I'd sip these cocktails AGAINN and again
Last night I went to check out the recently opened AGAINN, a modern gastropub in DC owned by the Whisk Group. The Tamworth Pork Belly was to diefor (like a succulent pork loin with a thick and crispy bacon blanket...I know some have lamented the fact that pork belly seems to show up on every menu these days, but it remains one of my favorite dishes and I never get tired of it); and the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Stout Ice Cream was salty, sweet, rich and yes, oh so sticky (I was oohing and ahhing--very unusual for someone who doesn't usually get too excited when the dessert menu arrives...)
Speaking of oohing and aahing, the cocktail menu is off the hook. Designed by Scott Baird of 15 Romolo in San Francisco, and Josh Harris (the cocktail consulting duo goes by the name Bon Vivants), the drinks have a West Coast cocktail scene feel to them (as well as a nod to the British Empire, with great gin-based drinks, and the #13 version of that refreshing staple Pimms Cup.)
I'm currently working on a gin article, so I wanted to sample their gin-based concoctions (who am I kidding? Gin's my favorite spirit and I would have ordered them regardless). The Lady Macbeth was a frothy, tart and tangy twist on a sour, with a choice of Hendricks or Square One Botanical (a new spirit on the market that's basically a gin without juniper...), St. Germain, lemon juice, rosewater and an egg white. Mine was mixed with Hendricks, and the rosewater pulled out the rose petal botanical that the gin's known for.
The citrus-y Yeoman Afternoon combined Hayman's Old Tom gin (a lightly sweetened style popular in the 19th century), with aromatic, Earl Grey-infused Dolin Sweet Vermouth, orange marmalade and lemon, and got a spicy kick from a touch of ginger beer.
Malty, earthy Genever (gin's precursor) showed up in the Dutch Courage, with yellow Chartreuse, fresh rosemary, lemon, rosemary tincture and egg white. I adore rosemary, and I thought the Genever worked really well with the herbal components in both the fresh pineness of the herb, as well as the Chartreuse.
Scott and Josh shared the recipe with me for the Lady Macbeth. You can find rosewater in Asian and Indian grocery stores. If you are using the dried rosebud garnish, make sure you get edible roses that don't have any pesticides or herbicides on them. You could also garnish the drink with a lemon twist. "Dry shaking" refers to the process of shaking without ice (in this case to make the egg white nice and frothy.) AGAINN uses a blender ball for this purpose, but you can just vigorously shake in a cocktail shaker.
Courtesy of Josh Harris and Scott Baird, Bon Vivants Cocktail Consulting (drink is on the menu at AGAINN, Washington, DC)
1.5 oz. Hendricks or Square One Botanical
½ oz. St. Germain
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. egg white
6 drops of rosewater
Dried baby rosebud (for garnish)
In a small mixing tin or cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Dry shake the mixture. Add ice to the shaker, shake vigorously, and double strain through a tea strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a dried baby rosebud and a few drops of rosewater.