Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Choice for a Cup of Holiday Cheer

I recently attended a holiday dinner sponsored by Plymouth Gin at the Lever House and was fairly knocked out by the cocktails concocted to go along with the meal. These were all the work of Lever House's beverage director, the rather spectacularly named Rainlove Lampariello. I had never heard of the fellow. I felt less shamefaced about this when I learned that the estimable Plymouth spokesman Simon Ford was also in the dark about the man. Both Ford and I agreed that Rainlove had rung the bell with each of the five drinks he had devised for the evening. This was saying something, since, for my part, I don't really think much of the whole spirits-with-dinner concept.

The best drink of the night by far was a spin on mulled wine called "Sanguine." Over the course of a few weeks, I pried the recipe from Lampariello. I recommend it as being as good as any Yuletide punch or toddy you can come up.

This recipe was created for a large party, so adjust measurements as you see fit. Or make a big batch and invite some friends over. I'm recommending the Plymouth gin, because it's what Rainlove used and it worked well in my opinion. But any decent London Dry gin would work as well, I suppose.


2 oz. chilled Plymouth Gin
3 oz. reduced mulled red wine
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

To make the mulled wine, combine in a pot:

3 bottles of red wine
1 bottle of Plymouth gin
1 quart of Orange Juice.
1 pint Simple Syrup
Orange rinds
A sachet, about the size of a baseball, containing equal amounts cardamom, red pepper corns, star anise, salt, cloves, allspice, and coriander.

Slowly cook over a low flame until reduced to 1 quart of liquid. Take out orange rinds after one hour or liquid will become bitter.

Sounds like a bother, I know, but if you have the spices on hand, it really isn't that difficult. And it's very much worth it. A lovely drink.

Rainlove has since left the Lever House, I'm sad to say. He's now at the new Rouge Tomate.

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