The Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha’s Vineyard is this week’s cocktail excursion. By now you are filled to the brim with turkey and all the fixings. The last thing that you want to do it eat more. All that you know is that food can finally take second fiddle to a nice warming cocktail.
A hot gin toddy perhaps?
Martha’s Vineyard in the fall is a place of shadows and light. The darkness falls earlier in the evening and the morning takes some time to reveal herself. But when the sun shines through the trees and plays itself against the stone walls, this season is most beguiling.
The Polly Hill Arboretum is a small slice of the way things used to be in New England.
These two Modernist chairs shown in the foreground of the title photograph are visually straight forward and offer a striking counterpoint to the strength and character of the rocks behind. (I took this picture with my Leica)
The Polly Hill Cocktail is strong, very strong. It may make you numb. But perhaps this is the reason for this drink, to help you forget. Or perhaps remember. Laced with a large measure of gin, this hot cocktail needs some deeper fortitude in the depth of flavor. Blackberries are my choice of fortitude and the simple syrup from Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont are just perfect to bring gin and hot tea to another level. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a few metered drops of the Hopi Tea Bitters from the Arizona Bitters lab?
Tea meet Tea in a mysterious melange of mystical dreams to reality.
My choice of gin is quite clear. Why not choose something from just up the coast a bit?
Does Maine fit the bill?
New England Distilling from Portland, Maine makes a most intriguing gin named Ingenium that smells a bit like a smoky white whiskey mixed with lemon curd. There is a bit of char in there- along with a lengthy finish that goes on and on. The label states (in-ge-ne-em) n. The Engine of Natural Creativity that Comes from Observation and Imagination. Opening the stout bottle I am struck by a whiff of sea-water tinged air along with the warmth of the 47% alcohol by volume. This is nearly Navy Strength stuff and for good measure.
To make a powerfully numbing cocktail, you need a powerful gin. Ingenium is such a gin.
The Polly Hill Cocktail
A large measure of Ingenium Gin
Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont Blackberry Syrup
Arizona Bitters Lab/Hopi Tea Bitters
Freshly Squeezed lemon juice (for spark)
Heat a pot of Black tea. Lipton works.
Pre-heat a nice handmade stoneware mug with boiling water then toss out the water when mug is sufficiently hot
Add 1 oz. Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont Blackberry Simple Syrup
Add 2 oz. Ingenium Gin (Portland, Maine) or your choice of botanical gin…
Top with dark steeped hot tea
Add a scant tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Finish with six drops of the Hopi Tea Bitters
Have three, then sleep until next week.