Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Army Navy

Gin and lemon are two flavors that were almost certainly designed by some higher power to be placed in the same glass.

From the Aviation to the Tom Collins to the (in)famous Ramos Gin Fizz, gin, lemon, and sugar have been mixed together with astoundingly good results for over a century. The basics of this formula are generally referred to as the “Gin Sour” family of drinks, and it's a large family. The fun part of working within a drink family like the Gin Sour, is that by adding an ingredient here (like crème de violette in the Aviation) or changing out the sweetener – say from sugar to orgeat – you can create an entirely new drink.

Army Navy
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon
3/4 oz Orgeat
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Orgeat is a syrup made from almonds. The name is French and the syrup can often be found in tropical drinks like Mai Tais. One interesting fact about orgeat is that the name actually derives from the French word for barley, orge. Original recipes for orgeat were basically sugared barley water, in which barley was added to sugar and hot water and then steeped. Somewhere along the way people stopped using barley and switched to almonds, but the name never changed.

We're very glad that the recipe went to almond instead of sticking to barley because the almond flavor in the Army Navy is superb. By taking the basic gin sour and replacing sugar with orgeat and adding a few dashes of bitters, the resulting drink is a cocktail with a fuller mouthfeel and rounder flavors thanks to the richness of the orgeat and the effect of the bitters on the entire conglomeration.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs RumDood.com, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

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