Spirit Free Gin & Tonic

Justin Taylor’s Spirit-Free G&T uses a homemade gin syrup. Dan Toulgoet photo

This zero-proof G&T will ensure all your friends can enjoy summer’s quintessential cocktail.

• 1 oz. spirit-free gin syrup (recipe below)
• 0.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
• 5 oz tonic water

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DIY Gin & Tonic

Make summer’s favourite cocktail your very own with these bespoke ideas

Before you start, assemble your ingredients. Dan Toulgoet photo

Gin is unlike any other spirit. Simply put, gin is a distilled grain mash that produces a neutral alcohol or vodka. The spirit is then redistilled with botanicals, herbs and spices to achieve the final product. It doesn’t rely on aging in oak barrels like whisky, and it doesn’t rely on one agricultural product to achieve its flavour, like agave for tequila. The infusion process will determine the flavour profile of each gin.

In other words, gin is essentially a botanical-flavoured vodka. And that means, even though not very many of us will ever have access to a still, we can make our own quality gins by working with infusions.

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Perfect Pears

Fall’s favourite tree fruit makes a great addition to autumnal cocktails

Perfectly preserved pears, from left, as purée, in syrup or dehydrated into chips. Dan Toulgoet photo

There is a sublime comfort in autumn, as the breezy aroma of fallen leaves wafts away the smoke of our sultry summer. One of my favourite things to do in the fall is to cruise out to the local farmers markets and fill my basket with delicious local fruits and vegetables. As a cocktail maker, I love loading up on things that I can preserve and keep around through what is sure to be another cold, wet and dreary Vancouver winter.

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Party in a bottle

Batch the cocktails for your next gathering, and you can be part of the fun, too

Bottling cocktails for your next social event makes for impressive presentation—and it’s much easier than you might think. Dan Toulgoet photo

Let’s face it: Making cocktails for a crowd is quite easy, but executing multiple different drinks over and over can be a tedious chore, especially when you want to enjoy the fun, too. The solution? Bottle these crowd pleasers in advance of your next party or backyard barbecue.

Your guests will be blown away with your attention to detail and this fun way of serving iconic cocktails.

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Rule Britannia!

These British cocktails are worthy of a royal celebration

Istock photo

Wedding bells will be ringing this spring at Windsor Castle and you are going to need some cocktails to celebrate, too. With this as inspiration, let’s take a glance at some iconic British tipples and learn how to make them.

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Hanky Panky

The Hanky Panky. Jennifer Gauthier photo

This classic cocktail was created by Ada Coleman, circa 1903, London. 

• 1 oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
• 1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino (or other sweet vermouth)
• 2 dashes Fernet Branca

Chill a coupe glass with water and ice. In a mixing glass, add ingredients with ice and stir gently for about 20 seconds. Strain into the coupe and garnish with a slice of orange peel. Serves 1.

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Apples, sauced

Apples are the perfect fall fruit to work into cocktails at home

Danika Sea photo

I’ve always loved apples — in pies and crumbles, roasted with pork — there is no end to the versatility of this beautiful local fruit. As a cocktail maker, apples play a major role in my creations. Our B.C. apples are bountiful, and we produce so many varietals to choose from. As the cool, crisp breezes of fall begin, apples automatically become a focus at my professional bar, but they are perfect to incorporate into drinks at home. Here are four recipes to get you started, but feel free to experiment with different varieties of apples, in different forms. Your house guests will be happy, I guarantee it.

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Apple-etto Fizz

The Apple-etto Fizz by Justin Taylor. Danika Sea photo.

INGREDIENTS:
1 whole Honey Crisp apple, core removed*
Egg white separated from 1 large egg
1 oz amaretto
1 oz calvados
1 oz lemon juice
2 oz soda water
4  1-inch ice cubes
apple fan (for garnish)

METHOD:
Place first five ingredients plus ice into a blender and blend on a low setting, gradually increasing speed until the ice has dissolved. Put soda water into a tall glass, then add the blender contents slowly to mix through the soda—done right, a frothy head that rises above the rim of the glass should form. Garnish with an apple fan.

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