For the past few years, I’ve been really in to gin. It’s fairly common for bars and restaurants in Manchester to offer extensive gin menus. In fact, I’d guess that it’s the choice booze of people in our area. I’m more than happy to join the club.
I think it was just a matter of time before I developed a taste for it, and the wealth of gin options in England made it easy. Gin and I go way back. It was always the happy hour beverage of my grandparents. I have many happy memories of sitting around the patio table on a hot summer night and watching the fireflies light up the yard while my grandparents sipped their drinks and talked about the day. One whiff of gin and olive brine and I’m immediately back in my grandparents’ kitchen while my Pawpaw mixes cocktails and sings the old cowboy song Back in the Saddle Again.
I’ve been told that you either like gin or you don’t with very little in between. I disagree. My first sip of gin was not love at first taste. But as time goes on, our tastes evolve. The herbaceous libation can certainly pack a punch, and I understand how one could feel accosted by pine needles if you had a particularly pungent cocktail. If you’re not in the gin camp just yet, this cocktail might just change your mind. If you already love gin, this drink is a no-brainer.
I think this bergamot gin fizz is the perfect cocktail. It’s the gateway gin tipple in my opinion–sweet, tart, and smooth. Spring is not quite here, so we can still take advantage of the jewels of the winter months–citrus. This drink is a great way to use those last few bergamot. If you’ve never had bergamot but have had early grey tea, bergamot is that characteristic flavor in earl grey tea. The fruit is super tart and wonderfully floral. When made into a quick bergamot syrup, it’s a wonderful accompaniment to the herb-y gin. It’s bright, delicious, and has just the right amount of zing to get you through the winter.
My grandparents passed away before I could ever sit down and have a drink with them. I think about them and their little evening ritual every time I reach for the shaker. I imagine making them drinks and watching the fireflies together.
I think they’d be pleased that I’ve come around to gin.
If you like this Bergamot Gin Fizz, you might also like:
Bergamot Gin Fizz
For the cocktails
- 3-4 ounces gin
- 2 oz. bergamot syrup recipe below
- 3/4 oz. fresh bergamot juice
- 2 egg whites
- 4 ounces soda water
- 2 thin slices of bergamot for garnish
For the bergamot syrup
- 1/2 cup freshly squeeze bergamot juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
First make the bergamot syrup by placing 1/2 cup freshly squeezed bergamot juice and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small sauce pan over medium low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer into a jar and let cool completely.*
Combine the gin, 2oz. bergamot syrup and egg whites in a cocktail shaker (don't put the ice in yet!) Shake for about 30 seconds. Add about a cup of ice and shake again for 30 seconds.
Strain into a high ball glass with a few ice cubes and top each drink off with 2 oz. soda water and a slice of bergamot. Enjoy!
*You can do this ahead and keep the syrup in your fridge so that you can make bergamot gin fizzes any time you like! This will make a lot more syrup than you need for just two cocktails, but it's great to have around.