I wanted to taste gin, lime juice and tonic water a few weeks ago. But there was a big problem. I am not supposed to be indulging in such cocktails…oh, baby! The next step was finding out how I could taste those same flavors and, in the meantime, squash that craving for good. Enter my attempt at a gin & tonic…without the gin!
The first challenge was finding whole juniper berries! I was determined to travel within a 40 mile radius to track them down..I had no patience to wait for ordering it in the mail! I toasted the juniper berries, coriander and anise seed. I ground up the toasted spices and was ready for the next step.
I added the toasted spices, some lemon and grapefruit zest and a bit of sugar to a pan of water. Boil, simmer for 15 minutes and let the mixture rest for 4 hours at room temperature. Just like that my need for a gin and tonic was met! I am going to play around with this mixture. It is heavy on the juniper flavor so add it to the tonic to taste – some days I go heavier on the juniper infusion and more lime, other days I go easier. It depends on personal preference. Next time I want to use less juniper berry, some cucumber and rose water….can we say ‘Hendricks Mocktail’ time?!
- 3 C. water
- 1/4 C. whole juniper berries
- 1 t. anise seed
- 1/2 t. coriander seed
- 1/2 lemon, peel only
- 1/4 grapefruit, peel only
- 1/2 C. sugar
- In a small pan gently toast the juniper berries, anise and coriander seed until golden brown and fragrant. Grind the spices in a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, or in a ziplock and smash it with a rolling pin.
- To a medium sized pot add the water, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, ground spices and sugar. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Let this mixture rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Strain out the solids and store the juniper infusion in the fridge in a covered glass jar.
- When ready to serve, fill a glass with ice, add a splash of the juniper infusion, tonic and a squeeze of lime! Adjust the juniper amount and add it to taste.