I have been on vacation and neglecting this blog, but it is Mixology Monday time again, and the theme this month has inspired me to get out and about in my own city. The theme is “hometown hooch” and was set by Stuart Putney of the Putney Farm blog:
One of the best recent developments in the world of cocktails and spirits is the reemergence of regional, craft distillers. And we say “reemergence” because 100+ years ago, before the twin scourges of Prohibition and
virtual monopolization“industrialization,” distilling was often a truly local endeavor. Not so long ago, if you wanted some booze, it was often made in your neighborhood and for the tastes of the locals. Sadly, for a few generations, that wasn’t the case… But, quite happily, those days are back… There are literally hundreds of local and regional distillers making some seriously tasty spirits… and now is the time for our monthly online cocktail party to send them some love.
Your quest is simple. Create a new cocktail, or refashion a classic, using your favorite “hometown hooch” (and we can expand the definition of “hooch” to include spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs and beer)… A little local flavor or history on your “hometown hooch” is very welcome.
Now, not very long ago this would have consigned me to a beer-based drink, but luckily, a distillery opened in Ottawa in 2013. Thanks to MXMO I paid a visit to North of 7 this week. Located in a very unprepossessing strip mall, North of 7 may be a no nonsense enterprise but is no industrial hooch factory. Co-owner and head distiller Greg Lipin explained that they wanted to create some good local spirits, affordably and without hype. Inspired by rock-climbing trips to Kentucky, he and partner Jody Miall make vodka, gin, rum, and have a bourbon-profile Canadian whisky in cask that they expect to be ready in 1 1/2 years. The name of the distillery is inspired by where Greg’s cottage in located, near Calabogie north of highway 7, west of Ottawa. I asked about the name of their Illuminati vodka, which is the basis of their juniper-forward gin, and he revealed that it is popular with local “secret” societies. But my interest was mainly with their Triple-Beam gin, named after the scale they use to weight the botanicals, which are locally sourced to the extent possible (we are sadly short of local black pepper!)
And so to the cocktail. Even more local than the hooch is my back garden, where I have a bumper crop of rhubarb. I made a rhubarb syrup this week as well, and decided to do a gin-based cocktail to celebrate late spring. The intense botanicals of the Triple Beam work well here; since the only place this gin is currently available is at the distillery, you can substitute another juniper-heavy gin.
- 1 1/2 oz Triple Beam gin
- 1 oz rhubarb syrup (recipe here)
- 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Shake ingredients well over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.