We love when our behind-the-scenes gurus put together recipes and tips for us to share with our readers and customers. Bar manager and house mixologist, Gina Velando, created two great summer-season mixed drink recipes that we debuted with our new menu release last month. Here, Gina shares how to make these tasty libations at home and explains how fresh herbs can take center stage in more than just your food. Take it away, Gina:
With spring in full swing and summer around the corner we are out enjoying these sunny days and eager to bring a little taste of summer behind the bar. Fresh, seasonal herbs can find their way into your glass in many ways, via infusions, muddled concoctions or an aromatic garnish. Behind the bar at Standing Stone Brewing Company, our specialty cocktail list is reflecting the agricultural excitement of the season, and below we’re sharing a couple easy-to-prepare recipes for home to kick your spring and summer off!
Rosemary Cucumber Gin & Tonic:
Gin is a favorite spirit of ours as it accents herbaceous, spicy and organic flavors in fresh ingredients. We strongly recommend always starting with a high-quality gin, and for this version we’ve chosen Batch 206 Counter Gin from Seattle, Washington. This particular product tastes great on it’s own, and we looked to highlight what was already present in the bottle.
½ lime, cut into small wedges
3-4 slices cucumber
1 3/4oz Batch 206 Counter Gin
Splash(+) soda water
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Start by muddling cucumber and lime in a bucket glass. Fill with ice, 1 3/4 oz. Counter Gin and top with sparkling water and a splash of tonic. Finish this drink with a freshly cut sprig of rosemary to add the final touch. With minimal prep, this refreshing libation looks just-picked from the garden and pairs oh-so-well with a table outdoors.
Basil Grapefruit Spritzer:
Again, starting with a high-quality spirit makes all the difference, and Superfly Vodka from Brookings, OR fits the bill. Distilled from potatoes rather than grain this product offers a smooth finish, and it’s made right here in Oregon! Beyond infusing spirits, don’t forget that you can create great tasting simple syrups at home as well.
1 3/4oz Superfly Vodka
1/2oz Basil Simple Syrup (instructions below)
Splash grapefruit juice
Splash soda water
To build the Basil Grapefruit Spritzer you’ll first need to make Basil Simple Syrup: In a saucepan simmer 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup freshly picked basil. Simmer until sugar dissolves completely then strain into a clean container and cool. Fill your favorite cocktail glass with ice and top with 1 3/4 oz. Superfly Vodka and 1/2 oz. Basil Simple Syrup. Fill with equal parts Grapefruit Juice and Sparkling Water. Add a healthy basil leaf or two to top this one off and add great aroma.
Use these suggestions to get you started, and get creative with your own cocktail garden by planting herbs and berries at home. Or, if you’re in Southern Oregon, use the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market as a great resource for locally grown ingredients. Cheers!
Thanks for sharing, Gina! Be sure to come by and find Gina shaking it up behind the bar if you have questions, comments, or just want to try either of these drinks before diving in at home.