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Amuse Booze - as Seen on Sunday Brunch

Written by Gin Foundry

Deliberately small, as the name suggests Amuse Booze drinks are designed to be quick sippers and not a full drink. They are carefully crafted aperitifs, digestifs and palate cleansers, as well as just a moment of pure indulgence.

As they are served small, Amuse Booze drinks are not that boozy either, offering just enough to loosen up and relax without having to worry about the inevitable next day fate of mixing drinks over an evening.

Most importantly, they are designed to be pre-batched and kept in the fridge for between a fortnight to a month, ready for an impromptu moment. As such, they do not contain fresh citrus or perishables. They are low faff drinks, make ahead drinks designed to serve at social occasions. They flourish as a moment of spectacle and act as conversation starters (or changers!) and as a point of difference compared to serving a cocktail or the same old bubbly reception drinks.

With full disclosure, they are not an accepted drinks variety. The cocktail books of yore do not read: Slings, Punches, Flips and Amuse Boozes. They were a concept that evolved from the Ginvent Calendar, where we wondered if it was possible to apply the same concept of short gin tasters to a social occasion.

While we love a neat gin from the freezer, especially when selected to pair with food. The idea of creative shorts really appealed to the mad scientist in us, thus the Amuse Booze was born. In the years since, it has become a staple of Ginvent season – drinks that are deliberately designed to be only 40 – 50ml, intense and creatively inspired to harness a gin’s profile in order to create a talking point.

We’ve listed three that embody what the concept is all about, along with recipes so that you can recreate them at home. Please note, the point of adding water is so that you don’t have to stir or shake them (as this creates the dilution that mixing usually brings).

Swiss Army Knife – using Nginious Smoked & Salted

To make 5 serves:
200ml Gin
50ml Calvados
100ml Maple syrup
100ml Cold infused Lapsang tea

Once combined in a bottle, place in the fridge and serve neat.

Ideal to serve alongside cheese dishes or mince pies, this Amuse Booze plays off the smoky nature of the gin (because of the Roasted Chestnuts used in distilation) and combines it with the bright, lively, aromatic nature of Calvados. Meanwhile the Maple adds to the depth of the drink making it sweet enough to sip and ideal to work as a food pairing.

Gin’terlude - using Slingsby Gin

To make 5 serves:
100ml Gin
60ml Cranberry, rosemary and lemon thyme infused sugar syrup
60ml Vermouth Rosé
30ml Filtered Water

Once combined in a bottle, place in the fridge to chill and serve neat. Garnish with a citrus zest to taste.

With the flavour of the berries in the vermouth accentuated by the cranberry infusion, the rosemary and lemon thyme balance out the drink and compliment the herbal elements of the gin. This is an easy sipper that’s ideal as an interlude between a starter and a roast dinner as the gin and vermouth are interesting enough to have character, but the overall feel is one of a palate cleanser.

Brothers’ Gin - using Napue Gin

To make 5 serves:
300ml Gin
100ml Elderberry Syrup
100ml Clove and cinnamon infused Port
80ml Filtered Water

Once combined in a bottle, place in the fridge and serve neat.

A whimsical take on the story of Hansel & Gretel, this is a short designed to be indulgent, with a deep woody undertone that lingers long after. With warming spice infused in the port and rich elderberry, there is an enduring yuletide feeling, yet the gin cuts the drink back to not be too cloying. Perfect for after dinner or as an alternative to Sloe Gin.