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Tasty Tuesday - G&T with a Dash of Espresso

Shahen Naidoo

Have you ever met someone by chance and felt that only good things can come from this? That's how I felt when I ran into the founders of Charcoal and Smith Artisan Distilling Company this weekend. Wally Pelser and Barry Schoeman had so much in common with the Coffee Notes story, when they decided to live out their passion and start artisan distillery two years ago.

When it comes to gin, there are die hard fans, those that can't stand the stuff, and a few who are just indifferent. I fall into the last category, and would drink the odd G&T. It's never been my go to drink, but I never turn down the chance to try out an artisanal drink. Wally offered me a taste of their Miss Madison, and even before that first expectant sip, I got a delicate bouquet of rose and floral notes - I knew that this was going to be a hit. The sweet aroma of Turkish delight as the liquid glided over my palate enhanced the fruity berry notes. What a feeling. I had to have another sip!

But this is a coffee blog, and what does all of this have to do with coffee? The first thing that came to mind as I sipped on the gin was how well this gin would work in a cocktail with the Ethiopian Etude. Gin and tonic is a timeless classic, but add a dash of just the right coffee to that, and you take that classic drink to a whole new level.

So to welcome back the Tasty Tuesday blog, I had to experiment with a twist on the classic G&T by adding a dash of chilled espresso. I expected the floral aromas in the Ethiopian Etude to make perfect companion to the Miss Madison, and the hints of tea-rose in the coffee to bring out the floral palate of the gin. What I didn't expect was how the gin transformed what should have been quite a full bodied coffee into a fresh light summer drink.

Try this at home. I'm sure that you are going to come across hundreds of cocktail recipes with gin and coffee, but I have not come across a better combination of gin and coffee as the Miss Madison and the Ethiopian Etude.

You're going to need lots of ice, a shot of the Miss Madison, tonic water and a cooled espresso extracted from the Ethiopian Etude. Pour out your G&T over ice as you usually would, and carefully layer half of the espresso over the top. Don't use the entire espresso shot. This is a bold full bodied coffee, and you don't want it overpowering the drink. Experiment with the amount of coffee.

I tried this with an espresso and also with a cold brew made from the Ethiopian Etude. The drink with the espresso was a bold and bossy cocktail, tamed by the finesse of the gin. There was however no doubting that the coffee wanted to take charge in that drink. In contrast, the cold brew was much more delicate and the sweetness of the drink came through in the aroma and on the palate.

I haven't come up with a name for this drink, so do reply in the comments with your suggestions. There may just be a surprise in store for you to reward your creativity.

If you try this or any variant of this recipe, I'd love to know how it turned out for you. Reply in the comments, and let me know.


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