Velvet Elvis · Sarma

Some names just scream “cocktail.” One example is the Velvet Elvis, a moniker that Sarma bartender Nick Checchio kept in the back of his head before using it for this warming-yet-refreshing Gin Sour.

Like some of the other cocktails previously featured on Sarma’s rotating seasonal menu, the Velvet Elvis utilizes Sarma Gin, a juniper-forward version with subtle Mediterranean botanicals custom-made at Boston’s Bully Boy Distillers. While it’s not sold in liquor stores, Checchio says Plymouth Gin is a worthy substitute (or a split base of Plymouth Gin and Gin Mare).

The gin is joined by lemon juice (a must in any sour), the Czech liqueur Becherovka for its cinnamon and ginger notes, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters for flavors of clove and spice. Lastly, a house-made cranberry syrup provides a measured amount of sweetness and a touch of herbaceousness.

“All of that brings out a nice, warm depth to the gin while the cocktail itself remains light and refreshing, and the cranberry ties it all together in a seasonally appropriate way,” Checchio says.

The name may have preceded the drink—but looking at its finished form, Checchio spots a connection.

“The red cranberry and the dark Angostura give it a nice, velvety, deep-red color,” he says.

Velvet Elvis
2 ounces Plymouth Gin (or a 1:1 split of Plymouth Gin and Gin Mare)
1 ounce cranberry syrup*
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce Becherovka
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange twist, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over large ice cubes. Garnish with orange twist and serve.

*Cranberry Syrup (yields about 2 cups)
2 cups cranberries
2 cups water
1½ cups sugar

Combine water and cranberries in a saucepan and simmer until berries are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain out cranberries and combine water with sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Keeps about 1 month, refrigerated.

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