Two Classic Gin Cocktails (Revived)
November 17th 2021
We have been discussing the modern gin revival with Pete and Danny Cameron from the Dyfi Distillery, they suggest that it might be better thought of as a gin and tonic revival, such is the popularity for this harmonious blend.
Pete and Danny, and their family members, whilst meeting with curious customers at their cellar door have been having more and more conversations about what other serving options there are for gin. In this article they look at two classics which almost never see the light of day anymore.
Gin & French
A short drink (although sometimes used to be slightly lengthened by a dash of tonic), Gin & French is some ways a simplified and 'wetter' version of a martini.
The 'French' here refers to the vermouth used, dating back to when bartenders associated the lighter (in colour) and (usually) drier style of vermouth as coming from France.
A good starting place is one part gin to one part vermouth, stirred in a mixing glass with ice (see Dyfi Distillery’s own posts on Short Drinks With Gin to explain this bit in more detail), and once chilled and diluted slightly by the ice melt, strain into a glass, either over ice or straight up. The traditional garnish is lemon slice, although Danny and Pete prefer alternatives.
Two examples follow:
1 part Pollination Gin
1 part Noilly Prat
Twist of lemon rind
1 part Navigation Gin
1 part Lillet Blanc
Green olive to garnish
The different vermouths above are each beautifully suited to those specific gins. They prefer to double the stirring time for the Navigation version, just to dilute the higher alcohols a bit more. And you can add a further part of tonic if you wish to lengthen the drink. The gin to vermouth proportions themselves can of course be adjusted depending on how 'ginny' you want your Gin & French to be.
All in all, it’s an invigorating aperitif.
Gin & It
The "It" here is short for Italian, to indicate the darker and sweeter style of vermouth (not because all versions come from Italy, but then again London Gin doesn't need to come from London!). If you're familiar with a Negroni, this is best thought of as a simpler, less bitter version, even though Gin & It predates the creation of that other wonderous drink. Back in the day, Gin & It was often referred to as a Sweet Martini, but drinks expert Danny Cameron is not sure that's a helpful description.
Gin & It always seems to be a happier drink served on the rocks, and with an orange twist garnish (although grapefruit peel can impart a rather delicious lift too). In all other ways, the preparation is the same as for a Gin & French.
1 part Dyfi Original Gin
1 part Punt e Mes
Orange peel to garnish
1 part Hibernation Gin
1 part Dolin Vermouth Rouge
Grapefruit peel to garnish
Danny has seen some recipes which suggest an addition of orange bitters. This can lift the drink, but also takes it much closer to the Negroni (unless you use Cynar rather than Campari for your Negronis), and part of the charm of Gin & It is in its directness.
As is the case with all proper cocktails, but even more so when the mix is this straightforward, the quality of the ingredients you use will go most of the way to determine the loveliness of the finished drink.
Like its more renowned relation Negroni, Gin & French is terrific either before or after a meal.
The Dyfi Distilery Cellar door is open daily Wednesdays to Sundays from 11am to 4pm until 19 December. Note the fabulous artwork by local artist Rachel Booth Davies, in the background of the photographs, her work adorns the walls of the Dyfi Distillery shop.
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