This week, after waiting since, oh, the 1980s, I FINALLY got to see my favourite band from childhood, Guns N Roses. Were they as good as they used to be? I don’t know – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – but they played some of my very favourite songs and everyone had a great night, so who cares? That’s fine in My World. And so, to celebrate, I thought I’d make a cocktail in their honour. But what to call it? Sweet Child O’ Wine? Catcher in the Rye Whiskey? Mama Gin? (OK, OK – Mama Kin is not strictly one of their songs, it’s a cover. Don’t put me Right Next Door to Hell for that.) I decided Anything Goes and that the drink should just be named after the band – and so I attempted to make something reflecting the moniker-Slash-pun Gins N Roses. Yep, you might be thinking ‘You’re Crazy’, but You Ain’t the First. And it’s not like I’ve been fertilising my imagination in the cold November Rain – I’ve just been greasing the Axls on the old pun wheels. (If all this reading is making you Dizzy with thirst, grab a Duff… but don’t get too Adler’d. Someone has to be across this post, after all. Stradlin’ it, in fact… )
All of this just goes to show It’s So Easy to have an Appetite for Distraction – I really hope you’re not Out ta Get Me as this Double Talkin’ Jive fills the space that should be filled with a cocktail recipe. It’s just that, well, it turns out I’m better at working song titles into a sentence than I am at inventing cocktails. Don’t Damn Me.
I’ll stop beating this Dead Horse – here’s my attempt at a cocktail intended to reflect the band. I wanted something so hard-hitting (like their music) that it could Get in the Ring, be as bitter as an Estranged band member and still feature notes of roses So Fine they could look Pretty Tied Up.
GINS N ROSES I
60ml Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin
30ml honey syrup (made by dissolving 10ml honey in 20ml boiling water)
15ml lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rosewater (to taste)
Add all ingredients except tonic to a mixing glass that’s half-full of ice. Stir really well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add a dash of tonic.
If this tastes too much like grandma’s scented drawer-liners (ie if you find the rosewater overpowering), dump the whole lot into a chilled tumbler that’s half-full of ice, add tonic and you’ve got a fancy G&T. It’s not a One in a Million cocktail, but it does taste like something Nice Boys would drink.
It’s not by My (friend) Michelle – it’s by the 52 Cocktails crew.
And you know what? It’s not great. But if you didn’t like it, Don’t Cry – there’s another version of the Gins N Roses just below, and it just might make you think you’re in Paradise City. Ain’t it Fun experimenting?
I confess, I’m not a massive fan of the Gins N Roses I. But back in the ’90s the band released two albums on the same day, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. So surely I should get two goes at getting the cocktail right – all I need is just a little Patience. (I’ve been working the bar at night, just trying to get it right…) It’s not a Bad Obsession – I just don’t want this idea to become Dust N Bones. And so, here we have the next version:
GINS N ROSES II
60ml Tanqueray gin
30ml lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
3 good shakes Angostura Bitters
2 shakes Bar Keep Chinese Bitters
soda, to top
Old-fashioned or tumbler, rimmed with Angostura sugar. (To make this, simply add enough bitters to white sugar to turn the sugar pink. There’s more info on it here.)
Add all ingredients except the soda to a cocktail shaker that’s half-full of ice. Shake it hard – Rocket, Queen! – and then pour everything, including the ice, into the tumbler. Top with soda and a few more dashes of each of the bitters.
This is a rough variation on a Fitzgerald (which is a Dale DeGroff creation) that was devised by the 52 Cocktails crew. The ‘pink rocks’ (Angostura sugar) pay homage to the band’s, er, lifestyle, while the refreshing, moreish concoction is just the Welcome to the Jungle I was looking for.