Cocktails with Medicinal Roots

A toast to your health  [via Mother Nature Network]

Although tonics and bitters made of herbal extracts, spices and the bark of exotic trees have faded from pharmacy shelves as elixirs, they live on in cocktails, grandfathered into drinks in splashes and dashes to create some of the most memorable and enduring cocktails imaginable. Here are recipes for six cocktails with medicinal roots.

 

 Gin and Tonic

Quinine-based tonics helped the Brits build an empire by warding off malaria in the sweltering topics. Sipped over ice, the classic gin cocktail has a spiky edge to it.

Prep time: 5 minutes  | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tray ice
  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 3 ounces tonic water, or to taste, preferably Schweppes
  • 2 wedges fresh lime

Directions:
Fill an old-fashioned glass halfway with ice. Add gin. Top with tonic water. Rim the glass with a lime wedge and squeeze a few drops of lime into the glass. Stir lightly. Add a fresh piece of lime as garnish.

 

Pink Gin

Purists note that traditional pink gin calls for gin and bitters and that’s it. Bitters contain all manner of herbal exotica dissolved in alcohol, and were used traditionally to settle the stomach.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tray ice
  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Directions:
Fill a small sealable glass jar with ice. Add gin, Cointreau, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. Seal and shake well. Pour into a short glass filled with ice.

 

Dark and Stormy 

The national drink of the tiny island nation of Bermuda, the dark and stormy is more like air conditioning for the taste buds, both sparkly and light. Adding candied ginger gives the cocktail an extra bounce, and like bitters, is known to settle the stomach.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 tray ice cubes
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounces Reed’s Ginger Brew
  • 1 wedge lime, optional garnish

Directions:
Place candied ginger in the bottom of a well glass. Fill glass nearly to the rim with ice cubes. Pour bitters and rum onto ice. Add lime juice. Gently stir and top with ginger beer.

 

Horse’s Neck

Named for the spiraling lemon peel garnish resembling a horse’s neck, this concoction is a refreshing combination of bourbon, bitters and ginger ale.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4-5 ounces ginger ale

Directions:
Using a potato peeler, remove lemon peel in one continuous motion. Drape peel over rim of a tall glass. Fill glass nearly to the rim with ice. Add bourbon and bitters. Gently stir and top with ginger ale to taste.

 

Champagne Cocktail

A great way to serve champagne on a budget, and the minor additions round out the flavor. The more you sip the more you’ll like it.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 4-5 ounces low- to mid-priced champagne
  • 1 lemon peel, optional garnish

Directions:
Add sugar cube to the bottom of a fluted glass. Add bitters. Pour champagne and lemon peel.

 

Old-Fashioned

As the name implies, Old-Fashioned cocktails have stood the test of time. The original cocktail called for water, sugar, bitters and spirits — that’s all. The simplicity of the drink allows you to mix and match.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 5 minutes | Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tray ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine syrup or 1 cube sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 ounces club soda, or to taste
  • 1 orange peel

Directions:
Combine the bourbon, syrup and bitters in a sealable glass container filled with ice.  Shake and strain into a short glass with filled with ice. Top with club soda.

[via mother nature network]