Rita Konig, T Magazine’s European editor, unveils persons, places and things on her radar in her online letters from London.
Spring is my absolute favorite season: all the flowers are bursting forth, the place is awash with color after a long dreary winter, and we have months more of it ahead of us. With Memorial Day a small step away, the floodgates to summer will soon open.
The gin sour from “Vintage Cocktails” (Assouline, $50).
These light evenings are so delightful, they just make me want to meet friends for drinks after work. Spring is my absolute favorite season: all the flowers are bursting forth, the place is awash with color after a long dreary winter, and we have months more of it ahead of us. With Memorial Day a small step away, the floodgates to summer will soon open.
There is no better drink than that first, bubbly, refreshing glass when the day is coming to a close. Ever since I fell in love with Hendrick’s, I have been on the lookout for new aromatic gins; and as with all things, I am initially attracted by the packaging. Monkey 47 has the best: the label looks like an old-fashioned postage stamp and is stuck on the front of a brown apothecary bottle. It is very smart. The German booze inside, made by the Black Forest distillery, has this wonderful pineyness to it. It is quite different from Hendrick’s, which is very floral, but I love how with gin you really do get these very different essences. I never tire of a good gin and tonic made with slivers of lime (many of them) and a few drops of angostura bitters. It is not only delicious, but who doesn’t love a blush-colored bev?
I am also really into sours right now. They might not immediately sing spring to you, but whiskey sours are not the only sours. At the Connaught Hotel bar, they mix the snowiest white vodka sour, which is so good that it’s impossible to have just one. While perusing Assouline’s “Vintage Cocktails” book the other day, I fell upon a recipe for gin sours. It made me realize that one of my favorite drinks of all time, called a Rum Dum, is essentially a rum sour. The Rum Dum is sadly only served at the Lyford Cay Club in Nassau, where it was created in 1974 by Wilfred Sands. This might explain why it remains such a personally sought-after cocktail, since I only ever have it there and long to have it anywhere else (over those rum punches made with sickly sweet fruit juice that they serve elsewhere in the Caribbean). Anyway, we have the recipe here, and I urge you to take it with you whenever you are heading south:
Lyford Cay Rum Dum
Wilfred Sands came up with this drink, the signature cocktail of the exclusive and stunning Lyford Cay Club, when asked for a rum drink that was not overly sweet and could be served in a short glass. Forty-two years later, Sands still serves up Rum Dums from the men’s locker room at the Lyford Cay golf course. The recipe has been kept concealed, but Avenue magazine made it a mission to uncover the original Lyford Cay Club cocktail with the following recipe.
1 1/2 ounces light rum
3 1/2 ounces sweet and sour mix (recipe below)
1 ounce dark rum (Sands uses Meyer’s Jamaican Rum)
Sweet and Sour Mix:
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup simple syrup (boil equal part sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved)
2 cups water
1 raw egg white.
Stir all sweet and sour mix ingredients together in a pitcher. Combine light rum and sweet and sour mix in a blender, and briefly blend to mix. Pour over ice in a short chilled glass. Carefully float the dark rum over the surface of the drink so it forms a separate layer. Serve immediately.
Monkey 47’s Old World-style gin comes in a bottle to match.