How to make:
STIR all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
Lemon zest twist
Fancy Gin Cocktail, Improved Gin Cocktail
Bready genever with a hint of orange curacao adding flavour and the merest touch of sweetness balancing Boker’s Bitters. If you don’t have Boker’s to hand try with Peychaud’s Bitters – produces a different drink but works well, I’d go as far as to suggest better. Peychaud’s also produces a cocktail with an attractive pale shade of salmon pink – if you like that kind of thing.
A close relation to the Martinez, and so by default also the Martini, this cocktail is adapted from one of the oldest known cocktail recipes. Some, including Salvatore Calabrese, say this recipe dates back to 1824, coincidentally the same year Dr Siegert created Angostura Bitters. However, the first known recipe appears in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 The Bartender's Guide as follows:
(use small bar glass)
3 or 4 dashes gum syrup
2 dashes bitters (Bogart's) [it’s widely accepted that he meant Boker’s Bitters]
1 wine-glass of gin
1 or 2 dashes of Curacao
1 small piece lemon peel; fill one-third full of fine ice
shake well, and strain in a glass"
Under this recipe he goes on to say "Fancy Gin Cocktail – This drink is made the same as the gin cocktail, except that it is strained in a fancy wine-glass and a piece of lemon peel thrown on top, and the edge of the glass moistened with lemon."
There are conflicting claims as to what constitutes a “Fancy” or “Improved” Gin Cocktail as opposed to a bog-standard “Gin Cocktail”, some stating it’s the style of glass used and others the inclusion of either lemon peel and or orange curaçao. Incidentally, some versions of this recipe suggest switching absinthe for curaçao. Rather than substituting we recommend adding a couple of dashes of absinthe in addition to curacao, or alternatively, absinthe rinsing the glass before mixing the drink.
Gin, sugar and bitters can make for a perfectly delicious cocktail without the addition of either curaçao or absinthe – a combination best known as a ‘Gin Old Fashioned’.