Our mint patch is taking over the backyard, horror-movie style. It’s kind of scary how fast that stuff grows, but I let it stay because I really love having fresh mint on a whim.
Especially for cocktails.
Especially for this cocktail: muddled mint, dry gin, orange liqueur and honey syrup.
I’m calling it La Grande Orange (borrowing the name from one of my favorite Phoenix restaurants) because it has Pierre Ferrand’s dry curacao — a really lovely orange liqueur that is not at all like the blue stuff of the same name that goes into slushy beach drinks. Echo the orange flavor with a splash of San Pellegrino Aranciata, an fancy-feeling orange soda that is great to have on hand for cocktails and to offer to non-drinkers.
LA GRANDE ORANGE
Makes 1 cocktail
3-4 fresh mint leaves
1 ounce honey syrup*
1.5 ounces dry gin (try The Botanist, a small-batch gin)
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry curacao
San Pellegrino Aranciata (optional)
In an old-fashioned glass, muddle mint leaves with honey syrup. Add ice, then gin and curacao. Top with club soda, a splash of San PellegrinoAranciata (optional) and a twist of orange zest (optional). Mix gently.
*To make honey syrup: In a bowl, mix 1 cup of honey with a 1/2 cup of boiling water and stir until honey is dissolved. Let cool, then store in the fridge for up to a month. Making honey syrup is an extra step, but absolutely worth it when it comes to flavor. And, once you have it on hand, you’ll use it all the time.