Austin's Cocktail Class: The Rosemary and Grapefruit Paloma
Truth talk for a second here. I love cocktails! No shame about it and I've got nothing to hide. Why there is this feminine stigma I do not know. Maybe it's the bright colors or elaborate presentations or even the eccentric names (hello fuzzy navel and sex on the beach). Regardless, I am just as much a fan of a straight bourbon as I am of a tequila sunrise. As a newbie home bartender I've decided it's about time I get it together and learn how to make some tasty cocktails myself. Everybody needs a handful of seasonal and go to staples that they can whip up (or shake up) on a whim. A great resource that I got was The Essential Bar Book.
And so my education begins. First up in the schooling of delicious libations is a Rosemary and Grapefruit Paloma. Now a Paloma is generally a grapefruit and tequila based drink, but I am changing it up a bit by using gin (oh how I love gin) and a rosemary simple syrup recipe that I found here.
In my lengthy experience drinking cocktails and my brief experience making them, I have found that simple syrups can be a game changer. They add so much flavor and totally enhance the drink in my opinion. Simple syrups may sound daunting to make but they really couldn't be easier. It's just a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to water. I used double what the recipe below calls for because I wanted to store some for later (these bottles are a great find and can preserve your syrup in the fridge for at least a month). Just bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to keep things integrated. As it comes to a boil throw in the rosemary (or whatever else you're flavoring with: lavender, basil, orange peel) and cook for 1 minute. Then take off the heat and leave it to come to room temperature before straining and using/storing.
I'm telling you what this thing is so delicious and refreshing. Look out now because if you're not careful you'll be throwing these back left right and center without thinking twice. The rosemary adds such a rich and floral taste to the citrus of the grapefruit. So unassuming but a definite step up on the traditional Paloma Cocktail. The recipe below makes two drinks so either find a friend or pour yourself an extra one. I know I did!
Rosemary & Grapefruit Paloma
Makes 2 drinks
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
handful of rosemary sprigs (8-10)
5 ounces of gin
splash of grapefruit soda or club soda
Fill a cocktail shaker 3/4 full of ice and add juice from lime and grapefruit as well as gin and 1 1/2 tablespoons of rosemary simple syrup. Give it a good shake for 10-15 seconds and then strain into glasses. Finish with a splash of soda and garnish with a rosemary sprig and grapefruit peel.