Strange And Unusual Gin Drinks?
April 4, 2014 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I want to write about obscure and little known gin cocktails, ideally ones with fun stories attached or a vintage pedigree . What are your favorite obscure gin cocktails? The more outlandish and exotic the better.
posted by The Whelk to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
Aviation may not be obscure enough for your project, but it is delicious and beautiful.
posted by Flamingo at 2:36 PM on April 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

Pillkaller almond or even Pillkaller was known as a drink in the former province of East Prussia . The name comes from the East Prussian city Pillkallen . The drink is still in the East Prussian kitchen as an aperitif served.

Ingredients: 4 cl double grain or almond liquor (eg Steinhäger or gin ), liver sausage, mustard.
posted by zamboni at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is Pimm's Cup obscure enough? I'd never heard of one until relatively recently, but maybe that's just the beginnings of fogeyness.
posted by jquinby at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2014

Gin Laser.
It was the summer of 1969. Scientists in Rochester, N.Y., prepared to fire up an experimental laser. Everything was in place—from the cooling system to ensure the laser didn't burst into flames to the warning lights informing other researchers to stay away. It was in every way a typical day in a typical laser laboratory, except for one fact: On this day, the laser doubled as a gin and tonic.
posted by zamboni at 2:54 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Ramos Gin Fizz has a fun story behind it.

You might try contacting your local branch of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) for advice; they could probably give you a pretty encyclopedic list!
posted by divined by radio at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't know if it counts as obscure, because you can find its recipe if you google, but one of my favorite summer gin cocktails is the Jasmine.

I first encountered the recipe from the book Cocktail: the drinks bible for the 21st century, which is lamentably out of print.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Gin & Sin

Equal parts gin, lemon juice, orange juice (all freshly squeezed, please)
Dash of grenadine.

Shake hard over ice, strain into martini or rocks glass. Garnish is up to you.

All I know is that it was popular during Prohibition.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:58 PM on April 4, 2014

... the Pimm’s Cup is still the traditional drink of Wimbledon, with visitors to the matches consuming some 40,000 pints a year.

I guess it's not that obscure at all. The Gin Rickey has some neat stories behind it.
posted by jquinby at 3:05 PM on April 4, 2014

In Charles Dickens, the poor are always drinking gin and hot water. That sounds pretty metal.
posted by thelonius at 3:06 PM on April 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Monkey Gland and the Last Word are a couple of fine 1920s-era drinks with good backstories.
posted by neroli at 3:07 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grant Achatz, the chef behind Alinea, has more recently opened a bar. One of the cocktails they've come up with is a powdered gin and tonic (including even the "fizz"). I found one reference here with a picture.
posted by madmethods at 3:13 PM on April 4, 2014

In Rex Stout's "Murder by the Book" there's a character named Blanche Duke whose favorite drink is: "Two jiggers of dry gin, one of dry vermouth, two dashes of grenadine, and two dashes of Pernod."

No name is given for it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:20 PM on April 4, 2014

The French 75 isn't especially obscure, but it's pretty tasty and has a decent story attached.
posted by jedicus at 3:20 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure a Negroni counts as obscure, but it definitely isn't popular.

The Fitzgerald, which is gin, lemon, simple and bitters.

Also apparently there is this cocktail called the martini that once upon a time, long long ago, was made with gin.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Suffering Bastard is one of my favorites. Easy drinking, a great name, and it hails from Cairo, Egypt.
posted by quince at 3:28 PM on April 4, 2014

The Hanky Panky is a delicious drink and has a delightful story. It's currently fairly obscure in my neck of the woods, YMMV...Island Creek Oyster Bar is serving them up so they may, and SHOULD, take off.

1 1/2 oz. gin
1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (ICOB uses Carpano Antica which is essential here...Martini & Rossi ain't gonna cut it)
2 dashes Fernet Branca (I think modern versions ramp up the Fernet and down the vermouth, haven't made these at home so I can't give you exact ratios)

Stir ingredients well in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled glass.

Ada Coleman was the (LADY) head bartender at the American Bar of the Savoy hotel in the early 20th century. She described the drink's origins thusly:

"The late Charles Hawtrey... was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, 'Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.' It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, 'By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!' And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since."
posted by hilatron at 3:32 PM on April 4, 2014 [7 favorites]

I'd start googling around for late 1800s or early 1900s pre-prohibition cocktail guides. Several bars in my area keep ones of these around, that they presumably picked up on ebay or something and make drinks out of them. Both of the ones i've seen had stuff mentioned as like "the most popular cocktail of the year 1902!" or something that i had never heard of before. Quite a few of them were gin drinks...
posted by emptythought at 3:32 PM on April 4, 2014

(Also thanks for the reminder that it is FINALLY Aviation season! Gotta refresh the Maraschino supply...)
posted by hilatron at 3:36 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Grant Achatz, the chef behind Alinea, has more recently opened a bar. One of the cocktails they've come up with is a powdered gin and tonic (including even the "fizz"). I found one reference here with a picture

Well it's not so much 'recent' but anyway. Basically you mix gin into maltodextrin, along with a few drops of quinine extract. Then mix in citric acid, baking powder, and a little powdered sugar.

Boom. You have a dry gin fizz. Sorry I don't have any proportions, I've never made this,
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2014

Oh and Achatz also makes this drink in his Harvard lecture.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:46 PM on April 4, 2014

I love the Bitter Elder
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:54 PM on April 4, 2014

Big Mama Thornton drank gin and milk.
posted by Jode at 4:02 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had a totally intriguing cocktail called a Mujer verde recently and it was diviiiiiiine.
posted by Sublimity at 4:05 PM on April 4, 2014

the pink gin, favorite drink of fictional british spies, is just gin and angostura bitters with a lemon peel garnish.
posted by bruce at 4:28 PM on April 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm very glad that The Last Word was rediscovered.
posted by peagood at 4:54 PM on April 4, 2014

+1 for pink gin. I learned about it from an episode of Poirot (PBS masterpiece mystery theater from the 80s or maybe 90s)
posted by askmehow at 4:55 PM on April 4, 2014

The zaza is gin and dubonnet served with a twist of lemon. It was supposedly a favourite of the late Queen Mother.
posted by aiglet at 5:09 PM on April 4, 2014

It's not a traditional drink, but I know someone (an Australian Senator) who, when she runs out of lemon, is known to drink a nice cup of gin & lemsip. (Linking because I'm not sure it's well known outside downunder.)

She offered me one once. It was as horrible as it sounds.
posted by lollusc at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2014

There's a gin speakeasy in Chelsea in NY. You could check out their menu for what they serve there
posted by jourman2 at 5:29 PM on April 4, 2014

I was also going to suggest the Jasmine, but leahwrenn beat me to it. It's fairly obscure--anyone in the SF Bay Area, or any bartender familiar with that particular cocktails book, will know it, but more than half the time I order it I get blank looks. It's kinda neat in that it tastes like it's got grapefruit in it, but it has none.
posted by rhiannonstone at 5:32 PM on April 4, 2014

A Pink Gin is pleasingly bracing. I'm also quite fond of the Liberation.
posted by mollweide at 5:38 PM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Bronx is interesting, too.
posted by mollweide at 5:40 PM on April 4, 2014

You may want to check out the menu at Gin Palace (and you could check out the bar as well, since it's in NYC).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:46 PM on April 4, 2014

I learnt tonight that gin and cider (as in the alcoholic one) is called a Ginocide. I have not tried it.
posted by jontyjago at 8:58 PM on April 4, 2014

Gin Cassis Fizz recipe

2 1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
4 oz club soda
1/2 oz creme de cassis

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir well. Drop the cassis into the center of the drink.
posted by doreur at 10:06 PM on April 4, 2014

I utterly love the Jupiter, which is ugly but delicious. I got it from "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails" by Ted Haigh. There is a little bit of provenance in the book, but nothing particularly epic.

Exact measurements are important. Use a real measuring spoon or a well-calibrated measuring shotglass. 1.5 oz gin, 3/4 oz dry vermouth, 1 teaspoon Parfait Amour (...try to get a small bottle, you will not use it for anything else ever), 1 teaspoon orange juice. Shake, strain, enjoy. It looks like pale grayish gutter water but it's delicious.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:25 AM on April 5, 2014

The Saturn can be a tremendous drink if you have a proper passion fruit syrup (the only good commercially made one I've found is Finest Call, unless you can afford to order the truly good stuff online from B.G. Reynolds). This drink really demands good syrups. Velvet Falernum will work rather than a falernum syrup in a pinch, and a good orgeat is a must have, but it's really the passion fruit that makes or breaks it.

Definitely use Eureka or Lisbon lemons- Meyers will be too sweet. You want a more floral lemon as there's enough syrup in the drink as is.

Lovely, balanced cocktail with a London Dry gin, and very tiki, too.
posted by Old Man McKay at 1:32 AM on April 5, 2014

My cousin told me about Creme Yvette the other week, this website has 3 Creme Yvette + gin cocktail recipes. Cousin says Creme Yvette tastes like "berries and violet" which would make for a strange mix of tastes depending on the amount of juniper flavor in the gin you use.
posted by backwords at 5:14 AM on April 5, 2014

I've gotten very very drunk on the Corpse Reviver (#2). A bit more color here. It is one of the few gin cocktails I enjoy and would order again despite the hangover.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:35 AM on April 5, 2014

The gin and pine (or pine gin) is as vintage as they come, being a Jerry Thomas drink, and as obscure as they come — what with modern bars not frequently stocking pine splints.
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM on April 5, 2014

Definitely not vintage - or destined to be a classic.

And oh dear god it's on pinterest.

Chilled gin with a little canelle of blue raspberry sherbet isn't that bad. Six of them are bad.

This is properly called a "Blob" after my Philipino friend from high-school whose name was Rob and yes this was an invention of a group of high-school aged boys who had a couple bottles of Tanqueray and no-one to love. Or no imagination.
posted by vapidave at 12:33 PM on April 5, 2014

I've had a cocktail with ginger, gin and Guinness which I've subsequently learned is a take on Evelyn Waugh's Noonday Reviver. It was quite good and gin is usually not something I go for.
posted by mmascolino at 1:12 PM on April 5, 2014

Let's not forget the Florodora darlings.
2 oz gin
.75 oz each Chambord and lime juice
top with ginger ale serve over ice in a rocks glass with a lime wheel.

Named for the "Florodora Girl", the broadway smash of 1901, this beverage sneaks upon one's mind like a thief and doesn't leave until it's bagged the good silver and smashed the china.
posted by Horstories at 7:42 PM on April 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

I have no idea if it has a better name, but Bad Decisions in Baltimore serves 'A Sexy Punch in the Mouth,' which is gin, ginger beer, drambuie, and bitters.
posted by troika at 7:44 AM on April 10, 2014

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