Drinks consultant Alex Ott approaches mixology as both a scenester and a scientist. Between gigs for the Book Bindery bistro, in Seattle; the nightclub Zanzibar, in Los Angeles; and his own upcoming lounge, Featherplane, in Brooklyn, he engineers flavors for NASA's astronaut rations and is the spokesman for New Amsterdam gin, an easy-drinking booze that's made for experimentation. For us, he took a smart seasonal pairing (apples and ginger) and applied a surefire formula (sweet + sour + fizzy) for a drink that can be tweaked based on the night's menu and the contents of your liquor cabinet.
- 1 bottle gin, preferably New Amsterdam
- 2 liters apple cider
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 2 liters ginger ale, preferably Blenheim or Fever Tree
- 20 apple slices
- 20 pieces of candied ginger
Combine the first five ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir, then refrigerate for at least three hours (and up to two days). Add chilled ginger ale and pour into glass mugs over large ice cubes. Garnish with skewered apple slices and candied ginger. Makes 20 drinks.
• Swap in bourbon, brandy, or aged rum for gin.
• Use a sweetener like honey or agave nectar in place of simple syrup.
• Replace ginger ale with ginger beer or sparkling wine.
• Punch up the heat with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper instead of ginger.