When Toby Maloney opened The Violet Hour, one of the first serious craft cocktail bars to open in no-nonsense Chicago, in 2007, he wanted to create a gin cocktail that would appeal to gin haters. The result was the Juliet & Romeo, a mix of gin, lime juice, cucumber, sugar, mint, salt and rose water. “I wanted it to taste like a walk through an English garden,” says Maloney. His plan succeeded. The drink has been among the top two sellers for the last 12 years; in 2019, the bar sold an average of 20 a day. To put that in perspective, only the Old-Fashioned sells more. “It’s as close to a house drink as we have,” says Maloney. It’s also jumped to other bars in town. The day Maloney sees it on the most menus? Valentine’s Day, naturally.
- 2 ounces London dry gin, preferably Beefeater
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 3 slices cucumber
- 1 mint sprig
- pinch of salt
Garnish: mint leaf, 1 dash of rosewater, 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.
- Combine cucumber and salt in a mixing tin and muddle.
- Add all remaining ingredients and shake with ice.
- Strain into a chilled coupe.
- Garnish with mint leaf, 1 dash of rosewater on the mint leaf and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.