This drink comes as part of a virtual cocktail party from the book Spice & Ice. I first met Kara Newman as part of Tales of the Cocktail 2009, when I interviewed her for the Tales Blog. She had recently published a book of spicy cocktails—titled Spice & Ice—and was moderating a panel of the same name during Tales. Kara writes a regular column for Chile Pepper Magazine called “High Spirits,” which “focuses on spirits and cocktails with bold flavors, as well as drinks appropriate for pairing with the fiery foods”. Her interest in cocktails grew out of an event featuring Dave Wondrich and Audrey Saunders, and her work for Chile Pepper was a natural growth of that spark and her obsession with food.
Kara reached out to me to write about one of the cocktails from the book, with the direction that re-working the recipe was encouraged. I am a born tinkerer and can’t resist playing with even the most standard cocktail recipe, so the challenge appealed to me.
After reviewing the list of drinks, I settled on the Sparkling Ginger Daisy, a mix of gin, ginger liqueur and sparkling wine. The original was good, but I was sure I could take it apart and pull together an all-new remix, so I set about doing just that. The original recipe, for reference, consists of 1 oz Plymouth gin, 1 oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, ½ oz lemon juice and 1 tsp grenadine. Stir the ingredients together over ice, strain into a champagne flute and top with brut champagne. Light and refreshing, it is a straight-forward take on the daisy. Mine requires a bit more work, but I think making the two side-by-side is a fun experience—especially with a full bottle of sparkling wine to finish.
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 barspoon sugar
1 oz Hayman’s Old Tom gin
½ oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
½ oz Meyer lemon juice
1 barspoon Aperol
1 oz brut sparking wine (cava)
Muddle the ginger and sugar in the bottom of a mixing glass until a thick paste forms. Add the gin, Domaine de Canton, lemon juice and Aperol, along with ice, and shake. Double strain—pour the drink out of the tin through a Hawthorne strainer into a fine mesh strainer—into a champagne flute or saucer. Top with the ounce of cava, garnish with a thin slice of fresh ginger, and serve.
While I enjoy Domaine de Canton, I find that in increments of more than half an ounce it can be a little bit too sweet. To cut the Canton and keep the ginger flavor, I opted for the firey splash of fresh muddled ginger, smoothed out by the sweeter Canton. To keep the sweet in balance, I used Hayman’s Old Tom and a bit of sugar, and evened the whole thing out with the acidity of Meyer lemon and the dry, tangy flavor of Aperol. The result has the same sparkling pink color of the original, but with the warm bite of fresh ginger juice and a dry finish.