By Joy Summers
As much as I love a fussed-over cocktail (and being fussed over in general—let’s be honest) when I’m at home, I default to pour-and-sip drinks. I prefer a ready-made mixer or a straight sipping spirit. I’m a little lazy and I harbor a deep appreciation for those professionals who mix my favorite drinks. The only drawback is that now I’m persnickety about my mixers. The incredible bartending talent in this town has made a hopeless booze snob out of me.
I’ve long been on the hunt for a great tonic. My friend Jess makes her own at home and swears, “It’s so easy!” I’ll say it here in print: I think she’s a filthy liar. Not that I’ve actually tried to make it, mind you. It’s just that the bevy of store-bought tonics with their sickly sweet flavor. I’d like to make mine at home, as I find so many store bought tonics treacle, but I’m a realist in my limited abilities.
Finally, I’ve found a tonic syrup as nuanced and balanced as what I’ve sipped at the best bars in the Twin Cities. Blue Henn tonic syrup is locally made from that distinctive cinchona bark, with a thread of sweetness, zesty citrus, soft herbal notes and the welcome bitterness of the quinine.
It’s a fabulous foil for the Ecgberht’s gin I’ve got tucked away in the back of my pantry (safely kept from people who aren’t me and perhaps not as discerning in their drink choice.) The stunning blue bottle matches the cool, crisp flavor of this gin made by 11 Wells in St. Paul.
I simply mix the two together in one of my favorite new glasses (also bought locally from my favorite Etsy vintage retailer Modern Vintage Nest). Garnished with a lime wedge, and it’s just like being out and about without having to sacrifice the comfort of my sweats.
Hyper Local gin and tonic
2 oz locally distilled gin
¾ oz Blue Henn tonic syrup
Pour gin, tonic syrup and club soda over ice. Garnish with lime.