26 February, 2016
The Bessie Coleman Gin CocktailComments : 6 Posted in : Cocktail Recipes, Gin, Liqueurs on by : The Gourmez
If you’re a longtime reader of the Gourmez, you’re familiar with my tenuous relationship with gin. The verdurous herbs, with that alcoholic kick, often prove too much for my palate. Last spring, on a visit to their Alameda distillery, I discovered St. George’s Terroir gin, only the second gin I’ve ever truly enjoyed (TOPO’s Piedmont Gin is the first). It won me over with its subtler herbal presence, a profile meant to evoke the coastal forests of northern California.
I thought it might be interesting to make an Aviation, the classic gin cocktail, with the Terroir to see how different it might taste from one made with standard, juniper-heavy gins. Of course, as nearly everyone who’s ever wanted to make an Aviation but failed to can anticipate, I didn’t have crème de violette on hand. Crème de violette gives the Aviation its signature lavender color. Quelle horreur!
So I decided to use the crème de framboise I had instead, and the combination delighted me! Tasting it inspired me to add a sage sprinkle on top, as sage and strawberry can make for excellent companions. Then I decided it’d be fun to make this cocktail solely with Bay Area ingredients. Twitter friends, mainly @DapperDiner, pointed me towards St. George’s raspberry liqueur to use instead of the generic crème de framboise I had, and it made the drink every bit as vivid as the crème de violette would — just in a different color. I upped the sage presence by making a sage-infused simple syrup and rimming the glass with sugar and ground sage.
All in all, I’m quite satisfied! The name honors Bessie Coleman, the first African American and American Indian aviator in U.S. history. Of course, I chose that name as a riff off its Aviation inspiration, but the cocktail’s lovely sage ending note also recalls Ms. Coleman’s Cherokee heritage. The combination of liqueurs and simple syrup is certainly sweet, but that’s why you’ll want to adjust the lemon amount to your taste.
The Bessie Coleman Cocktail
2 ounces St. George Terroir Gin
1/2 ounce St. George Raspberry Liqueur
1/2 ounce sage simple syrup
1/4 – 1/2 ounce lemon juice to taste
Prepare your rim by combining the sugar and sage on a small plate. Rub the cut side of a lemon around your martini glass’s rim, then dip it into the sugar and sage. Shake the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into the glass. If you want more tartness, add a squeeze.
Tested 2 February 2016.