Join the Cocktail Revolution

Green Tea Gimlet cocktail

Cocktail revolution – indeed. The revolution has been raging for several years now and I’m happy to say that I’ve been a joyful participant, trying a signature handcrafted cocktail wherever I may be, writing about cocktail challenges, and mixing up a few of my own at home. Food and Wine declared six years ago that “just like celebrity chefs, today’s celebrity bartenders have passionate followers who admire their quest for the best ingredients and the newest ideas”.

In his book, Savory Cocktails, author Greg Henry addresses the cocktail renaissance that started in the 80’s with the Sex in the City girls’ drink of choice, the Cosmopolitan, progressed to the retro drink culture with Mad Men inspired classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and, “as this renaissance develops, cocktails are becoming more sophisticated and taking a distinctly savory turn”. With nearly 100 hard-hitting distilled delights, Henry shakes, stirs, and strains the coolest cornucopia of drinks since The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall. Using everything from classic liqueurs to innovative new bitters, the recipes offer a stylish, elegant approach to complex-flavored cocktails.

Silk & Gators cognac cocktail, Savory Cocktails book, Greg Henry

Leafing through my copy, one stunning cocktail after another made it difficult to decide on what to try first. Naturally, one  must consider whether  you have the ingredients on hand – be prepared to make a trip to Bev Mo or order some specialty items online.  The Green Tea Gimlet caught my eye;  as the name suggests, it contains steeped green tea, giving me the healthy component that I like to think I’m getting, and seemed fairly easy to make compared to most of the other drinks.

Somehow, every month turns into a busy travel month and, even though I make myself a cup of tea nearly every day, I hadn’t gotten around to making the gimlet and actually photographing it, before the date for our trip to Boston rolled around. We make an annual pilgrimage to Boston to visit with family, which now includes an adorable little one named Grace, hopefully watch the Red Sox hit one over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, and dine at Catalyst, the best restaurant in Cambridge (in our biased opinion*) and included in Boston’s 50 Best Restaurants. *Owner/Chef, William Kovel, formerly chef de cuisine at the acclaimed Aujourd’hui at Boston’s Four Seasons is our SIL and father of the cutest baby in the world :) See the dinner he and his team prepared at the James Beard Foundation.

Charles River, Cambridge, Boston

View of Boston and the Charles River, Cambridge

Knowing I would be seeing Jason Kilgore, bar manager and mix master at Catalyst, I threw my Savory Cocktails book in my suitcase to share with him and, hopefully, he would be willing to model his mixology skills so I could assume the roll of taster and photographer. Done! Jason took the book home for a little night time reading and we set a time for our cocktail shoot.

Jason Kilgore, sommelier, Catalyst, Boston

Jason whipped up the Green Tea Gimlet in no time. Greg Henry likes to make a pitcher of these  for parties, but we were only making one cocktail. So, rather than steep two green tea bags in 1-1/2 cups gin as the recipe calls for, Jason put a teabag and gin in a Boston shaker and shook it vigorously. Violà, we had a perfect party-for-one Green Tea Gimlet. It’s no surprise that the refreshing citrus notes played very nicely with the green tea and gin for a silky smooth libation.

Green Tea Gimlet cocktail

Green Tea Gimlet
Serves: 6 cocktails
  • 1-1/2 cups / 12 fl oz dry gin, at room temperature
  • 2 green tea bags
  • ¾ cup / 6 fl oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 to 6 tbsp / 2 to 3 fl oz citrus syrup* made with lemon, to taste
  • 6 lime wedges, as garnish
  1. Make the base: Pour the gin into a 3-cup or larger pitcher. Add the tea bags and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, remove the tea bags and add the lime juice and citrus syrup; stir until well combined.
  2. Make the cocktails: For each cocktail, add about 3¼ ounces of the base to a cocktail shaker ⅔ filled with ice. Cover and shake vigorously; strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Squeeze a lime wedge over the drink and drop it in.
* To make citrus syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together 2 cups sugar, ¾ cup freshly squeezed citrus juice of your choice, ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon citrus zest. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking until a syrupy consistency is achieved, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool and then strain through a wire mesh sieve double-lined with damp cheesecloth. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Jason had time to create a couple more cocktails, the two that caught his eye:  the Barrel-Aged Berlioni which Henry adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book and Silk and Gators. Henry prefaces each cocktail recipe with a little history or humorous anecdote accompanied by a stunning photo. For example: “The Berlioni was originally created by Berlin-baed bartender Gonçalo de Sousa Monteiro as a riff on that great cocktail star, the Negroni. The dark notes of barrel-aged gin in conjunction with orange bitters take this cocktail a step back toward its roots”. Barrel aged gin is rather rare these days, but Henry offers a few suggestions including aging your own at home.

Barrel-Aged Berlioni, cocktail, Negroni

Jason lended his flourish to the Barrel-Aged Berlioni by lighting the orange peel and expressing the oil into the drink – the smoke and vanilla notes with a touch of Cynar and white vermouth along with the orange peel oil is the epitomy of a savory cocktail.

Jason Kilgore, sommelier, Catalyst, Boston

We had time for one more: the Silk and Gators. Jason declared it “my kind of cocktail” – I didn’t want to mix too many spirits, so took a sip, then another, and declared it very spirit-forward, an assertive and complex cocktail meant to be savored, not killed on the way to a Red Sox game, which is where I was headed. The author describes Silk and Gators as a smoothly elegant, deeply nuanced cognac cocktail – hence the “silk” in the name. The complex earthiness of the “gator” is what got Henry to sit up and take notice of this Paul Sanguinetti cocktail from Ray’s and Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum. It is nutty, leathery, salty, bitter, toffee, and savory – all at the same time.

Silk and Gators cognac cocktail, Savory Cocktails, Greg Henry

Whether you are an experienced mix master, cocktail geek, or at-home mixologist Savory Cocktails {Ulysses Press, $16.95} is an elegantly designed compendium of information on the glassware, tools, and techniques necessary to create sophisticated savory cocktails. Cocktail recipes are divided into sections of sour, spicy, herbal, umami, bitter, smoky, rich, and strong. Henry also provides recipes for making your own unique syrups and bitters. Greg Henry is a professional photographer and the author of Savory Pies {Ulysses Press}. His love of food led him to write the acclaimed food blog, Sippity Sup – Serious, Fun Food – which is how I know him.

Fenway Park, Yawkey Way, Bostson


Red Sox clinched the AL East at that game and have now advanced to the ALCS.

Cheers to your weekend!

Silk and Gators. cognac cocktails


Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post, I received a copy of Savory Cocktails (thank you very much) to review and enjoy. All opinions are my own.

7 Responses to “Join the Cocktail Revolution”

  1. sippitysup October 10 at 10:55 am #

    Great post. I wish I’d been in Boston with you. That was a fun exercise for sure. XOGREG

    • Priscilla October 11 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks, Greg! It would have been fun to have you there :)

      • Barb | Creative Culinary October 11 at 2:05 pm #

        Well I think all three of us should have been there! Loved Greg’s book but then it’s no surprise I enjoy crafting a cocktail now and then right? 😛

        I’ll have to try this one; sounds terrific!

  2. Roger October 10 at 6:13 pm #

    Thanks for your recommendation of Catalyst on our visit to Boston this summer. Chef William did a wonderful job. The restaurant was perfect for our group.

    • Priscilla October 11 at 11:02 am #

      Hi Roger – You’re welcome – I’m happy that you had a wonderful experience at Catalyst :)

  3. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious October 11 at 9:32 am #

    Now I want a leathery, toffee cocktail! Brilliant solution to have your expert bartender do the work, while you are the taste tester!

    • Priscilla October 11 at 11:03 am #

      Dorothy – I thought so 😉 And I think it’s time to cozy up with a dark spirited cocktail too!

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