Mint Juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby…
As spring rolls into summer, we all start to look for more refreshing cocktails when we want a drink. Refreshing often translates to a combination of clear spirits and citrus – and while you can drink these ingredients all year round, they seem to taste particularly good on a hot night. This cocktail definitely falls into the “refreshing” category and it makes an excellent lazy afternoon cocktail.
Gee Whiz has a combination of lemon, apricot brandy, gin and ginger beer – all ingredients that play very well together in a glass. I chose to smash the lemon, rather than use only lemon juice, to extract a bit more lemon flavor from the essential oils in the lemon rind. Apricot brandy adds a rich fruitiness that you won’t get from simple syrup alone. I highly recommend using a quality apricot brand, not a bottom-shelf mixer. I used Luxardo for this drink. As for the gin, you have a little more room to maneuver. London Dry gives the drink a clean, bright finish, while a more herbacious gin will bring out the floral notes of the apricot brandy and highlight the lemon.
To me, this cocktail is a lot like a batch of lemonade: some people like it sweeter and some people like it on the tart side. Feel free to adjust the amount of simple syrup to suit your tastes. Lemons can vary in how tart they are, and the apricot brandy will add some additional sweetness, so keep that in mind when you’re mixing.
3-4 Lemon Wedges
3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
3/4 oz. Apricot Brandy
2 oz. Gin
1 oz. Ginger Beer
Drop the lemon wedged into a mixing glass and muddle. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ginger beer, fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a highball filled with ice cubes. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lemon twist.