It’s not every day that your Master Distiller turns 50 – which is why, in classic Sipsmith fashion, we’ll be celebrating with the appropriate degree of festivity. That is, with plenty of cocktails.
As a drinks historian as well as a talented distiller, Jared’s tastes tend towards classic gin cocktails. We’ll then be mixing up four timeless drinks, which are all as well suited to a birthday fete as they are to a night on the town. Do as Jared does, then, and turn to these recipes when you’re next feeling celebratory. Cheers!
The White Cargo
A lesser-known classic, the White Cargo hails from the essential Savoy Cocktail Book; thanks to the vanilla ice cream, this is a dessert-like drink that almost anyone will like. See below for Jared’s favourite version:
45ml vanilla ice cream
4 dashes maraschino liqueur
You won’t need ice for this drink – that’s what the ice cream’s there for. Add both gin and ice cream to a shaker, alongside the maraschino. Shake vigorously until the ice cream has been fully incorporated (it will no longer thud against the shaker). Strain into a chilled coupette glass and garnish with a grating of nutmeg.
Gin Old Fashioned
Of course we love a traditional rye- or bourbon-based Old Fashioned – but the cocktail is also delicious with a gin foundation. Here’s the classic drink recipe with a twist, which features our potent VJOP:
25ml Sipsmith VJOP
5ml simple syrup
In a rocks glass, add one ice cube, bitters, and simple syrup. Stir well for several minutes, until the ice cube has melted and the mix is well blended. Add one more large, very cold ice cube – use a spherical mould if you have one – and add half of your gin, stirring to combine. Add the second half and stir again before garnishing with a mint sprig.
Sloe Gin Fizz
As an alternative to the traditional Gin Fizz, this drink was invented by Jared himself, while hosting a drink pairing dinner with British chef Mark Hix. Unhappy with one of his dishes, Mark headed to the kitchen and started turning out new plates on the fly. Accordingly, Jared scrapped his cocktail menu and invented new drinks to match Mark’s creations. The Sloe Gin Fizz, arguably the best drink of the evening, has since garnered “instant classic” status.
This berry-rich cocktail is appropriate all year round (in fact, it’s one of our favourite sloe gin cocktails for summer), and the fizz also makes it perfect at parties – we’ll be opting for Champagne for this occasion.
25ml Sipsmith Sloe Gin
25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
25ml simple syrup
1 egg white
Champagne (or Prosecco, Cava, or another sparkling wine)
In an empty cocktail shaker, add the first four ingredients. Shake without ice to properly emulsify the egg white. Add very cold ice until almost full and shake again. Strain into a white wine glass, or a coupette. Top with Champagne.
This is the drink that needs no introduction – unless you’re confused about the terminology. Below you’ll find our recipe for the perfect Martini, though feel free to change the proportions to suit your tastes.
125ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
25ml dry vermouth
1 cocktail olive
In a cocktail shaker, add very cold ice up to the top before adding the vermouth. Stir quickly before straining into a Martini glass that’s been pre-chilled in the freezer (note: if you prefer your Martini wet, keep the vermouth in; if you like yours bracingly dry, use the vermouth as a wash and discard it). Add gin to the shaker and stir for about 50 turns, until very cold. Strain into the glass and garnish with an olive, if you prefer. Serve without delay.
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