It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of Tiki drinks. Though perhaps that isn’t quite the right way to put it. It’s not so much that I actively dislike Tiki drinks, rather that I loath the effort and involvement that goes in to making them. Four freshly squeezed juices here, two home-made syrups there, combined with a dizzying array of obscure rums. The result is often very good – but compared to some very simple but stunningly good cocktails? The effort/reward ratio just doesn’t stack up in my opinion.
With that said if a drink really stands out I am willing to make the effort, and The Winchester certainly stood out when I first saw it over at The Chanticleer Society. Named after Traveling Mixologist and Tanqueray brand ambassador Angus Winchester, The Winchester was created by Brian Miller of Death & Co. in New York. His attempt at a Gin Zombie, the drink has all the typical Tiki traits – various citrus juices, a spiced syrup, and three base spirits – with one key difference… it doesn’t use rum.
I love rum as much as the next cocktail geek (well, perhaps not some), but gin has a special place in my heart so a cocktail that uses three different types immediately stood out. A big part of many Tiki recipes is the balancing of several types of rum to produce a new base flavour that combines the best of the separate spirits. Applying this technique to gin sounded too intriguing to pass up…
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz Haymen’s Old Tom gin
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength gin
- 1 shot / 35 ml / 1 oz Tanqueray dry gin
- ¾ shot / 20 ml / ¾ oz lime juice
- ¾ shot / 20 ml / ¾ oz grapefruit juice
- ¾ shot / 20 ml / ¾ oz St. Germain
- ½ shot / 12.5 ml / ½ oz grenadine
- ¼ shot / 7 ml / ¼ oz ginger syrup
- 1 healthy dash Angostura bitters
- Shake with ice and strain in to a crushed-ice filled Tiki mug.
The Winchester is a real explosion of flavours. The various gins combine to produce a delicious juniper base which is accented perfectly by the surrounding flavours. The sour citrus is impeccably balanced by the sweet florals of the grenadine and St. Germain, with the ginger syrup bringing a lively spice that really brightens up the drink. If it sounds like I’m gushing it’s because I am – while it requires a little extra effort compared to some more simple cocktails, it’s worth it. Perhaps this drink will finally convince me to spend a little more time and effort on exploring Tiki.
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