december 26, 2017
Do you love ginger beer with its nose-tickling heat and sweet? You will love this cocktail. Tis the season for holiday entertaining and this cocktail pairs well with crunchy, creamy, salty, chewy nibbles of all kinds. Your guests will think you’ve been toiling for hours, but just a little prep ahead of time makes for a last minute assembly of a stunning libation.
First, a word about the ginger. It’s got to be freshly grated. Nothing can substitute for the bold flavor and heat of fresh ginger. Using the spoon method of peeling helps, as does a sharp grater. I have found that graters lose their edge over time, so if your grated objects turn to mush or you find yourself saying uncharitable words in the kitchen, buy new! Lemons are wonderfully firm and fragrant this time of year and some sugar will tame the tart. I like a clean vodka and always use one crafted from grain alternatives like potato. The kosher salt on the rim of your pretty glass is optional, but my tasters and I agree the heady combination of salt-heat-sweet is irresistible.
Another bit of information about the ginger-infused vodka : the longer it steeps, the stronger the end result. Overnight steeping will yield a pretty strong ginger flavor, and several days gives your nose a bigger tickle. It’s up to you, master mixologist! Happy holiday season and even happier entertaining.
Lemon Ginger Cocktail
makes enough for four cocktails
one cup vodka, preferably grain-free ( I like Luksusowa potato vodka)
one generous tablespoon freshly grated ginger
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
optional garnishes : kosher salt (save one lemon half), thinly sliced lemon, rosemary sprigs
- Mix vodka and fresh ginger in glass or stainless steel container, stirring well; store tightly covered in fridge for up to one week (longer storage yields stronger flavor – overnight is fine).
- When ready to mix cocktails, strain vodka into another nonreactive container and discard ginger.
- Up to one week ahead, combine lemon juice, sugar and water in nonreactive small saucepan, stirring over low heat just until sugar is melted. Refrigerate tightly covered; when ready to mix cocktails, strain mixture into another nonreactive container.
- Save at least one cut lemon half close to mixing time for moistening rim of cocktail glass.
- To make a salt rim, pour a thin layer of kosher salt onto a flat saucer; use cut lemon half to rub around rim of cocktail glass and invert glass onto saucer. Any unused salt may be used for cooking.
- To make one cocktail, mix 2 ounces each of strained ginger vodka and sweetened lemon mix in shaker with ice; pour into salted glass and garnish if desired with thin slice of lemon and rosemary sprig.
- You may also store the strained ginger vodka and lemon juice in the freezer, pouring them straight into your prepared glass and omitting the ice/shaker step.