The first in a series of ultimate smack downs between things from Brooklyn and things from Texas (duh). First up: liquor!
Full disclaimer: we realize that Absolut Texas is not from Texas. It's not Tito's, and it's definitely not Deep Eddy's glorious grapefruit vodka. But we've had Tito's and Deep Eddy, and seeing this on the shelf was new to us. And it's a greater challenge to determine whether or not the Swedish brand's homage to our home state really got it right with their Serrano chili and cucumber vodka.
The competition is from right around the corner from us: Greenhook Ginsmiths. It's hard to get more local than your neighborhood distillery, and it's even harder to say no to a gorgeous bottle of gin with the Chrysler building smack in the middle of its logo!
We're not the kind of people who use cocktail shakers — we're more of the slosh it in, stir it up, and hope there's enough ice in the glass (a lot). We chose a Basil and Grapefruit (Texas' state fruit, ironically) Spritzer to test Greenhook Gin out. To test Absolut Texas, we whipped up a Lime and Agave Cocktail.
The Basil Grapefruit Spritzer was perfectly light and crisp. It felt like a perfect go-to spring drink: a little sweet, a little girly, not overly citrusy. The gin blended right in with our Marsh White Grapefruit juice, and the basil leaves made it feel very fresh. We thought we had a winner for sure . . . until we tried the Absolut Texas. The cocktail was much more complex and was seriously delicious with just enough spice after you swallow to taste different but not overwhelming. The vodka's cucumber flavor definitely shined through, tempering the jalapeno and serrano flavors without making the cocktail taste like spa water. This was definitely a heavier cocktail, but still a great spring drink, like a slightly sweeter, lighter margarita — just make sure it's very cold!
Winner: It was a close call, but we had to agree on TEXAS! Even our friend from Maine agreed wholeheartedly. The Brooklyn was good, but who doesn't like grapefruit? The Texas drink was much more complex and interesting.
Lime and Honey Cocktail
- 2 oz. Absolut Texas vodka
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. agave syrup
- 1 slice fresh jalapeño
- pinch of salt
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and shake with ice. Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of lime or cucumber and jalapeño.
Basil and Grapefruit Spritzer (inspired by Quinciple)
- 6-8 leaves of fresh basil
- 1/2 juiced grapefruit
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 oz. gin
Mix the honey with a tablespoon of very hot water and stir until dissolved. Let cool for a few minutes. Combine the grapefruit juice, 4 basil leaves, the honey syrup and gin in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until very cold. Strain into two glasses filled with ice. Top off with seltzer and garnish each glass with a sprig of basil.