Gin on a Strange Patio
The perfect labor day cocktail
The traditional American Labor Day ho-down careens towards good cold beer and bad white wine in the roasting, sweating outdoors. The old G&T or Gin and soda – with ice and a slice - are made for the heat but when making them rough you have to start hauling around fruit and knives and cutting boards. People ask why all the kit? and you get excited and start yapping and before you know it, you’re be a friendless idiot.
You could use the “juice” of those little plastic limes to save the slicing, but that’s still a lot of fussing and it will make your cocktail taste plastic. In the heat, that’s only going to get worse.
I discovered the solution by accident; it isn’t complicated and requires no prep. It isn’t as simple as a can of beer, but nothing ever is. Gin and Fever Tree’s Sparkling Lime & Yuzu: a snort of gin over ice and pour the mixer over it and you don’t need anything else.
Fever Tree came into the mixer space with a high-end tonic that didn’t taste quite so processed as Canada Dry or Schweppes – and from there added club soda, ginger ale and so on. Counterintuitively, Fever Tree’s success is that their mixers offer less not more than the competition – and lets everything else shine through.
According to the website, their sparkling lime & yuzu is made from Tahitian limes (grown in Mexico) and the Japanese yuzu. The good people at Fever Tree say that this is “The perfect complement to vodka, tequila and mezcal…” I question the premise: For one thing, tequila is only perfectly complimented with industrial margarita mix and squealing co-eds. They are trying to run a business, I suppose.
I’m not a big fan of pre-mixed anything, really, so this surprised me. The lime & yuzu is, again, less that the pre-mixed tonic and limes. Which is exactly what makes it work so well. There is a floral sweetness that is too light to become cloying even in a hot, soggy Southern summer. You don’t even miss the sweet of tonic.
There is the obvious question as to just what a yuzu actually is. It’s Chinese citrus that has been cultivated in China for 1,000 years and looks exactly like a small lemon or lime, but is more floral. A quick dive into the Healthline website says that yuzu “may” have anti-cancer properties. I was about to follow this claim up with my twin brother the research doctor, but was pretty sure he’d tell me to go to hell for wasting his time. Healthline also said that yuzu may boost brain function. To which Dr. Murff would say, ”Too late.”