Recently, I met with bartender and English Gins brand ambassador Erick Castro. Over a couple of gin drinks, Castro and I talked about making cocktails at home. I asked him what's the best way for a cocktail enthusiast to stock their home bar. He not only shared the spirits he recommends, but he also provided some helpful tips. If you're into making and enjoying libations, from classic cocktails to tiki drinks to modern mixology, read on for his suggestions.
Many people have an aversion to gin; I think it's sad because gin is an incredibly nuanced, highly drinkable, and totally versatile spirit. Erick Castro, who's the gin ambassador for Beefeater and Plymouth, agrees. "The reason people don't like gin is because the most common gin drinks, the martini and the gin and tonic, don't appeal to everyone." Castro wants to start a gin revolution with this amazing-tasting cocktail, the Southside. This classic concoction is a straightforward mixture of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint, and Castro believes it has the power to change the way gin is seen — much in the way the mojito changed people's perspective of rum. After sipping this refreshing, light beverage, I'm getting behind Castro's cause. To do so too, give the drink a try, and get the recipe after the jump.
A delicious and balanced cocktail doesn't need a lot of fancy ingredients. Take this recipe, for example, from San Francisco's Erick Castro. It involves gin, lemon juice, mint, and muddled berries. It's simple but absolutely sublime. In each sip you can taste the distinct ingredients. Even if you aren't normally a gin drinker, you'll enjoy this beverage. My guests loved it. Be sure to cheers to the Fourth! To make this for your friends and family, you'll need the recipe.
Even though we were headed to Aspen before the crack of dawn this morning, last night we passed up packing in favor of the Star Chefs Rising Stars Revue, a traveling event that recognizes some of the most avant-garde culinary professionals in various cities like New York, Chicago, Seattle, and our home base of San Francisco. Over a jaw-dropping view of the bay, we enjoyed vittles from various chefs, some of whom were just beginning to realize their own potential. To get a peek at what cutting-edge creations were served, keep reading.