I love highballs as aperitifs as they work so well to have a chat over, while also setting your palate up ahead of dinner. I always had go-tos for this, but after travelling to India to visit where the finest ginger is grown, I looked at the spice very differently, and wanted to celebrate the zestier side to the root when it’s grown with real care and expertise. I can tell you that this is captured in the ginger ale from Fever-tree so you don’t have to go to the painful lengths of sourcing the best ginger! Serving this very cold, and in a flute, highlights the effervescence and the citrus side of the spice, and still works as a pre-dinner style. There’s a different kind of elegance and profile here compared to the classic highball or gin buck serve. All the ingredients nod to demonstrating the wider range of flavours present when you use spices fresh, so get the best you can, and make a note to test and change your spices regularly, so that they’re at their brightest!
1 teaspoon cardamom tea (or 1 green cardamom pod and
1 teaspoon loose-leaf black tea)
12 shots (300ml) London dry gin
500g sugar handful lemon leaves, shredded (or 2 tablespoons dried lemon leaves or a few stems of lemongrass or lemongrass tea)
pinch sea salt
chilled Fever-tree Ginger Ale, to finish
lemongrass stem, to garnish
Add the tea to the gin and infuse in the fridge for 2 hours, then strain.
Make the lemon syrup by heating 300ml of the water until boiling. Remove from the heat then add the sugar and the lemon leaves. Stir to dissolve, then allow to cool. Strain and keep in a clean container in the fridge until needed. Mix the salt into the remaining water, then add the gin and 2 shots (50ml) of the lemon-leaf syrup. Add to a bottle and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Add a shot and half (40ml) of the gin mix to a frozen flute glass, top with the ginger ale, then garnish with the lemongrass stem.
COCHIN COOLER MAGIC
Temperature plays a key role in the profile of the drink. By making everything super cold, we subdue the sweetness, and the heat of the ginger – allowing the citrussy, greener side of the ginger and the gin (I lean to the balance of Beefeater London Dry here, but the fruity pop of Porter’s Tropical Old Tom is also a great option) to come to the fore. The temperature also keeps the bubbles in the mix smaller and fresher, and means the drink has a cleaner profile that’s perfect ahead of dinner. ■
Slick & Sassy Media Ltd