food 10.26.09

Plus: The Silver Palate Dinner

Gin's comeback has been a recurring feature in the Times for years:
Gin fights back (2000)
Helping gin to reclaim its place at the bar (2002)
A garden of delights in a glass of gin (2003)
I dreamed I wore my martini (2004)
Gin is ready for its closeup (2006)
No, really, it was tough: 4 people, 80 martinis (2007)
Can gin make a comeback against vodka? (2008)
The original gin is making a comeback (2008)
Gin with the scent of Christmas (2008)
Jesus, get a room.

A Jigger of History
Gin has been around for well over four hundred years, its popularity commonly credited to a Dutch doctor creating a potent elixir with juniper as a key flavoring. In the early 18th century it had become the drink of choice in England, though Hogarth's prints of bleak Gin Lane (versus jolly Beer Street) in 1751 made the point that gin had also become a national problem, reinforcing the misery of that country's poor.

An Early Vending Machine
Now, here's a possible solution for the Times and their gin jonesing. According to Hayman's, which makes an Old Tom Gin, "A wooden plaque shaped like a black cat (an Old Tom Cat) was mounted on a wall outside pubs. Passers by would deposit a penny in the cats mouth and would be served a shot of Old Tom Gin by the bartender through a tube between the cat's paws." It may have been England's first vending machine. So here's the 2009 plan: the Old Tom Big Gay Tacos Gin and Waffles Truck, parked daily on Eighth Avenue, oh, in the low 40s. Follow it on Twitter @OTBGTGAWT.

Breaking: The Times Hearts Gin
It isn't just gin that the Times loves. It's everything about gin. Read Molly O'Neill's piece on juniper and you'll be out buying the berries before the end of the third paragraph. It isn't just cooking with juniper berries that the Times loves. It's cooking with gin itself. See: Melissa Clark's scallop pan roast. Updating the recipe, Clark's father adds the finishing touch, a splash of gin. He asks, and you better believe this is rhetorical, "Doesn't gin make everything taste better?" (This is, all kidding aside, a terrific, easy recipe.)

Breaking: Gin Making a Comeback
Maybe the Times' If-Wishes-Were-Horses Gin series has finally paid off: there does seem to be a renewed interest lately in gin, particulary small-batch gins. Here's Serious Eats' take on it.

Current Gin Cocktails
Blue Owl's The Moneypenny: Tanqueray 10 gin, Lillet blanc, sage syrup, fresh grapefruit juice, and grapefruit bitters

Death & Co.'s Moon Cocktail: Plymouth gin, Amontillado sherry, crème de peche, honey

Pegu Club's Pegu Club Cocktail: Gin, orange liqueur, Angostura bitters and lime juice

The Clover Club's Boothby's Holland Gin Cocktail: Holland gin, Peychaud's bitters, orange bitters, sugar, and a lemon twist

The Richardson's French 75: Lemon juice, sugar, gin, sparkling wine

Learn More
Finally, no spirits library would be complete without Gaz Regan's new book The Bartender's Gin Compendium.

The Silver Palate Dinner
Anyone who's lived in New York for more than ten minutes knows about the Silver Palate, the cookbooks that carried the name far and wide, even the tiny shop that was for many years on Columbus Avenue. It was started by Sheila Lukins, an outgrowth of a catering business she launched in the 1970s, with Julee Rosso. Ms. Lukins passed away in August and there is a celebration of her life taking place this Friday in Old Lyme, Connecticut, at The Bee & Thistle Inn. On the $80 menu is, happily, chicken marbella.

hudson river

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