I’ve recently been having a bit of a dilemma when ordering a drink at a restaurant. I usually either get something really fruity, especially if it has Grey Goose La Poire, for which I have rather a weakness . . . or Jack Daniels on the rocks (because I like how it tastes, because it reminds me of people I miss, because it’s oddly easy to drink, for all that it’s just whiskey and ice). Unfortunately, I’ve been not really feeling the super sweet drink thing recently, and I always feel a little silly ordering just Jack Daniels when I’m out because I could buy it for cheaper, and usually, when I’m out and having a drink, I try to get something I can’t make myself.
Every so often, I’ll be somewhere that has an extensive cocktail list, and I’ll find something I really like — something refreshing and yet not overly fruity. Two examples that come to mind are the War of the Roses from Sable and the Burnham & Berrow from Blokes & Birds, both in Chicago. They were tasty, drinkable, and not excessively sweet. And I just realized that they both have gin.
The War of the Roses has Tanqueray 10, Pimm’s Cup, St. Germain Elderflower, mint, and grapefruit bitters. The Burnham & Berrow has cucumber slices, Oxley Gin, Lillet Blanc, Grey Goose La Poire, Miclo Rose Liqueur, and lemon juice. There’s a touch of sweetness, but it’s not the syrupy sweetness of fruit juice or simple syrup. And they even have some of my favorites (I’m partial to St. Germain, and I’ve mentioned that I love Grey Goose La Poire).
I once tried my mom’s gin & tonic when I was younger, didn’t like it, and decided that I didn’t like gin. Gin and tequila were the two liquors I wouldn’t order; anything else had potential. That may be changing, however. I still refuse to drink cheap tequila (except for margaritas from Chipotle because I have certain sentimental memories attached to them), but I would consider higher quality tequila, as I’ve heard it’s vastly differently from the cheaper stuff. And now I’ve discovered that my two favorite drinks of the past year both have gin. Clearly, I need to rethink my former stance on gin.
I’m hoping that I’m finally outgrowing my “why drink something that isn’t sweet?” phase. I still really enjoy fruity drinks; they totally have their place, but I’d like to think I’m moving past the stage where I don’t want to actually taste the alcohol in my drink. Maybe gin will help me along the way. I think the next time I’m pondering what to drink, I’ll take a chance on something with gin.