You know that whole "when it rains, it pours" thing? That's never been more applicable to my life. After months of no-frills living and depleting my savings account to pay my bills every month, I've finally started to sell more articles to more outlets (ones that actually pay!) and started working in a bar where the average drink costs more than my previous hourly salary was. And all of that is great, because I'm doing things I like and learning a lot, but the downside is that I'm busy. And exhausted. I fell asleep in the middle of the article I was working on this afternoon.
Even though working at the bar is tiring, getting to train under our manager, Allie, is amazing. A lot of cocktail programs are run by hipster dudes with ironic facial hair who roll their eyes when you don't share their enthusiasm for triple-hopped IPAs. Allie is a badass Korean woman who lets all of us, including me, help her develop the cocktail list. And she actually wants to teach us everything she knows. Which is a lot.
Which is how this grapefruit-jasmine aperitif came about. The whole bar staff went on a field trip to what is essentially a liquor laboratory, where we were allowed to use absolutely anything we wanted to work on developing new cocktail recipes. I found a bottle of Lillet Rouge, which I love, and decided to try to refine the drink that I was working on last year.
The grapefruit soda evolved into grapefruit bitters, which give the cocktail surprising nuance and depth. The hibiscus from my original recipe gave way to jasmine, which is much more delicate and less tannic. And the bright, citrusy backbone from the Lillet and gin is still there to give the whole thing more structure. It's perfect for sipping on a hot day, or as a pre-dinner cocktail. The version we eventually chose for the menu evolved into a spritz, which is a whole other world. But since I'm still fond of my little stirred aperitif, I thought I'd share it here.
- 1.5 oz Lillet Rouge
- .5 oz gin
- .25 oz jasmine liqueur
- 2 dashes grapefruit bitters
- Splash of rose lemonade
Combine everything but the lemonade in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain, top with a splash of the rose lemonade, and garnish with a lemon twist.