Gin o'clock, anyone? Second only to beer, gin is one of my favorite forms of alcohol. Gin and soda is just about all I need or some gin and homemade tonic. Have you ever tasted homemade tonic? SO much better and less sweet than the canned stuff. The real quinine bark gives the tonic a tea-like flavor with a little bite. No need for lime.
After several gin and tonics one evening, I decided that I MUST make a scoop inspired by my favorite cocktail. I did a little research on my preferred liquor and discovered there are actually many styles of gin. In order for a liquor to be called gin, it must be a 100% neutral spirit and flavored predominantly with juniper. Although juniper is at the forefront of gin, the additional botanicals lead to the greatest differences in gin flavor profiles. London Dry Gin is the most imbibed, such as Beefeater and Tanqueray, and is the best choice for a G & T. My favorite gin style is New Western Dry Gin, gin that shifts away from juniper (although still dominant) to the supporting botanicals. Try Aviation or Hendrick's if this option sounds good.
So next time you are in the mood for a cocktail, think of making a cocktail scoop! Enjoy!
If you do not have a grinder, the juniper berries can be ground using a mortar and pestle or by placing them in a heavy-duty bag and cracking them with a heavy object, like a rolling pin. I found quinine bark at my local homebrew store, but you can also find it online.
3 Tablespoons juniper berries
2 cups whole milk (500 ml), divided
1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup (30 ml)
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (11 g) cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground quinine bark (optional)
1/4 cup London Dry Gin
Coarsely grind juniper berries. Combine juniper, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat. Once warm, cover and remove from heat. Let steep at room temperature for one hour.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
After steeping, add remaining milk and cream to the juniper-infused mixture and return to medium heat, bringing the mixture to a low boil. Add ground quinine bark (if using). Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture through the sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Stir in gin. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. If you like lime in your gin & tonics, serve with a squeeze of lime juice on top!