Is anyone else stunned that we’re already in NOVEMBER? Don’t get me wrong…I adore the Fall, and in fact if I had to pick, I’d say that it’s my favorite season. But for some reason, this year in particular, Fall has snuck up on me. Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Say what??
I love getting together with family and friends during the holidays. And for Turkey Day it’s a divide-and-conquer approach that gives everyone a chance to share their childhood (and adult) favorites. One of my contributions has always been the fun cocktail. Sure, we do wine with the dinner, but one needs sustenance during the long day of cooking. I will usually go with one of my tried-and-true sangria recipes, or whatever trending cocktail I’ve discovered on Pinterest.
This year I’ve created an original! It was inspired by a video my sis-in-law sent to me for a moscow mule made with homemade ginger simple syrup. I immediately chastised myself for not ever thinking of ginger simple syrup (flavored simple syrups are one of the keys to the tastiest craft cocktails)! But as much as I love a good mule, I wanted to go a different route. I have been on a bit of a gin journey these past few years, so I thought: why not put a Fall spin on a gin cocktail classic?
A bit about gin
Without deep-diving into the history of this spirit, the word ‘gin’ is derived from the Dutch word for juniper, ‘genever’. There are several different types or styles of gin, but all are infused with juniper (and other botanicals), giving it that fresh, zingy taste and fragrance that make it so distinct from it’s friends in the Sexy Six (brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey).
I’ve long been a fan of a good Gin & Tonic, especially after visiting Spain (next level G&Ts, just sayin’). But usually when I mix a drink up for folks, if it’s not a margarita it’s a vodka cocktail of some sort as vodka goes with literally anything. This past year I have explored gin a bit more though, and have really become a fan of a good ole gin sour, which is traditionally comprised of gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters.
This recipe ups your gin sour game by making a spicy, ginger and cinnamon simple syrup (which removes the need for bitters). It’s also a vegan-friendly gin sour since I’ve omitted the egg whites; you could certainly still add them to get that nice foam (I’m a fan myself!), but I find the addition of the apple cider tempers the gin and lemon so that it’s definitely not necessary (plus a splash of sparkling water give it some fizz).
Making the simple syrup
If you haven’t done it before, it’s literally the easiest thing. And so easy to customize…you can infuse literally any flavor into it (hatch green chile simple syrup anyone? It’s delicious in a margarita!). The basic recipe is simply this: one cup of sugar to one cup of water, simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. For this ginger-cinnamon simple syrup we’re going to add fresh chopped ginger to the simmer.
No need to peel your ginger, just roughly chop it up and toss it in the pot! Sidenote, you will also be fragrancing your home…so good! When you remove it from heat, you’ll throw in a cinnamon stick (if you add it to the simmer, it will overwhelm the ginger…cinnamon is potent and infuses quickly).
Once it’s cool, strain it into a glass jar. Now you’re ready to mix your drink!
I like to add a few apple slices and a sprinkle of freshly-grated nutmeg.
If you’re making a batch of these, just multiply everything out, and leave a bottle of sparkling soda out for folks to add their own topper.
I will also say that I’ve made this with vodka and it’s also very tasty that way…so if you’re not a gin lover (no judgement here!), grab your Tito’s! I also plan to try it with rum because, well, why not? I think a dark rum or combo of rums would be quite yummy.
Let me know what you mix it up with, and how you like it. Happy Thanksgiving!