blood orange and gin cocktail

This cocktail has everything you want in a winter cocktail. It’s pink. It’s summery. It’s full of orange juice and Vitamin C so you can kick that cold. Yes, I said it. This is a cocktail that will cure your cold.

This is a weird time of year, where the sky is still grey and the ground is still swept with snow, but with every glimpse of sun I think spring spring spring. This cocktail will help us through this transition. And I know, I know, it’s January. I have no business thinking it’s spring. But, eventually, it’ll be spring. And in the meantime, we’ll have this cocktail. It’s a seasonal win-win.

This cocktail is enhanced deeply by a spicy brown sugar syrup. Now we’re talking winter. It’s gingery, so… more health benefits? Yes? Good. One more cocktail for good coming your way.

blood orange and gin cocktail

2 oz gin
2 oz fresh squeezed blood orange juice or orange juice
Dash spiced  brown sugar syrup (recipe follows)
Club soda to fill

how to:
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add in the gin,  juice, and brown sugar syrup. Shake until mixed, about 20 seconds. Pour through strainer over a glass — a tumbler works well — that is about halfway filled with ice. Top the glass off with club soda.

spiced brown sugar syrup

7 oz. water
3.5 oz. dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Boil the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and ginger and stir over low heat for 3-5 minutes until dissolved. Turn off heat. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a small jar and stir in corn syrup. Let cool.

Time For A Beer, 2!

Winter citrus is a great thing. It brings brightness to a dark and cold time. Don’t get me wrong, I love having snow on the ground, but it has just been so cold this year. Luckily, there are beers with winter citrus to help warm the cold days. A clementine gose by Two Roads Brewing Co. in Connecticut is a great place to start.

Beer Notes

Two Roads Brewing is a craft brewery founded like many others: two friends breaking out of their old jobs with the dream of opening a brewery! In 2012 they started the brewery that followed the road less traveled, hence their name. This clementine gose is tart, light bodied and finishes as a juice ale that leaves you desiring more.

Gose beers may not be for everyone. They pack a pretty tart taste, but end with a refreshing feeling of citrus. Not only is this great in the winter when citrus is at its peak, but also on those hot summer days when all you want is to quench your thirst! A fun little note on the brewing of this guy is that it gets soured in an old milk tanker (now used in to finish off a few of their beers) that sits out on the grounds of the brewery.

Pairing Notes

As I said, a gose may not be the beer for everyone. If it is up your alley, or you are game to try something new, then grab a pack of these and settle down. While it is widely believed those goses are a magically versatile beer, they do play better with certain things. For one, any citrus based tart or dessert is a great way to create balance of sweet and tart. If you go down the dinner route, clementine gose is great next to a flavorful fish with lemon.

Gose’s also make for a great drink during appetizers as they are light in alcohol content (about 4-5% abv) and don’t sit heavy at all. It will leave you feeling light and refreshed for the courses to come. Maybe give it  try with some cured meats and cheese, Pecorino Romano is my favorite!

This is a good place to start with a gose, as it has an extra layer of flavor, the clementine! If you find yourself really enjoying the flavor and funk, here’s a list of some other great goses out there: Lost Nation Gose, Six Point Jammer, and Baxter Brewing Good To Gose.

Enjoy the tart and refreshing punch this gose delivers.

Cheers,

– Andrew

smart science: wine edition

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Wine has always been something that varies from person to person. My mom and I like red, my roommate likes white, and my sister adores a solid (or not so solid) prosecco or champagne. After spending a semester in Italy, I was drawn to the idea that there are guidelines and rules for producing certain kinds of wine. A lot of these rules stem around where specific varieties of grapes can be grown, and whether you can call a wine a specific name. For example – you can’t make real Chianti outside of the Chianti region, in Tuscany. Complicated stuff. It got me to thinking… I wonder how these regions, these climates, and these grape varieties all interact with each other? There has to be a reason – and onto the smart science we go!

  1. There are a couple types of climate that matter here: macroclimate, mesoclimate and microclimate. Macroclimate is the easiest – essentially just the average temperature of a place – and unsurprisingly, some grapevines are more attuned to growing in one temperature than another. Think how cacti are happier in Arizona, and how maple trees are happier up north! Same idea. Mesoclimate is a bit zoomed in – differences within a specific region – like a hill, or a riverbed. This contributes to subtle taste differences between wines grown in the same region. Finally, microclimate is studying the individual vine. This can include how much sun it gets compared to its neighbor, proximity to water, levels of wind and airflow. These can all change how good a grape is from a specific plant.
  2. Soil matters too! Just like any plant, the type of soil you grow it in will affect your final outcome. Most good wines are grown in either clay or sandy soil. Clay soil is known for producing very rich wines (think – wines from Tuscany), while sandy soil is known for producing highly aromatic wines (think – Riesling).
  3. You may have heard the word “terroir” used to describe wine. Essentially, terroir is the entire natural environment of the wine – and then how that natural environment influences the taste. Winemakers from regions where great wine has been produced for many years take this really seriously – and rightfully so.
  4. In light of all these things it takes to make a great wine, it’s no wonder that really good wine can be quite expensive. Wine forgery has actually been around almost as long as wine (classic human innovation, eh), and still constitutes a pretty big issue today. There’s a couple different ways that people forge wine – some blend wine together to try and form a final product, some simply fake the bottle, and some create a bottle to look like a fancy wine. Interestingly enough though, people tend to enjoy wine regardless of the quality if you tell them it’s more expensive. Seriously – neuroscience and brain mapping has shown heightened activity in pleasure centers. Wild, right?

To beat the wine snobs at their own game, check out the links below to learn some timely fun facts you can insert into conversation! Drink some wine while you’re at it, and I’ll be back eventually with more smart science posts on wine.

  • A general overview on everything we’ve been talking about, with a bit more detail.
  • Want to know more about wine forgery? Read this article, and then watch the documentary Sour Grapes.
  • A whirlwind five things to know about the science of wine from the World Science Festival, some of which we’ll chat about later. It’s like homework! For wine!