Recently, I went to a Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail Academy at The Mandarin Hide and it convinced me that gin is making a comeback. Is it possible that I feel this way because it was a Hendrick’s Gin sponsored event and I am a sucker for grassroots marketing?  This may be the case but, until now, I have never been a gin fan.  My first experience with gin is also my first experience with alcohol. Being a drinking novice, my most convenient access to the forbidden fruit was my grandpa’s liquor cabinet and a bottle of cheap gin.  My clouded memory can vaguely recall making two questionably strong gin & tonics and cringing while gulping them down with a girlfriend.  The drink hasn’t seen my lips since, but I am of the mind that you should try (almost) anything twice!  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed my drinks at the Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail Academy.  The event was held at The Mandarin Hide (downtown St. Petersburg) and was kicked off with gin & tonics and socializing with other eager participants.  We then settled into tables that were set up with all the fresh ingredients, mixing utensils, glasses and of course, Hendrick’s gin.

The mixologist walked us through making three different gin cocktails (recipes below).   My favorite was the Cucumber & Blood Orange Cooler.  The drink was a light and tangy combination of gin, orange liqueur, sparking water and a squeeze of lemon.  I usually love any drink with sparkling water because of the light fizz is not as overpowering as other sodas but makes the drink seem more dressed than simple water.  Although the Cucumber & Blood Orange Cooler was my first choice, the Tenured Punch is such a great option for a variety of occasions.   It was so tasty and versatile.  I can see this punch being a hit at a holiday party but also being a fun and creative options at an all-day outdoor event.

Headed into the fall I am going to add gin to my cocktail playbook.  What are your favorite gin drinks?

~ JD and the uDream Events team