I’ve seen this week’s cocktail featured in a couple of places, but I’ve just rediscovered it in my copy of the Bar Florida cocktail handbook, from Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana. Like the Papa Doble that originally brought that handbook to our attention, this drink is a great seasonal cocktail to highlight.
It’s also a drink that shows the benefits of using good ingredients. Make an orange blossom using fresh-squeezed orange juice, and good grenadine and you’ll be shocked at how much better a drink like this tastes than if you’re mixing up, essentially, gin and juice. The orange blossom, at its essence, is just that — but its composition demonstrates just how important using quality ingredients can be.
Wonder why? Watch this video. Look at the way those oranges are demolished and eviscerated. You’re getting all sorts of extra flavors from the pith and orange zest in your juice, and while some of that can be good for cocktails, much of it isn’t. (Eat the white part of an orange peel sometime and you’ll figure out why.) Squeezing your own juice helps to make sure all you’re getting is pure orange juice. (Since you are working with real citrus, I’d suggest that in addition to using your normal cocktail strainer, you employ a secondary mesh strainer. Pulp might be welcome in your morning OJ, but it’s just gross-looking in your nightcap.)
This is also a good drink to highlight the difference between different gins. Something with a more straight-ahead juniper flavor, like Beefeater or Tanqueray, might not be as good as a more floral gin like Bombay Sapphire, or something citrusy like Plymouth or New Amsterdam. (I’m not entirely sure how this would go with the cucumber-first flavors of Hendricks, but it’d be worth a try.)
- 2 oz. gin
- Juice of one orange (2 oz., or about 1/4 cup.)
- 1/2 tsp grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, strain, and serve in a cocktail glass with an orange slice as garnish.