Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale

 Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale  September 24, 2018 by John Garland

Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale

September 24, 2018 by John Garland

The Growler _ Craft Cocktail Nightingale Photo by Katie Cannon 07.jpg

Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale

When you’ve met as many bartenders as I have (on purely journalistic endeavors, mind you, or at least that’s the story I’m going with), you start to notice where they hang out after their shifts. One prime locale for the late-night industry crowd is Nightingale, the sleek and cozy Lyndale Avenue hangout where you might hear vinyl spinning over the rabble of a handsome crowd noshing on oysters and chicken liver paté.

“We’re very much ourselves,” says Olivia Engel, bartender at Nightingale. “We don’t wear uniforms and we have a veteran staff. It’s really tight knit, like a family, and I think that people in the industry respond to that mentality.”

They probably also respond to the tremendous cocktail list. We do too, and are soaking up the last of the warm weather with a sunshiny gin cocktail. “This drink is very well-balanced; the J. Carver is an amazing gin,” Engel says. “A cocktail like this has a lot going on, and a barrel gin stands up to it all.”

The drink pours a brilliant yellow gold and smells like a garden full of lemony herbs. The flavor is in Bee’s Knees territory but with the added depth of tannin from the barrel gin and a dry, herbal finish from the mouth-coating absinthe.

You can get powdered bee pollen at your local co-op, which you’d then mix into a regular simple syrup for a bright and floral zing. But if you don’t want to go through the trouble, you could always 86 the pollen and make it up with a little more honey syrup (plus a little more lemon juice for balance).

"God Save The Queen" at Nightingale // Photo by Katie Cannon

“God Save The Queen” at Nightingale // Photo by Katie Cannon

God Save The Queen

Ingredients

1¾ ounces J. Carver Barrel Gin

½ ounce Cocchi Americano

½ ounce honey simple syrup

¼ ounce lemon juice

¼ ounce bee pollen syrup

Absinthe (St. George recommended) Optional: Everlasting Absinthe Verte by J. Carver Distillery

Method

Pour the first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Put absinthe in a small spritz bottle and mist the cocktail with a few quick sprays. (Alternatively, wash the glass with a few drops of absinthe before pouring the cocktail.)

Spirits Close-Up: Barrel Gin

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Spirits Close-Up: Barrel Gin

September 24, 2018 by John Garland

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Spirits Close-Up: Barrel Gin

The walls are crumbling. The boundless creativity of the craft movement has ensured that spirits are becoming less and less boxed into the stylistic traditions that once defined them.

On our shelves now, we’re treated to products like “aged vodka,” and beer-barrel-aged whiskey, and gins with every botanical under the sun. Spirits are being blended with new precision, aged with radical techniques, flavored by infusions or extractions, and finished in flavored casks. Everything old is new again.

No spirit blurs the old lines quite like barrel gin. It begins with a spirit—gin—known for its crisp botanical array and for the lithe and sprightly way it shows the woodsy tang of juniper berries. Then, that spirit is rested briefly in oak barrels—not for as long as whiskey, maybe just a few weeks or months—a process known to diffuse the aromatics of a spirit and replace them with an all-consuming base note of vanilla and toast and tannin.

But why take perfectly good gin and make it an herbal half-whiskey? As a lover of traditional London Dry-style gins, it’s taken me awhile to come around, but I think I have an answer: It’s all about the bass.

Gin is usually all about the top notes: citrus, herbs, spices, and flowers, the delicate flavors that dance on the forefront of a cocktail. That’s the reason gin drinks are more refreshing than substantial. If you don’t want gin-drinking season to peter out after Labor Day, a barrel gin is a superior mixer. That touch of oak gives it the ability to incorporate deeper, richer flavors, and makes gin drinks taste hardy and autumnal.

I think it’s a mistake to mix barrel gin like a whiskey. (Don’t be fooled by the color: it’s still gin, and I will never come around on the idea of a gin old fashioned.) Instead, I’ll use it to add some muscle to a Tom Collins, or unexpected depth to a Bee’s Knees. It makes the most soulful Negroni you’ve ever had.

Locally, I’m partial to J. Carver’s Barrel Gin. Nationally, St. George Spirits makes a beautiful rested gin with rye. For a gin with even more malt and oak character, find a traditional Dutch genever.

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