Fresh lemon verbena leaves from the restaurant’s own herb garden are the secret to the gin dreamed up by Paul Sanguinetti while he was at Ray’s and Stark Bar, the stylish restaurant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
It starts with a combination of a Polish potato vodka and a premium organic vodka from Croatia, each adding its own characteristics to the spirit. A hefty scoop of juniper berries lends a heavy touch of gin’s signature pine flavor, and the peels from half a dozen citrus fruits provide brightness.
It’s the more subtle notes that make this unique vodka really stand out. Caraway, a botanical generally found in aquavit but less so in gin, adds rye’s spicy notes, and star anise lends a licorice-like touch. Finally, the lemon verbena gives the finished product a gentle vegetal note that’s best highlighted in a simple Gin & Tonic.
- 1/2 liter Luksusowa vodka
- 1/2 liter Akvinta vodka
- 1/2 cup juniper berries
- Peels of 2 grapefruits
- Peels of 2 lemons
- Peels of 2 oranges
- 5 large (or 10 small) lemon verbena leaves
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 2 whole star anise pods
Add both vodkas into a large jar or other glass container. Add the juniper berries, citrus peels, lemon verbena leaves, caraway seeds and star anise pods.
Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
Pour through a coarse strainer and discard the solids. Then pour through a funnel lined with cheesecloth into a one-liter bottle.