April 19, 2009

Are you embarrassed easily? If so, it's nothing to worry about. It's all part of growing up and being British.

I'll warn you right off the bat, tonight's drink has a funny name. Actually, it's got two names, and both are funny, but for different reasons. So if, like Homer Simpson, you can't even say the word "titmouse" without giggling like a schoolgirl, you should probably stay away. Go listen to Monty Python or something. Or play the vibraphone. Or work on building a scale model of a Wankel rotary engine.

Tonight's drink, as I teased earlier on Twitter, is veddy, veddy, jolly well British. I mean, this is something that Rudyard Kipling most likely drank while hunting tigers out in "Indiah," or whatever he did when he wasn't carrying his white man's burden or writing books in jungles...It's also really quite simple to make. If you want to be an insufferable twit about ordering it in the bar, you can call it a "Gin Pahit," as "pahit" is the Malay word for "bitter". Or, you can just call it a Pink Gin, which, despite the sissy sounding name, comes by it's color honestly, and said to be a favorite of "Officers and Gentlemen," though I'm not sure how Richard Gere feels about it. It is not, however, a sissy drink.

It's made by putting 3 or 4 dashes of bitters in a chilled glass and swirling the liquid around the inside. Then, depending on whether you want it "in" or "out," the bitters are kept in the glass or poured out, leaving a light residue clinging to the walls of the vessel. Then you add 2 ounces of well-chilled London dry gin. And that's it. Of course, you could make it a "Pink Gin and Tonic" by topping it up with tonic water. Or you could make your pahit with orange bitters, which wouldn't add any color, but go very well with the gin. After all, gin is an infusion of various botanicals in alcohol, and bitters are an infusion of various botanicals in alcohol, so why shouldn't they complement each other? Personally, I like to use three dashes of Angostura bitters and a dash of orange bitters, just to cover all the bases.

On the subject of color, you may find that the Pink Gin doesn't look especially pink. It really varies from gin to gin and from batch to batch of bitters. I have a theory that it even is impacted by how hard or soft your water is, but that's just me. I think for a lot of people though, it'll wind up being more orange than pink. That's ok. Just call it a Gin Pahit and no one will be the wiser.

Now just to be clear, this is a strong drink...you're drinking pretty much a neat gin, after all. You can add ice or dilute with cold water or tonic water if you want...I like mine just as is. It stiffens that upper lip quite nicely.
Gin Pahit


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