• January 12, 2018

Cocktail of the Week: Gin Bath South of the Equator

Alexis Jesup

Craigie on Main’s Gin Bath South of the Equator was created to satisfy a patron’s request for a “spicy gin drink.” Lead bartender Eric Books winged it by using three ingredients typically found in the classic Aviation No. 2 cocktail—gin, lemon juice, and Maraschino—plus a vanilla-habanero syrup he had on hand.

“I gave it a shot, tasted it, and it happened to work,” Books says. “It doesn’t always happen that way, but sometimes you get divine cocktail intervention.”

Besides the cocktail gods, Books also credits Aria Portland Dry Gin, an award-winning gin from Oregon. But he notes London dry gins, such as Beefeater, may be substituted.

What can’t be substituted is Maraschino, which even in a trace amount, greatly changes the character of the cocktail.

“Maraschino, when used conservatively, really accents a drink,” Books says. “It punches up things that you want to punch up, and dries the drink out.”

The drink, which appears faintly pink in the glass, has a dry, floral flavor finished by a habanero kick that may linger in your belly long after the last sip. It’s the perfect antidote for mid-winter days too cold for a dry martini.

Books just hopes he has another chance to serve that spice-craving patron.

“I hope she comes back and sees that the drink is on the menu,” he says.

Gin Bath South of the Equator
2 ounces Aria Portland Dry Gin
⅝ ounce lemon juice
⅝ ounce vanilla-habanero simple syrup*
⅛ ounce Maraschino
Dash Peychaud’s Bitters
Luxardo maraschino cherry, for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry.

*Vanilla-habanero simple syrup (yields about 16 ounces)
½ vanilla bean, scraped
1½ habanero peppers, diced
16 ounces simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and let cool, then strain into a sealed container. Keeps one month, refrigerated.

Brian Samuels

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