Spring in a glass

Gin Cocktails

We’re going to call it: gin is the liquor of spring. Made from botanicals, gin offers earthy and sometimes floral flavors, conjuring up images of blooming flowers and wet earth in springtime. With its natural infusions, we can create a cornucopia of cocktails ideal for the season—light and fresh without sacrificing flavor and combined with fresh fruits for added zing. Ian Bens, chef at Towne House Restaurant at Wine & Roses in Lodi, uses gin in the restaurant’s seasonal cocktails both on-site (when allowed) and for to-go service at Towne Corner Café & Market (when on-site dining is closed). He’s sharing two recipes for Towne House’s available spring sippers with all the tips on how to make them like the pros. Head to Wine & Roses to take home a few or try your hand at whipping up your own. Expert Tip: Make it fun by mixing up a batch and then buying the original to compare. Disclosure: when dining is open, to-go cocktails may not be available.

Blood Orange Negroni

1 oz. Beefeater Gin

1 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)

1 oz. Campari

1 1/4 oz. fresh-squeezed blood orange juice

Pour ingredients over ice and stir for a few seconds to chill.  Then, train into an old-fashioned glass over one large ice cube and garnish with an orange twist or slice.

The Beaut

2 oz. Gray Whale Gin

¾ oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

¾ oz. cranberry syrup (see below)

Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a dehydrated citrus chip (Meyer lemon and blood orange).

Cranberry Syrup
1 bag, (454g) fresh or frozen cranberries

12 oz. (340g) organic sugar

Combine cranberries and sugar in bowl. Pour into a vacuum bag and seal, crush berries lightly in bag. Leave overnight to dissolve. Cook in the bag at 160F for one hour, strain through a fine filter pressing lightly to release juice. Or heat cranberries and sugar gently in a pot until dissolved. Do not simmer. Strain as above, through a fine filter, pressing lightly to release juice.

Dehydrated citrus chips
Choose small Meyer lemons, blood oranges, or another citrus. Rinse in a bowl of water, dry off. Slice about 1/8-iinch thick, lay onto dehydrator trays, dry at 135F for 12 hours.

Get your hands on one:
Towne House Restaurant
2505 W. Turner Rd., Lodi
(209) 371-6160

Towne Corner Café & Market
2505 W. Turner Rd., Lodi
(209) 625-4004

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