My current favorite bar is Comstock Saloon in San Francisco. It's really an amazing place in the North Brach area of town. You simply won't find a more professional set of barkeepers anywhere - led by the two chief mixologists, Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin. Back in the day, both of these guys came from Absinthe on Hayes Street in San Francisco, and a couple years ago Jeff co-wrote a brilliant book called Art of the Bar which shows off his considerable talents behind the bar.
The Art of the Bar has been in my Library for some time now, but recently I found myself digging through the tome looking for a grapefruit cocktail for Mrs. The Ace. My wife, a well-documented grapefruit cocktail lover, was looking for something new to help her pass another rainy Bay Area winter evening. Lo and behold, I found this thing of beauty that includes not only grapefruit but also is a fresh basil cocktail.
This drink has a lovely, fresh taste to go with its brilliant green coloring. The basil and sugar make a nice, light pesto of sorts that go nicely with the citrus flavors of grapefruit and lime. And if you float some club soda on top you get a great little summertime cooler for your trouble. It's almost enough to make anyone forget that it's still cold and rainy outside. In just a few short weeks this drink will be much more useful as a harbinger of Spring.
Adapted from Art of the Bar (2006) by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz
4-6 leaves fresh basil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 oz. Plymouth Gin
1/2 oz. Cointreau (or Combier)
1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
Club soda (optional)
Combine the basil and sugar in a mixing glass and muddle until the basil is liquified into something that looks like pesto. Fill the mixing glass with ice. Add the gin, orange curacao and juices to the glass and shake well for 10-20 seconds until well-chilled. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled tall collins glass filled with ice. Top with a float of club soda for a summer cooler (optional). Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.