This week’s cocktail is going to be short, sweet, and to the point! Yes, I’m still down in Florida, and yes, it’s “hot as the blue blazes”, as my Mama would say. When its so hot outside that the windows in the house are constantly fogged up, you want something light and refreshing for your cocktail hour. While I don’t drink Vodka, it is a great starter for this particular variety of drink. You can use it in a variety of different ways, but today, I’m going to put it in a tried and true Vodka Tonic. What is a Vodka Tonic you may ask? Well, it’s exactly what it says it is, Vodka and Tonic Water. The classic version is these two components mixed with a lime twist (basically squeezing fresh lime into the glass before adding the Vodka and Tonic). I want to amp it up a little, so obviously I’m going to put a different spin on what you might be thinking about.
This is one of my Mom’s favorite drinks. When in a bind, and not sure what to order, this is her go to cocktail. It’s a tried and true friend that’s been with her for years. Don’t ask how many, because both of us will just lie and say “doesn’t she look great for 30?” which is true! As much as my Mom loves this drink, she gets a little bored with the typical lime, vodka, and tonic. This is where I have to get creative. Can’t go too sweet for her, because she likes her drink like she likes her men…to have a little bite! With that being said, she wants new flavors infused for her drinking pleasure.
One of my all-time favorite flavors to play with is ginger. It’s such a versatile ingredient and can go sweet or savory. It’s also very uplifting and helps to give me energy when I’m lacking! That’s why it’s perfect to muddle together with the lime juice for a Vodka Tonic. You can add as much or as little as you like, depending on your intensity level. My Mom likes hers pretty intense, so I add quite a bit of ginger root. If you just want a hint of flavor, start out with less; you can always add more! If you can get your hands on it, it’s fun to garnish your glass with candied ginger, which is a perfect accompaniment to the tart flavors of the lime and tonic. Dad always fresh mint around, so I decided to add a little of that as well!
This is really simple to do. You start out by taking your ginger root and peeling it. This is going to sound crazy, but the easiest way that I have found to peel ginger is with a spoon. Yes, a spoon. For whatever reason, the rounded edges glide over the knobs of the ginger root, taking the skin off, but not taking most of your product with it. Try it, it really is pretty easy! After that, I like to use the pictured piece of equipment to get the finest shred of ginger that I can. If you use a lot of ginger, look into getting one of these. They are great! The will shred almost anything from garlic to ginger, hard cheese and even break an onion down to give you onion juice! I love it for ginger, because it gives you an almost ginger water, but leaves out the hairy insides of the root. I hate those, because they are always getting caught in my teeth! If you don’t have one of these graters, a regular kitchen grater will work, or you can just cube
it into very small chunks, just be prepared to have a little ginger floating around in your drink, which can never be a bad thing!
So take your ginger, lime juice and a few mint leaves and put them in the bottom of your glass. I choose to use a shorter bar glass, but any one will work. Muddle these three items together to get a good mix. If you are using chunks, you may have to work a little harder! When I’m in a situation, where I don’t have a muddler (which doesn’t happen very often!), I like to use a wooden spoon. Same result, just a little extra work, since the end you are muddling with isn’t as large.
So you’ve got your mint, lime juice and ginger melding together. Time to add some ice, Vodka, and Tonic. For this drink, I chose to use a cucumber infused Vodka, to add a little more freshness. You can use plain, if you like, or another flavor. I like to finish with lemon and lime wedges on the glass rim, just because it’s pretty and your drinker can add more juice, if they want a more tart drink!
Other variations on this drink would be to use cucumbers in place of the ginger. Just slice them thin, and muddle with the lime juice. They also look great on the rim! Cucumber infused Vodka can also be used to intensify the flavor. If you go a little sweeter, and like your fruit, try an apple, and maybe some apple infused Vodka. Raspberries and blackberries also work great as well. Like I said, the possibilities are endless!
This is another fun drink to set up a bar with. Have the essentials, Vodka, Tonic Water, and Lime juice, but have a variety of other add in’s out for your guests to play with. Let it be interactive and have fun with it! I can almost guarantee your guests will love it!
Ginger Infused Vodka Tonic – Makes 1 drink
– ½ inch piece of ginger root, peeled and finely grated (again, more for more bite, less for less bite)
-6-7 Mint leaves
– Juice from ½ of a lime
– 2 shots of Cucumber Vodka (flavored Vodkas are great here, but make sure your flavors go together with your add in)
– Tonic Water to finish
– Lemon and Lime wedges to garnish. Candied ginger to garnish, if you can find it!
– Muddle mint, ginger and lime juice together in a glass.
– Add ice to the top of the glass.
– Pour vodka over ice.
– Finish with Tonic Water.
– Garnish with lemon and lime wedges and candied ginger (if you have some)