One of my first experiences with drinking alcohol involved gin poured into a Sprite bottle so that it could be consumed incognito. I won’t tell you how old I was or where this undercover ‘Sprite’ was consumed (those details will only make people question the quality of the parenting I received and that wouldn’t be fair. My parents were actually pretty good at their job. It was me who wasn’t good at following rules).
But I digress…. this post is not about how I squandered my youth and in the process came to loathe gin, but about how I rediscovered gin now that I am a sensible adult. My cocktail mentor Len Fragomeni, owner and chief mixologist at the Toronto Institute of Bartending (BTW, if you have to be institutionalized, this is the best place I’ve found to be incarcerated) and I worked on a project last year to promote Bloody Caesar cocktails. While I created food to go with Caesars, Len focused on reinterpreting this classic Canadian drink in new and interesting ways. One of his drink creations was gin based and, as the weeks went by and I learned more about gin from Len, I was lured to try this juniper-scented spirit anew.
The rest of the story is rather predictable. Gin and I flirted for a few weeks, which led to a sip here, a sniff there. Then, one day gin and I found ourselves running toward one another in slow motion only to meet and fall into one another’s arms in a passionate embrace. (Oh wait a second, that wasn’t gin and I at all. That was the end of the Hallmark movie of the week, which I watched on PBS while drinking gin).
Regardless of how it happened, I am now a Gin and Tonic drinker. Although I joked about its effects above, I find I need only one gin and tonic to feel satisfied. I’m also fussy about the gin. I’ve fallen for Hendricks gin; it has subtle cucumber and rose flavors that make it a fresh, palate bracing choice. I use a double old-fashioned glass filled almost all the way up with ice for my G&T (that’s what aficionados like me call them). Try one after dinner while you watch Jeopardy. I’ll toast you during the first commercial break.