We don't often review books on Summit Sips. Sure, there's the occasional mention when we consider it worthwhile or when we give credit for an inspiring recipe, but by and large, when we write about mixology we tend to stick to the mixing and drinking part of the craft and not the reading. That's not to say you shouldn't bother with books. On the contrary—it's important to familiarize yourself with all of the great resources that are available. Just a few weeks ago we broke stride and wrote about the locally authored North Star Cocktails. But of all the books we have collected over the years, it's Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book that is quickly becoming our favorite.
The Leapfrog cocktail was created in the summer of 2007 and in December of 2008 it appeared in the New York Times. Eventually, it found a home in this wonderfully illustrated book alongside an incredible collection of classics and contemporary masterpieces. If we had to choose one book to get someone started down the path of craft cocktail enlightenment it would probably be PDT, and the Leapfrog would be one of the drinks we'd recommend.
Leapfrog by Jim Meehan, PDT
2 oz Plymouth gin
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz apricot brandy
.25 oz simple syrup
6 mint leaves
2 dashes orange bitters
Muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add the other ingredients. Shake with ice to chill. Double strain through a fine mesh strainer into a frosted cocktail glass.
The recipe specifies Plymouth gin, and I suppose that's a good choice. We tried it with Beefeater with fantastic results. The apricot brandy is actually a misnomer. Brandy in this sense means liqueur, and we used Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot as is specified in the book.
Whenever a recipe calls for muddled mint, don't grind away at it with a heavy hand. All that will do is draw out the bitterness. Mint oils will release with minimal abrasion. Sometimes just the weight of the muddler is enough. Besides, the mint will be pulverized by the ice. The result is a light kiss of spearmint in the background of what may be described as an apricot flavored Southside cocktail, but it's more than that. There's something about the combination of apricot and mint that really works nicely. The botanicals of the gin help to enhance the effect which may be more pronounced depending on the gin you use. Plymouth would emphasize more citrus which might help the lemon come through with the orange bitters. It's a fine example of a delicious drink from an amazing book.