This drink subtly unpacks the nuances of its base spirit, gin, in a fizzy highball that’s long on complexity. An infused tonic brings lemony herbs to the fore, while a housemade cordial offers vegetal, nutty notes. Absinthe brightened with a touch of raspberry highlights the gin’s licorice notes and helps bind all the elements.
The Date Night Highball
Peter Hannah | Orlando, Florida
- 1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
- 1 1/2 ounces lemon essence tonic (see Editor’s Note)
- 1 ounce Eastern cordial (see Editor’s Note)
- 2 dashes raspberry absinthe(see Editor’s Note)
- 1 ounce club soda
Garnish: toasted sesame oil, to mist; pickled cucumber marshmallow (see Editor’s Note)
- Add the gin, tonic, cordial and raspberry absinthe to a highball glass.
- Add crushed ice to nearly fill the glass, then add club soda.
- Stir two or three revolutions and cap with more crushed ice.
- Mist the top with toasted sesame oil, then garnish with a pickled cucumber marshmallow and a straw.
Lemon Essence Tonic
16 ounces tonic water
1 teaspoon loose-leaf lemon verbena
1 teaspoon lemon myrtle
1 teaspoon lemon thyme
Combine all ingredients in a container, and refrigerate for 24 hours to infuse. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove solids. Refrigerate, and use within 1 to 2 days.
500 milliliters distilled water
500 grams granulated sugar
500 grams sliced English cucumber
65 grams lightly toasted chopped almonds
20 grams powdered green tea
10 grams citric acid
10 grams malic acid
10 grams tartaric acid
5 grams salt
Cook all ingredients sous vide for 80 minutes at 135°F. Remove the solids by passing the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then a coffee filter. Keeps, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Mix 1 ounce organic raspberry extract with 2 ounces absinthe in a resealable container. Keeps, at room temperature, for 6 months.
Cucumber Juice (for Pickled Cucumber Marshmallow)
Run 1 to 2 English cucumbers, with skin on, through a centrifugal juicer. If your juicer doesn’t have a built-in strainer, pour through a fine-mesh strainer to remove solids. Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Pickling Liquid (for Pickled Cucumber Marshmallow)
16 ounces filtered water
2 ounces kosher salt
8 to 10 Kirby cucumbers
24 ounces white vinegar
1 ounce garlic cloves, smashed
1 ounce fresh dill
Wash the cucumber thoroughly in cold water. Heat water and salt just enough to dissolve the salt. Let cool to room temperature. Place the whole cucumbers in a large, airtight, resealable container, and top with remaining ingredients. Keeps, refrigerated, for up to 6 months.
Pickled Cucumber Marshmallow
200 milliliters cucumber juice
1.5 grams agar-agar
8 leaves silver gelatin
32 ounces cold water
1 teaspoon Cortina ice cream emulsifier
375 grams pickling liquid
Heat the cucumber juice in a saucepan until it reaches a boil. Add the agar-agar and cook for about 1 minute. Pour this mixture onto a tray in a thin layer, and refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes).
Add the gelatin to the cold water in a bowl and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, dissolve the Cortina in the pickling liquid and whisk until light and airy.
Heat the gelatin-water mixture in a pan until it is completely melted, then add to the whisked Cortina–pickling liquid mixture. Using an electric whisk, beat the entire blend until it is the consistency of marshmallow spread.
Distribute the marshmallow spread evenly over the cucumber jelly, and allow to set for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Cut into cubes to serve.