Gin’s super power is its bevy of botanicals. Not only does that dialed-in choice make each and every gin out there a potentially unique trip down the garden path for your senses, but it’s also become the calling card for regionality.
Sure, there has to be juniper, but after that the sky’s the limit. Expressing the aromas and flavors of a particular place via the unique combination of roots, flowers, herbs, bark, etc., is a way to put a unique sensory stamp on the spirit.
“Learning the flavors of all the unique Greek spirits at Elaia has been a fun challenge. There is something to compliment all tastes and seasons,” says Elaia Estiatorio’s head bartender Langdon Seifert. Indeed, one of the particular aspects of the gin and sparkling wine he employs in his Greek 95—an aromatic riff on the classic French 75 cocktail, the number in the name swapped for Elaia’s address of 95 School Street in Bridgehampton—is that they both hail from Greece.
The sparkling is made from 100% moscophilero, a white grape native to Greece, and named for owner/winemaker Yiannia Tselepos’s wife, Amalia. And the gin? That’s where things get really interesting. Distilled to a slightly higher alcohol content, it uses many of gin’s trademark botanicals, like cardamom, lemon peel, rosemary, bay leaf and coriander, but gets a thoroughly fascinating hit of mastiha, a pine-scented tree resin that comes from the Greek island of Chios.
“The Greek 95 is the perfect summer drink to pair with a Mediterranean dinner,” says Seifert, “or a great cocktail to sip in the sun.” Head on over to Elaia and ask him to mix you one—or take a crack at it yourself. Yamas!
- 1 1/2 oz Stray Dog Greek gin
- 1/2 oz Cretan honey syrup
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 2 oz Domaine Tselepos Amalia brut sparkling wine
- 1 sprig rosemary
For the Cretan honey syrup
- 1 cup Cretan (or other) honey
- 1 cup water
- Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake well for about 10 seconds.
- Strain into a Champagne flute or white wine glass
- Top with sparkling wine and garnish with the fresh rosemary sprig. Cheers!
To make the honey syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water over medium heat.
- Stir occasionally, until the honey dissolves and the liquid becomes slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely. Store in a jar with a tight lid for up to a month in the refrigerator.