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I experienced my first crush in first grade. His name was Jason, he was the captain of our kickball team and he wore Transformers sneakers. We’ve both moved on since (though to be fair, I’m not sure he even noticed me, much less drafted me for kickball), but that hasn’t stopped me from falling “in crush” with boys, and later, bonbons, ever since!
These days my crushes tend to be of a culinary variety, which is why I’m starting Crush-a-belle, a bi-weekly column on my blog dedicated to all the crush-able nibbles, bites, sips, slurps, gastro-reads, kitchen gadgets and dining experiences my FOOD Maven adventures lead me toward. Think of it as your weekly foodie recommendation straight from my mouth to yours.
So what’s my first crush-worthy treat? Remember Snoop’s iconic Gin & Juice? I’ve got something even more “laid back,” and at $11, it’s a sipable steal sure to keep your mind on your money, and your money in your pocket.
The not too sweet and sour Gin & Jam cocktail from Madam Geneva features your choice of seasonal handmade jams married with Blue Dog gin, served over ice. I’ve tried both the rhubarb & lemongrass preserves, as well as fig & vanilla bean, and let me assure you that upon first sip, in the midst what was a sloppy wet July night in New York City, I was transported to a front porch on a sunny afternoon somewhere in the American South, where I was comfortably seated on a bench swing enjoying a soft breeze, old friends and this charming gin mixture. A crack of thunder slapped me back to my Manhattan reality, where I asked Donal, the bartender who happened upon this cocktail, “How did you come up with such a genius concoction?” To which he replied, in his slight Irish lilt, “I didn’t. My Grandmother came up with it. After mass on Sundays we would go back to her flat for gin and jam.” Hats off to Grandma!
With or without a veranda of your own to set the scene, you can mix this beverage at home by combining premium gin, your favorite summer preserves and a splash of lemon juice. Or if you feel like pounding the pavement, head to NoHo and make your way through Double Crown toward the secret back entrance to Madam Geneva in the restaurant’s rear. On the other side of that hidden door posing as the far wall, a cocktail as crush-able as a Southern Belle awaits. Eat it Up!