I'm excited to be sharing this cocktail recipe in honor of a very special occasion: my friends Molly and Chandler are getting married! To celebrate their marriage (September 10, 2022), I wanted to put together a "gift" that every couple definitely needs: their very own signature cocktail. I think it's always good to have some cocktail recipes up your sleeve, and even better if you have a unique "house cocktail" to make for date nights or for friends and family when they come over.
This gimlet riff is an ode to Molly and Chandler's story. It incorporates ingredients to honor where they met and lived together for years (Vermont) and flavors to celebrate one of their greatest loves (outdoor adventures). This celebratory sip is a versatile year-round drink that I hope can be enjoyed after a big ski day, on a summer picnic, with friends, or for a romantic date night.
Vermont Roots and Outdoor Adventures
I've chosen the components of this cocktail to tell the story of Molly and Chandler's relationship. They met in Vermont and lived here for a few years before heading westward. Accordingly, I of course had to use Barr Hill Gin, which is made in northeastern Vermont. It just so happens that the wedding is in northeastern Vermont too, right near where Barr Hill is from! To reinforce the Vermont theme and add extra flavor, instead of sweetening this drink with the traditional simple syrup, I use maple syrup (Vermont made, of course).
Molly and Chandler love to go on all sorts of outdoor adventures together, including hiking, backcountry skiing, and mountain biking. Fresh rosemary brings this woodsy vibe into the drink, both infused into the cocktail and as a garnish. The smell of rosemary always makes me think of hiking through conifer forests in Vermont's higher elevations, a place where these two have spent lots of time together! I also use a dash of Green Chartreuse, a near-mythical liqueur made by French monks using 130 different botanicals (read more about it in my The Last Word cocktail recipe); it adds such complexity to this cocktail and always makes me think of walking through a field after a rain.
To get the rosemary flavor into drinkable form, you'll make a rosemary-infused maple syrup (see the photo above; swoon!). While herbs like rosemary and thyme are often infused into a simple syrup for cocktails (for example, see my Figgy Thyme Gin Fizz for details about a thyme simple syrup), infusing rosemary right into the maple syrup allows you to get both flavors in the same package and avoids having to use two different syrups, which would make the drink overly sweet. My tip: make a double batch of this rosemary infused maple syrup and use it in salad dressings, on cornbread, over vanilla ice cream, and on just about anything else you can dream up. I use the same trick in my Maple Rosemary Cayenne Roasted Nuts and I can promise you that it's a winner.
A Gimlet... Or Is It?
I debated about what to call this cocktail, and decided that "gimlet" was the closest description, even though it's far from a traditional interpretation. The classic gimlet involves only three ingredients (gin, lime juice, and simple syrup) and is small, strong, and generally served straight-up in a coupe glass. Ratios vary, but generally I consider a gimlet to be 2-2.5 oz gin, 0.5-1 oz lime juice, and 0.5-0.75 oz simple syrup.
This cocktail stays quite close to those original flavors, but uses the rosemary-infused maple syrup in place of the simple syrup and adds a dash of Green Chartreuse for an herbaceous vibe. So, flavor-wise, it's a bit more woodsy and cozy than a traditional gimlet. It also diverges in its size and strength. Because Molly and Chandler are likely to spend a weekend day backcountry skiing, I wanted to create a more refreshing and hydrating cocktail they could sip after a big day on the snow. Accordingly, this one is served with a bit more lime than a classic gimlet, on the rocks instead of straight up, and with an optional dash of soda water to lengthen it more.
That said, this one is easy to vary. Feel free to tweak the proportions and/or serve it in a chilled coupe glass instead of on the rocks if that's more your speed. And if you're looking for other gimlet variations, check out this Watermelon Mint Gimlet, which is perfect for summer. Gin and lime are a match made in heaven!
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Maple syrup. Vermont maple syrup is clearly the right choice!
Fresh rosemary. You'll use fresh rosemary to make an infused maple syrup, as well as to garnish the drink. This drink really won't work well with dried rosemary; fresh is the way to go.
Gin. Barr Hill of course, for the full Vermont experience! You can see their bottle and distinctive bee cork (because their gin is made from honey!) in several of the photos in this post.
Fresh-squeezed lime juice. Fresh-squeezed is a must here.
Green Chartreuse. Please do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of the real deal! It's an investment, but one that's worth every cent. This stuff is liquid magic. That said, this drink will work fine without the Green Chartreuse, it will just be a little less complex.
Soda water. Optional, but you can use this to top off the drink for a bigger, more refreshing sip.
This gimlet riff is more complex than the original, with a distinctly woodsy vibe. It pays homage to Vermont in several different ways, incorporates a range of herbs and botanicals, and has a delightful balance of fresh and cozy flavors that make it work all year long. It can work equally well after a day of outdoor adenturing or for a cozy night in. Plus it's relatively easy to make, so you can easily mix up a bunch of these for a crowd.
I'm so excited to celebrate with Molly and Chandler soon (in two days, from the time I'm posting this!!). My hope for this cocktail is that it brings them much happiness however they decide to enjoy it, and that it always takes them back to the roots of their relationship, reminding them of where and how their journey together began.
Congratulations on your marriage, Molly and Chandler! Raising a big toast to you, to all your future adventures together, and to a lifetime of happiness and excellent cocktails.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
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To make the rosemary infused maple syrup, combine the maple syrup, water, and rosemary in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low boil. Boil until the mixture has reduced by half, or to about the thickness that the maple syrup was originally. Keep an eye on it and don't let it go too far.
Strain the infused maple syrup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any wayward rosemary bits.
Put the infused maple syrup in a jar or container and chill it for several hours.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lime juice, rosemary infused maple syrup, and green chartreuse, then shake well with ice.
Add a few large ice cubes to a serving glass.
Strain the cocktail into the serving glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
If desired, top it off with some soda water to fill the glass.
Store any additional infused maple syrup in the fridge for up to a couple weeks.