Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beefeater: The Summer Edition. Available Now! Get Some While Supplies Last!

Well, if you read our posts, you’ll be happy to know that we finally met Stephanie Jerzy, that elusive spirits promoter and champion of cocktail geeks from Central Connecticut, and may we say, what a charming woman. She could elicit a racketeering confession from Al Capone if just given five minutes and a bottle of gin. Beefeater Summer Edition, to be precise. Stephanie invited us to the launch of Beefeater’s newest edition to its roster of excellent spirits. We met Stephanie at the Ace Hotel’s Liberty Hall, a tastefully modest set of rooms, but festooned with lovely bottles of Beefeater’s Summer Edition, a light gin (and a terrific introduction to people who say they don’t like gin, but will ultimately succumb to the brave new world that lies way beyond the isle of London dry). Developed by the creative genius Desmond Payne, the master distiller who gave us last year’s crazy delicious Beefeater 24, this light gin is made with the edition of elder flower, black currant, and hibiscus flower. While sipping it, you realize that this gin is gentle, not overtly juniper forward, and no surprise that it mixes splendidly with its parent components.

When we first walked down to Liberty Hall, there were small clusters of people gathered around two bars mise-en-place’d with the pressed-flower, scrapbook-as-collage label in throbbing lime, sno-cone blue, and vermilion; and two tables loaded with the perfect complement: nosh. On platters lay just-cooked two-bite fish and chips, replete with cocktail sauce, if you so chose; braised artichokes, so tender you could pierce them with a whisper; and a fine selection of cheeses and their faithful leavened companions. We sipped an English Summer Collins to start as we chatted with New York Times columnist Robert Simonson, and shared some favorite ways to drink summer sippers. Perhaps we can collaborate someday on the perfect Summer Cocktail. Hmm. If it’s anything like the English Summer Collins—with just the right amount of sweetness, with some St-Germain to bring out the its elder flower notes, just a bit of crème de cassis to cut through the fresh lemon juice, accompanied by a minty, lemony aroma as you bring the straw to your lips—this drink will be loved for its simple refreshing elegance. We’d serve them in a heartbeat to eagerly awaiting guests on our terrace.

English Summer Collins

(created by Jamie Gordon)

1 1/2 parts* Beefeater Summer Edition gin
1/2 part St-Germain (elder flower liqueur)
1/2 part Mathilde Cassis (crème de cassis)
1 part fresh lemon juice
3/4 parts simple syrup
club soda, to top
lemon wedge, as garnish
mint sprig, as garnish

Shake first five ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice into a highball glass. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a mint sprig.

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Stephanie then introduced herself as Robert went off in search of a new cocktail and a possible tale for his online musings, Off the Presses. Our online chatter instantly morphed into flesh. We talked about Connecticut, where Paul is from, not too far from where Stephanie calls home too, and reminisced about the fun we had separately at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala. Not content with just one drink, we escorted her to the bar and asked for a Summer Flower. Now, who wouldn’t want a cocktail called a Summer Flower? Mixologist Jamie Gordon, who expounded on developing the evening’s cocktails with spirits ambassador and bon vivant Simon Ford, found a perfect trio to add to the new gin: hibiscus syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of orange bitters. This flower shone deep red and tasted like lightly sweetened tea, with a slight tart note from the hibiscus and a pucker from the lemon. The orange bitters rounded out things nicely. Needless to say, all the yummy food went very well with these drinks, and that made us all happy.

Summer Flower
(created by Jamie Gordon)

2 parts Beefeater Summer Edition
1/2 part hibiscus syrup
3/4 parts fresh lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters
grated lemon zest, as garnish

Shake ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and fine strain (or double-strain to remove any pulp) into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grated lemon zest.

Stephanie (on right) and her friend Julia. You can read Stephanie’s Musings on Cocktail Culture. A Summer Gin Fizz, courtesy of the Mixologists and Ad Firm that conceptualized it: 2 parts Beefeater Summer Edition over ice. Top with fresh ruby grapefruit juice and a splash of club soda. Garnish with a wedge of ruby grapefruit.

As we said our good-byes to Stephanie and her lovely friend Julia, who happened upon the party just in time for a light summer refresher, we were handed each a petal-pressed-in-paper envelope sealed in wax and stamp with the imprint of a sunflower. Inside, little dried blooms pressed in between recipe postcards with photos of cocktails in Mad Men era–poses and saturated hues. We can’t wait to pick up a bottle and and have a picnic.

* For American measures, a part equals 1 ounce, which will make your life easier.

1 comment:

  1. I had a lovely time enjoying the summer cocktails with you two! The Summer Collins definitely was the winner of the evening. Can't wait to repeat :)



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