Friday, October 14, 2011

Honorable Minchow

We love making cocktails as much as we love sharing them, but we are committed to sharing more than just drinks. We also want to share knowledge and skill. Perhaps none among us is more devoted to proselytizing than Mr. Andy Minchow. A steadfast prophet of all the spirits, Mr. Minchow has a special fondness for gin. Which is why two of his concoctions have found their way onto the pages of a new (good) book, All the Gin Joints: New Spins on Gin from America’s Best Bars. The book includes recipes for ‘101 Artisanal Cocktails,’ compiled by Michael Turback, a longtime champion of Slow Food whose other recent tome is the Ithaca Farmers Market Cookbook.

In his introduction, Turback traces the history of the cocktail back to the Prohibition era mixing of ‘bathtub’ gin with various tinctures and botanicals, the history of gin back to a 16th century distillation of barley wine infused with juniper berries (thank you, Dutch physician Sylvius de Bouve!), and the history of the juniper plant back to ancient Egypt, where it was used in burial rituals and believed to secure eternal life for the pharaohs. At the Public House we are always humbled by the rich history of culinary, botanical, and libationary arts that precedes us. We strive to honor that history, at the same time as we pursue, with religious fervor and glee, the new.

Andy’s first drink in Gin Joints, called The Clean Getaway, may be considered a variation on the French 75, that classic combination of gin and champagne. This concoction is distinguished by Amaro, which lends a slightly bitter, herbal note, and Mosacto d’Asti, a brighter, sweeter sparkler. Throw in the gin and some fresh lemon juice, and you’re ready for a party.

His 2nd offering, Wolf’s Bite, is named in honor of H & F partner Greg Best, who’s earned the nickname Wolf for his ‘ferocity and courage.’ The bite comes from the addition of pungent Chartreuse to the gin, rounded out with a splash of grapefruit juice.

Both drinks have been shaken, stirred, and served at the Public House, and are always available upon request.

The dedication page of Gin Joints features a quote from David Augustus Embury that enthuses a well-made cocktail’s ability to make “the whole world…a better place in which to live.” We couldn’t agree more! We encourage you to visit the H & F Bottle Shop, where you can purchase not only the book, but also everything you need to make the drinks, thereby doing your part to make the world a better place.