Welcome to this month’s installment of Mixology Monday, the monthly online cocktail party. Every month, a rotating host posts a theme for bloggers and cocktail aficionados to sue as inspiration. This month, my twitter friend Muse of Doom from Feu de Vie throws down the gauntlet with the theme of Ice, Ice Baby!
And in all this time there hasn’t once been a theme dedicated to that undersung-yet-essential part of nearly any cocktail: ICE. The word says it all. Big ice cubes for Old Fashioneds, pellet ice for juleps and cobblers, shaved ice for adult snowcones, crushed ice molded into a cone for a classic Navy Grog. The art of the blender. Tell us why your selected or invented cocktail needs this particular ice usage. Show us how to make perfectly clear ice at home or what you get to work with as a professional drink-slinger. It doesn’t even have to be pure H2O, either. Flavor it up! Teas, juices, liqueurs, bitters, other frozen edible objects serving as ice. Tell us the nuances of a properly-made Il Palio. Show us why a decorative approach takes your recipe to the next level. Whatever tickles your tastebuds and refreshes you this summer.
At first, I thought about making a two-stage specialty ice Bloody Mary with frozen hot pepper ice cubes but it wasn’t really inspiring me. When the idea was floated on twitter that a boozy ice cream could fit the bill – I had a flash! Why not make a gin & tonic float? I have a tabletop ice cream machine sitting underutilized in my kitchen and the heat certainly makes a frozen treat appealing. I settled on using a gin & lime sorbet with tonic water as the “float” part making this a summer version of a root beer float. My first attempt at the sorbet was … not what I wanted. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I didn’t get enough gin so I messed with my proportions to make this version. I also added some fruit pectin to help with the texture. Both of these changes did what they needed to!
Gin & Lime Sorbet
- 1 Cup 1:1 Simple Syrup, cooled – You could use a cup of water and a cup of sugar, but I went ahead and put them together.
- 3/4 Cup Lime Juice – This is where I made the biggest adjustment by dialing back the lime juice
- 1/4 Cup London Dry Gin. You need a juniper forward London Dry Style gin here to stand up to the sugar and lime flavors. Be careful not to add too much because the freezing point will get knocked out of wack.
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fruit Pectin
- Zest of 1 Lime (Approximately 1/8 Cup)
- Make your simple syrup, or blend the water and sugar together. Add the lime juice and gin. Mix well.
- Optional Step – If your ice cream maker doesn’t have a chute to add ingredients partially through the freezing process, add the pectin and lime zest now.
- Optional step here is to chill your base down as low as you can for a few hours before making the sorbet. If you have a refreezable core style ice cream maker, I recommend this step for sure.
- Start freezing your base! I have an automatic table top mixing unit with an add-in chute, so I turned the timer on to 1 hour and let it go.
- After 5 minutes, add the pectin.
- After 25 more minutes, or 30 minutes total, add the lime zest.
- When the freezing is done, the sorbet will still be pretty slushy, and you could just stir in a little tonic water now and make a frozen G & T delight. If not, remove the sorbet to a container and stick in the freezer to firm up for an hour or two.
Gin & Tonic Float
- Gin & Lime Sorbet
- Tonic Water
- Place a scoop or two of gin & lime sorbet in your serving glass.
- Top with tonic water.
- Enjoy with great haste.
The sorbet, even after the extra time to firm up in the freezer is still loose, so it will start to break down in the tonic water pretty quickly. This means you will probably get to enjoy slurping the last few bits from the bottom instead of using a spoon, but it certainly encourages you to enjoy the treat.
The lime comes through quite strongly, but the tell-tale sign of juniper is in the background of the sorbet. The tonic water adds a nice bitterness when you spoon a bite to counteract the sugar in the sorbet fulfilling the promise of a gin & tonic float.
My next batch, I plan to add tonic syrup to the sorbet base to make the entire gin & tonic component contained within the sorbet and skip the float side of things. If you don’t want to go to all the trouble, you can always just call it a Gin Gimlet Sorbet and move along home!