I don’t have a yard or even a small balcony, but I’ve found a way to enjoy self-made cocktails outdoors: I bought a wide-mouth thermos for ice, plastic rock glasses and a paring knife in a plastic sheath. I am now outfitted to have cocktail picnics!
We planned a picnic excursion in the north part of the city, where Pankow looks like the countryside. It’s become a regular spot for us, since it’s easy to bike straight north to get there. I packed up the items I’d planned to bring, and since Fronx impulse-bought a quarter of a watermelon, I packed four shots of rum too, killing the bottle of Ron Zacapa 23 that was a gift from Mike on one of his visits.
Note: I mean four German shots, which are 20 ml each. In Canada and the US, a shot is 1.5 ounces (metric and imperial, respectively) which are both just over 40 ml. These details and more can be found on the Wikipedia page about shot glasses.
Knowing I wanted to make gin tonics this long weekend, I’d bought a new kind of gin and a new kind of tonic to try. The gin, The Duke, is a strong dry gin made in Munich. I bought it at a place called Dr. Kochan Schnapskultur on Immanuelkirchstr. Later the same day, at KaDeWe, I discovered that Berlin’s mixer-drink darling, Thomas Henry, now offers an Elderflower Tonic. Exciting! It also meant saving a step of pre-mixing Elderflower Liqueur into the gin.
I filled two glasses with ice, slices of cucumber, and a squeezed wedge of lime, before dumping in 4cl of The Duke into each, and then topped with the elderflower tonic. Under the rush of wind in the linden trees, we sipped the chilled drinks.
Verdict? In a word: yes. The elderflower tonic is floral, slightly bitter, and not very sweet. The gin is sharp and dry, almost spicy. Refreshing and intense. The grassy-scented booze matched the grassy-scented surroundings.
Watermelon Cocktails, rustic style
Last summer, we drank watermelon cocktails a few times, always following the recipe suggested by Mike. We recorded some short videos this time. (Tip: better in high definition!)
Here, Fronx uses a very sharp knife to cut watermelon without a cutting board:
Here I show how to muddle (i.e. crush to extract juice) the watermelon using a glass bottle:
If I do this again, I’ll muddle before I add the rum. You’ll see in the video that the liquid almost overflowed.
I could tell you that I simplified the recipe because we would be roughing it away from home, but the truth is I was in a rush and forgot to add grenadine and bitters to the rum.
If you want to pre-mix rum with grenadine and bitters, do, though we’ve learned that on a blanket in the shade in the countryside, a quality aged run doesn’t require such additions. The instructions are the same:
- Fill glasses halfway with ice.
- Add chunks of watermelon.
- Muddle with whatever you’ve got. I used the bottle I brought the gin in.
- Add 4cl (1,5 ounces) of rum (or mix) to each.
- Add a squeeze of lime to each.