The Swizzle is an interesting category of drinks: unlike most others, it adheres more to a style of presentation than it does to ingredients. Swizzles, by definition, are made in tall glasses over crushed or pebble ice and stirred back and forth, or “swizzled,” with a long-stemmed bar spoon or similar tool known as a swizzle stick. Bartender McLain Hedges created the Federal Ave. Swizzle at the now-closed RiNo Yacht Club in Denver, Colorado. With a bevy of odd ingredients and a complicated, labor-intensive syrup, it’s not one for the casual home bartender. While its base is gin, it combines a variety of different ingredients, yielding a drink that’s both refreshing and memorable.
The first step in crafting the Federal Ave. Swizzle is to make the spiced syrup. This large-volume syrup is intended for batching at bars and is difficult to convert to a smaller volume. It’s best to make it for dinner parties and other kinds of get togethers so that you won’t be stuck with a quart of it. Zesty, herbaceous and slightly peppery, it is a unique and flavorful syrup, so feel free to try it in other drinks, like a Tom Collins or Gimlet, to see if it fits.
The base spirit for the swizzle is Fords Gin, a London dry gin specifically designed for cocktail bartenders. It also sees equal parts of sake and coconut water, making it bright, refreshing and with a silky mouthfeel. Turmeric juice (which cannot be substituted by powdered turmeric) adds a warm but subtle pepperiness, as well as a touch of gold color.
- 1 ounce Fords Gin
- 1 ounce sake
- 1 ounce coconut water
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce turmeric juice
- 3/4 ounce spiced syrup*
- Garnish: mint sprig
- Garnish: lime twist
Add the Fords gin, sake, coconut water, lime juice, turmeric juice and spiced syrup into a highball glass, fill the glass halfway with crushed ice, and swizzle for 10 seconds.
Top with more crushed ice.
Garnish with a mint sprig and lime twist.
*Spiced syrup: Stir together 1 quart of water, 1 quart of sugar, 1 chopped 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, 2 makrut lime leaves, 1 teaspoon rosewater, 10 Korean chili threads, 6 cracked cardamom pods, 2 cracked lemongrass stalks and 10 mint leaves in a pot over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and steep for 1 hour. Chill the syrup, then strain through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to two weeks.