Whereas I am at this very moment eating chocolate-covered almonds for breakfast, the world perhaps should not be taking cooking advice from me.
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But how about some mixology tips? Back in Los Angeles with my friend Joshua, he of the very full and generous home bar, I got to do a bit of pouring, specifically of Lotus Cocktail.
Joshua had picked the cocktail from the site because, he said, he wanted something summery and light that “wasn’t like a fruity piña colada,” but also something with an herbal taste, and simple and fun, “something we could play with.” All right sir!
Our first improvisation concerned the gin, as there was no Hendrick’s on hand. We substituted with Tanqueray No. 10, which has a divine sort of vegetal nose. Into the glass went the cucumbers, the Domaine du Canton and, after proper muddling of the cucumbers, the scoop of ice called for here. (How much is a scoop? “I don’t know and it doesn’t matter because the ice is going to be held back anyway,” Joshua said. Got that?)
Strained, then doused with soda and feted with a darling cucumber garnish, the drink was thus served. It was heavy on the ginger, the essential flavor of Canton, with a heavy alcohol finish. A bit too much, for my taste. So, how to work on it?
We wondered about taking the Canton down by one third and adding a dash of Chartreuse, that herbal liquor made by Carthusian Monks. Hmm. It was okay, but needed something. I decided that something was lime. Blech.
Moving on. We next made the recipe exactly as written, but substituted St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur, for the Canton. I liked it, but I am a shameless St. Germain apologist. Joshua found it watered down. At this point, sliding a little down the kitchen bar, I started to wonder where our spouses were. Jennifer, Joshua’s wife, ambled and took a few sips of each.
I would like to report to you what she said, but it’s sort of mixed with some muddled directions about dinner, and a discussion about bike routes. I am pretty sure my husband was watching soccer. I steadied myself. We had one more cocktail to mix.
We then returned to the beginning, with an herbal twist. We muddled about six mint leaves with the cucumber, took the Canton down to half an ounce from 3/4 ounce, and followed the rest of the recipe as written. The Canton was balanced, and we were much closer to the way this cocktail was meant to be consumed than any other way we messed with it.
This is the essence of community recipe sharing no? Take it off the grid, and then come back to where you belong.
Pre-chill a cocktail glass and set aside. Cut three slices of cucumber into quarters and muddle in a mixing glass with the Canton. After sufficiently pulverized, add Hendrick's and a level scoop of ice. Shake for about 15 seconds. Strain carefully into pre-chilled glass careful to limit the amount of pulp. Add soda to icy, crushed cucumber mixture. Swirl and strain again. Garnish with the remaining cuke slice.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).