirit in our book, and it's something that we love. For those who don't know it, the dominant flavor is caraway seed (that's the definition these days, anyway - gin is juniper, aquavit is caraway). It's up the distiller to decide what else, if anything, is used. Ours is made with caraway seed (the required element), cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and anise, and then aged in new American oak. That combination of spices plays spectacularly with ginger.

Without further ado, here are a couple of favorite cocktails with ginger and aquavit. I'm afraid I'm running out of time to get my MxMo submission in by midnight, and it's been a long day, so I'm going short and sweet this month (but hey, at least I'm getting in a post!).

The Gingervit
2 oz Aquavit Private Reserve
½ oz Ginger Syrup (1:1 ratio, 4" of fresh ginger root peeled & sliced, simmer 5 mins)
1 - 2 Dashes of orange bitters (Regan's)
Club Soda
Combine Aquavit, ginger syrup and bitters over ice. Top up with club soda, stir briefly and garnish with orange slice.

The Good Life
Developed by my friend Benjamin Schiller from In Fine Spirits here in Chicago
1 1/2 oz Aquavit Private Reserve
1 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup (2:1 ratio)
Dash of orange bitters (housemade)
Shake ingredients with ice; stain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel rose.

As you might expect, I've only tried these with our aquavit, but I expect it might work with others. Cheers, and thanks to RumDood for hosting this month!


frederic said...

Any plans to ship your Aquavit out to the northeast (ie: Boston)? Andrea (also of CocktailVirgin) picked up a bottle of your gin when she was out your way a few weeks ago and we're quite pleased!

~Sonja~ said...

Hi Frederic, thanks for the visit! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the gin. We're still quite small, so we don't have any immediate plans to expand into the east. Some of our retailers will ship, but alas not to MA. Will you be at Tales? I'll bring some along for you to try!

frederic said...

We'll be at Tales indeed! And the distribution system to Massachusetts is rather Byzantine. You can't have stuff mailed to your house and liquor stores can't get it in if their distributors don't carry it. Grr...

Anonymous said...

Homemade aquavit is dead easy to make. Buy a decent 1-gallon glass jar with lid (the ones made by Anchor Hocking fit the bill nicely). Put in your flavorings (I'm using sliced peach, sliced ginger, and anise seeds) fill with 1.75 liters of a decent vodka, cover, and let the ingredients sit for six weeks at least. You could get away with four weeks, but the flavor develops better the longer the ingredients steep in the vodka. Strain the mix through a coffee filter and freeze it. Traditional aquavit calls for a mix of caraway, anise, fennel and dill seeds, but there really is no limit to the aquavits one can come up based on variations of spices, herbs and fresh fruits. Any homemade aquavit will end up tasting far superior to store-bought flavored vodkas.

~Sonja~ said...

I've tried many homemade "aquavits," infused with a variety of spices, herbs, flowers, etc. and there are virtually unlimited options. In my mind, though, those are the same thing as infused vodkas. I totally agree that house-infused vodkas will taste better than most flavored vodkas.

The way the EU and the US government define "aquavit" now is that it must have caraway seed as a dominant flavor. Like gin, and other herbal spirits, there is a wide range of quality in the store. I think the aquavit we make is great and it would be hard to replicate at home (unless you have an illicit still and a barrel).