Summer’s Last Hurrah
1.25 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
0.75 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
0.75 oz Plum Thyme Syrup
0.25 oz lemon juice
1/2 tsp Campari
Shake and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
It’s 7:55 pm and it’s already dark. The last two peaches I ate were mealy. Yep. There’s no denying it. Summer is on its way out. But that doesn’t mean I’m craving brown liquor quite yet. I still have a couple weeks of summer cocktails left in me.
Last weekend I found a tasty looking pint of plums at the farmer’s market, so I brought them home to develop a new recipe. Thinking of the delicious Santa Rosa Plum & Flowering Thyme jam I picked up at Sqirl in LA (SO good!), I decide to make a plum and thyme simple syrup. I want to limit the sweetness, so I make a light syrup by pitting 1/2 pound of plums and placing them in a medium saucepan with 1/4 ounce of thyme sprigs from my garden, a cup of water and 1/2 a cup of sugar. As I bring the pot to a simmer, I mash the plums with a potato masher to release their juices. Once they’ve simmered for 15 minutes, I take them off the heat, let them cool for 20 minutes, then strain the syrup into a bowl, pressing all of the liquids out and scraping the fine solids off the bottom of the strainer.
My first attempt is a take on a Corpse Reviver No. 2, substituting Peychaud’s Bitters for the Absinthe and plum syrup for Cointreau. The result is pleasant and highly drinkable, but the fruitiness of the Lillet Blanc is stealing a bit of the plum’s glory.
For take two, I start with 1.25 ounces of Bombay Sapphire, use 3/4 ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth instead of the Lillet Blanc, 1/2 teaspoon of Campari instead of Peychaud’s, 3/4 ounce of plum thyme syrup and 1/4 ounce lemon juice. The switch to vermouth allows the plum and thyme to shine and tempers the sweetness of the drink, but it still has the fresh, lively feel of a summer cocktail.
So, when you get home tonight, shake up a cocktail, kick back on your front porch and toast the last of the whirring cicadas, but don’t be surprised if you hear geese honking in the distance.