Monday, August 24, 2015

MxMo C: An Entreaty

I am one of those mentioned by Fred who trembled in the face of possibly hosting Mixology Monday #100.  Luckily, I narrowly missed that mandate to act so seriously, thank god, and will instead be hosting next month's event.  But for this occasion, I can't think of a better host or theme to celebrate Mixology Monday.

EDIT: You can find the MxMo C Roundup here:

MxMo patron-saint Frederic Yarm is thankfully hosting this 100th such event.  The theme he's chosen is "Cocktail Chronicles", the eminent booze blog of Paul Clarke, which played a vital role in the revival of craft cocktail culture last decade and acted as the flagship in the first wave of the cocktail blogosphere, a later wave of which included yours truly.  It goes without saying that Paul Clarke is one of the resources that inspired me to join the party.

Fred accurately deems that the Cocktail Chronicles theme might be distilled(!) to simply "that which is timeless and elegant through simplicity".  Further explanation can be found here.

This leaves me little choice but to choose what might be my favorite cocktail: the Gimlet.

While past posts of mine on the Gimlet have ended up self-righteous and bloviating, this post will be earnestly different.

Like many cocktails, the Gimlet's genesis is in question, though very likely it came from the British Royal Navy.  In the 18th and 19th Centuries, while British sailors and crewman fought off scurvy with grog using rum from the West Indies and New England, their officers several decks above were likely fighting it with Gimlets using gin from London.  (Fun fact: the symptoms of scurvy include "spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes".)

The Gimlet is simply a mixture of gin and lime juice, but what kind of lime juice is a controversy.  Though certainly the first Gimlets were made with real lime juice, in 1868 a man named Lauchlan Rose began producing en masse a bottled lime juice cordial, which kept well at sea.  Many a seaman and landlubber began using Rose's Lime Juice for their Gimlets and still do today (though Paul Clarke might not be one of them, alas).

Certain minds (and increasingly more since the craft cocktail revival) reject the use of Rose's cordial in favor of more natural ingredients like fresh-squeezed lime and sugar.  My purpose today is not to issue you an opinion on the matter, but rather a request: give Rose's one more chance.

There aren't many foods I do not like, but for those that I do not, I often try them again every year or two and I find myself surprised at my changes in taste.  We owe foods a second chance.  I encourage this method with food, but also drink.

Do not think of Rose's as a lime juice simulator, because at that it fails.  Think of it as its own product with its own unique characteristics.  One of my favorite bloggers, Doug Ford of Cold Glass, writes, "In addition to lime juice and sugar, Rose's presents additional flavors that would be right at home in tropical or tiki recipes - pineapple and coconut are the ones I can taste mostly easily.  It has a mystery funkiness, a Gimlet analog of the 'hogo' that many consider the main attraction in some Jamaican rums."

If flavor cannot sway you for another try, look toward tradition; cocktail tomes indicate that Rose's dominated among Gimlets in the 20th Century.  Further, quite a few cocktail authorities opine that the modern Gimlet was most probably created to use Rose's.

And so this is all I ask: drop a bit of money on bottle of Rose's Lime Juice and give it another go.  Find the ingredient proportions that intrigue you, if you must, online recipes be damned.  You might too find it more timeless than you once thought.

Viva la Mixology Monday, and thanks to Paul Clarke for everything.