Winterize Your Gin Cocktails

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Martinis know no season, but your brain is very aware of them, and right now your brain is probably craving festive, holiday-themed treats and libations. Cocktail-wise, this usually means a hot toddy, a dark spirit, lots of spice, EggnogOr involving candy canes.

As a gin drinker, this is a mildly challenging time. The beauty of gin lies in its delicate juniper- and botanical-heavy flavor profile, and that profile can easily be obscured or obliterated with spice, heat, and candy. Luckily, there are many ways a gin enthusiast can enjoy their favorite spirit without sacrificing the holiday spirit.

just really lean into cranberry

Cranberries look like the holidays. They are a bright crimson, with a bauble-like appearance that makes them look like a house stuck on a Christmas tree. The easiest way to capitalize on their festive presence freeze themthen do a few stabs on the toothpick and sip ’em in your martini glass, If you want your cranes to bring substance as well as style, you can pickle them for a winter dirty martini, or ferment them into honey And use the ruby-colored liquid to make a simple toddy (more on gin toddies in a moment).

You can also use cranberry sauce to make this a simple sprite (1 1/2 oz gin, 1 tbsp cranberry sauce, 3 oz sparkling wine), or add gin to sparkling cranberry juice (such as Martinelli) and call it a cocktail.

celebrate sour season

I used to think it was odd that such bright, vibrant fruits were in season in late winter, but that’s when we need citrus fruits (and their vitamin C) most. Explore the wide world of tangerines, tangelos, satsumas, pink lemons, and all hybrids by making French 75. Replace or supplement the lemon juice with one or more of these in-season gems, and garnish with Beth’s Oranges If you hate wasting peels.

make a (gentle, respectful) toddy

Gin toddies are a little trickier. A little heat can open up the gin, blowing its botanicals up to your nose so you can more fully experience them, but it can drown out the more delicate floral notes. To make sure you can still taste your gin, choose something with lots of juniper and/or a fair amount of spruce (Tanqueray is never a bad choice), and avoid anything super floral, which Can turn tannic with heat. Making Gin Toddy is very easy. We covered it beforeBut just to re-cap:

Combine 1 1/2-2 ounces good quality dry gin with 3/4 ounce lemon juice (use Meyer lemons if you have them), 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 ounces hot water, or your favorite tea .

Add a Little Darkness to Your Martini

The smoke and spice don’t scream “Christmas,” but they do feel chilly, and that’s close enough for most people. For a martini, you can smoke the glass with a small piece of wood, or cinnamon bark, or anise pods; Or you can wash the glass with Smokey Scotch (both are great options).

Amaro and bitters are another way you can add depth to a cold-weather smoothie. Keep it classic and add a few dashes of Angostura or Orange Bitters to your Martini (or other favorite gin cocktail), or choose a “celebration” bitter like pecan or cinnamon. You can also substitute dry vermouth for something darker and sweeter or sub an amro With lots of baking spices.

You can also just make a regular martini; Gin kind of tastes like a Christmas tree anyway.

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