Summer drinks are on my mind. I don’t know about you, but as soon as there’s one day of sunshine I get a hankering for cool summer drinks, like a wonderfully bitter gin & tonic. Bitter is an acquired taste found in oranges broccoli, and Swiss chard and coffee or beer.
Cool Summer Drinks Challenge
Foodie friend, Puneeta from Maple & Marigold, challenged me to write about a fantastic summer beverage. When I think fantastic, I think local, so I pestered the LCBO for ideas on local distillers and this is what we came up with.
I chose to test Beattie’s Distillers Potato Vodka from Alliston, Ontario and Dillion’s Unfiltered Gin. Both are gluten free, clear in colour and made in small batches in Ontario.
Dillon’s Gin for Bitter Sweet Cool Summer Drinks
Dillion’s Gin already has a balanced botanical base that I love. Chilled slightly, it’s the kind of spirit that can be sipped on it’s own like a good single malt.
I improved upon perfection by adding three drops of Bittercube’s Jamaican #2 Bitters with Fever Tree Tonic Water. The garnish of a fresh orange slice, instead of lime or lemon, makes for a clean looking cocktail that’s still pretty.
Beattie’s Vodka Slightly Sweet Cool Summer Drink
Beattie’s Distillers is relatively new to the spirits market, but their potatoes are not. The farm and, also now distillery, arises from fifth generation farmers, who like many of my ancestors came from Scotland for land.
Vodka is made from many different plants such sorghum, corn, rye, wheat or potatoes. Made from potatoes, there can be no hint of peel and each batch must be assessed for purity and proof. The reason vodka is usually a popular choice around the world is that it’s clear colour and relatively neutral taste makes it a good mixer.
However, when using spirits to make a clean cocktail, like a martini, vodka is anything but neutral. Each vodka will be a function of the kind and quality of it’s plant base, water and distillation.
Beattie’s is not something I’d drink solo, but it’s still delicate. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend overwhelming it with flavours.
For the Beattie’s Potato Vodka I added a squeeze of fresh blood orange juice, Sparkling Orange Spellingrino and Blackstrap Bittercube Bitters. Blackstrap’s flavour profile is molasses, sarsaparilla and Ceylon Cinnamon.
Orange and molasses combination is refreshing with just a hint of sweet.
Finally a tip about bitter drinks. I take the edge off the bitter without losing the refreshing summer drinks taste by using oranges and flavoured bitters from Bittercube bought at Toronto’s Cocktail Emporium.
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