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No Thanks
Advanced Water Purification
(with Christopher Trepky)

Let’s talk gin. Gin is a juniper-infused spirit with origins in 13th century Holland. I know — sometimes the Dutch really do get it right… Anyway, the martini is made with gin, as are countless other contemporary and classic cocktails, so well does gin dispense its noble duty. It is plucky and reliable. It is chock full of rugged and interesting flavors, yet, somehow, it remains polite and refined. Gin has character. 
I admit, enjoying gin can be difficult for the uninitiated. I liken it to hating tomatoes as a kid. It can take some persistence to get your tastebuds and your enthusiasm playing for the same team, but the day you finally “get it,” there is a veritable wonderland of new tastes and traditions laid open to your well-earned exploration.
Focusing, for now, on our narrower purpose: Acquire a bottle of London Dry Gin (it’s a common style and a good starting point): Tanqueray, Beefeater, Bombay, etc. While not technically a London Dry, I recommend Plymouth when trying new recipes — it’s a little earthier, less bite-y, and plays very well with others. Think white oxford and navy tie. Creative, no, but classic for good reason.
Homework: Start at 1:1, gin:vermouth, toss a citrus twist in it if you have one. Next drink, cut the vermouth by half. Then half it again. Taste the differences — try not to think immediately in terms of better/worse, but rather what you can taste, what is different, etc. Play around and find your favorite ratio (or three). And maybe thank a Dutch person, if you know one.
Our last two liquid ingredients will feature next week. Drink well.
For those who have James Bond on the brain, here’s a quick aside regarding vodka.
I don’t hate vodka or eschew it as some others do. Most cocktails, however, are simply outside of vodka’s useful context because vodka has no flavor — that’s the point of it — it’s a neutral spirit. Mix with it and all you’ll get for your careful effort is a mouthful of stiff (yet diluted) vermouth — this, the vodka “martini” — or some other lightweight cocktail with no depth, no intrigue. Vodka is wonderful for infusing and for a soothing eye-opener on those garish mornings after last night’s tear. Once the sun is high, there is one clear (ahem) purpose for slugging high-octane orange juice, and it really doesn’t reek of cultivation or self-respect. My two cents.


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