It's summertime and I'm ginning from ear to ear, so it's time I told you about a laudable libation I loved in London labeled Hendrick's. Here's a write-up on it that does a better job than I, but here's my take: The gin is small-batched in the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland. (I know...I know... gin should be from England, but what's an ironclad rule without exceptions? I mean - look at the apothecary bottle they use - it has to be good for you!) It has the raw juniper power of a Tanqueray or Gordon's, while being tempered with the subtlety of Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater's. With this kind of top-shelf quality, there are only three ways to serve it: on ice, G&T, or a dry martini (shaken, if you please). You garnish with cucumber, not lime (and don't even mention lemon, or your comments will be deleted!) - and the difference is ineffable.
Oh..if you've never had it, Pimm's is another delicious treat from the British Isles. It is gin-based, but only 27% alcohol (54 proof), as opposed to a regular gin (Hendrick's is 44% / 88 proof). The concoction is mixed with herbs, fruit juices, and citrus extracts to make a unique and enjoyable beverage. While it's okay straight, it's best as a low-alcohol cocktail - perfect for afternoon events. Try it classic or one of the endless variations of Pimm's cup. It really is deliciously refreshing in the classic form with the other drink of summertime, lemonade (1 part Pimm's, 3 parts lemonade).
Both are finally available in Louisville at Liquor Barn. If you can't get it in your area, you can order online at ShoppersVineyard.