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Hailing from Portland, Oregon (or Portlandia, as it’s known to millennials), Bathtub Gin (132 Ninth Avenue; 646-559-1671) bar manager Jeffrey Dillon became accustomed to seeing some pretty exciting drinks coming out from behind the bar. However, when one hears the call for a gin cocktail to make at the drop of a hat, Dillon recommends a holland swizzle.
A mojito at its core, the drink plays off gin instead of rum — an easy switch that allows the barman to display the beauty of his trade. “I’m not tailoring a suit. I enjoy that rapid-fire creativity,” Dillon explains. Although many guests are accustomed to London dry gin (which is typically herb-heavy), Dillon opts for one from a Dutch distillery, Nolet’s, that can stand up to the distinct flavor of fresh mint.
The spirit’s tasting notes include white peach and raspberry, among other floral scents, which in Dillon’s view makes it more approachable for those with preconceived notions about gin sipped on its own. “You have these cocktails that are made around appreciating the profile of the spirit; the majority of that is gin. You’re really making it about the gin you’re using. If you go back to the 1980s, you wouldn’t find a bar that had 33 gins,” Dillon notes.
Another important component to the drink: using crushed or pebbled ice to fill the glass. Dillon believes that using a big aromatic herb like mint in a cocktail requires a cold glass. Crushed ice chills a drink extremely quickly — those making the drink at home or ordering one at the bar should pay attention to the type of ice used, as the drink will become diluted if you’re caught up in conversation.
Dillon also recommends using a simple syrup comprising two parts sugar and one part water for a sweeter taste and fuller texture. Attaboy and Mother’s Ruin are two places Dillon loves to drop in to on occasion, but for those in need of a summer cocktail right this instant, try Dillon’s recipe:
Holland Swizzle by Jeffrey Dillon
2 ounces Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
Put gin, syrup, and lime juice in a collins glass and muddle gently. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Top off with soda and garnish with mint.