A Journey From Consumer to Creator
Are you intimidated to aim higher than a Gin & Tonic on a Friday night? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a top-notch mixology class at home, with tips & instruction from an expert bartender? Hang on to your hats, friends: I have some good news for you! I’m thrilled to share that alongside Vance Henderson, a noted U.S. National Brand Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, we will be upping your cocktail confidence, and shaking up three Hendrick’s Gin cocktails in your own kitchen! Follow us as we take you on a Journey from Consumer to Creator!
Building up your Cocktail Confidence…
As you already can tell, I have a “thing” for homemade mixed drinks! Rounded & balanced, a good cocktail can truly make-or-break the start of a dinner out (or these days, set the tone for a relaxing night-in!). With COVID restrictions hitting the restaurant industry, it can be really tough to have that same craft drink experience that we love and miss. Luckily, with these tips & tricks, you can make your own delicious & unique gin cocktails at home!
Tell me more about our Fabulous Instructor…!
Vance Henderson is an award winning & gifted bartender, drink developer, and Brand Ambassador for the prestigious William Grant & Sons, based in Great Britain. They produce such spirits at Hendrick’s Gin, Drambuie Scotch, & Milagro Tequila. Using his talents and extensive knowledge from his years in the restaurant business, Vance travels the world, educating & advocating for the finest liquors (Hendrick’s Gin being one of my favorites!) in addition to hosting events and creating bar programs. He was named 2020’s Nightclub & Bar Award Winner for Brand Ambassador, and Vance’s impressive credentials help to highlight his outgoing and playful personality (check out Vance on Instagram)!!
In other words, you can tell why I’m absolutely delighted that Vance teamed up with me to share some of his best mixology tips on Straight to the Hips, Baby! Even more exciting?! Vance will be dishing up one of his own original cocktail creations for us to shake up at home!
I know many of you are asking, “is gin a popular drink?”? The short answer is, YES! Particularly the delicious and herbaceous Hendrick’s Gin. Their botanical-tinged and cucumber-touched gin has a uniquely refreshing taste that melds beautifully with fresh citrus and herbs. Over the course of this cocktail series, we will be using Hendrick’s classic signature Gin, as well as the very popular Midsummer Solstice Gin release. Luxurious and distinctive, Hendrick’s should be a staple of any home bar – it is in mine!
Let’s get shaking – What’s the Plan?!
To put you in the right space to start crafting and mixing your own cocktails, over the next few weeks we will be putting out drinks at three different levels. Advancing to the next level will showcase a new technique that will set you up for success!
Today’s cocktail is Level One, what we’re going to call a ‘Basic Bar-Hopper’, but this Luscious gin smash recipe is anything but basic-tasting!
This is one of the best and easiest cocktail recipes for parties or small gatherings! Freshly squeezed citrus, bright green herbs, and a cocktail syrup (also called a simple syrup) are shaken together with plenty of ice.
A Simple Syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, brought to a boil for a few minutes to get everything dissolved. You can leave it at that, or get fancy with your flavors using citrus rinds, herbs, or even spices boiled right in. Simple syrups can also be made with other sweeteners like honey, brown sugar, or even maple syrup! Find more by checking out my Homemade Cocktail Syrups!
I’ll also be showing you an essential, simple technique called ‘muddling’, which is bruising an ingredient with a wooden muddler or wooden cooking spoon. This helps to release any aromatic oils and infuses your homemade grapefruit & basil cocktail with lots of flavor!
So let’s get on with it – it’s time for my fragrant and refreshing ‘Solstice Grapefruit Basil Smash’!
Tips from a Master Mixologist…
For this particular recipe, Vance Henderson has some specific things to keep in mind!
~ When using herbs in cocktails, fresh is always the best. Dried herbs can be used as an alternative for infusing spirits or syrups.
~ When using large leafy herbs like Basil, Mint, Sage or Oregano, it is paramount to “smack” or “spank”, your herbs in the palm of your hand. This is a quick trick that allows the essential oils to rush to the surface.
~ When muddling, don’t stab at your herbs, two or three firm presses and twists are enough. Shaking the herbs with ice will do the rest of the work.
Solstice Grapefruit Basil Smash
by Jessie-Sierra Ross
makes one cocktail
2 ounces freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces of Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin
1.5 ounces simple syrup, homemade or store-bought
1 generous handful fresh green basil
Garnish of pink grapefruit rounds, grapefruit zest, and edible flowers.
In the cup of a cocktail shaker, add the lemon juice.
Gently “smack” the fresh basil on your palm and add to the shaker cup.
Taking your muddler, gentle twist into the basil, releasing the essence (thanks for that tip, Vance – I’ve been pulverizing it before this recipe!).
Next, add the pink grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin.
Add a handful of ice, then close up the shaker.
Briskly shake your cocktail for 30 seconds, or until the shaker becomes nice and frosted. Place aside.
Fill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice, and using either a strainer or a Cobbler-Shaker lid, strain the drink into the glass.
Garnish with your grapefruit or flowers, and enjoy!
Solstice Grapefruit Basil Smash
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces of Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin
- 1.5 ounces simple syrup homemade or storebought
- 1 generous handful fresh green basil
- Garnish of pink grapefruit rounds grapefruit zest, and edible flowers.
- In the cup of a cocktail shaker, add the lemon juice.
- Gently “smack” the fresh basil on your palm and add to the shaker cup.
- Taking your muddler, gentle twist into the basil, releasing the essence.
- Next, add the pink grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin.
- Add a handful of ice, then close up the shaker.
- Briskly shake your cocktail for 30 seconds, or until the shaker becomes nice and frosted. Put aside.
- Fill a Double Old Fashioned glass with ice, and using either a strainer or a Cobbler-Shaker lid, strain the drink into the glass.
- Garnish with your grapefruit or flowers, and enjoy!
This is such a pretty drink! It reminds me of spring in a glass!
That is so kind of you! Thank you! The garnish is actually the very last of my summer flowers, but this drink is just a warm breeze of a cocktail!
Some great tips that I can refer back to here. I’m not a very confident mixologist!
Thank you! I’ll be publishing two more posts and recipes over the next few weeks! Cocktail creating is so much easier than we think, and with the combined tips from Vance & Myself, I know you can do it! Cheers!
Looks good, can’t wait to try this one!
Yay! That’s what I like to hear! Cheers!
Oh my, I’m coming to your parties if your cocktails look like that – just BEAUTIFUL!! Grapefruit and basil is such a dreamy combination.
You are sp kind, and always invited to my cocktail parties! Cheers!
Neli Howard says
I’m always happy to find a new cocktail, love an excuse to break out the bitters too, thank you!
amazing! I love a good cocktail as well! Be sure to come back later this coming week, for part II of my cocktail series! Cheers