A recent trip to the San Francisco bar & eatery “Trick Dog” resulted in me drinking a cocktail of their creation called the “Polar Bear.” It was quite lovely while it was cold; however, the second it warmed up, the Mezcal took over and the whole thing became a smokey mess.
So, of course I had a thought: “What if I used Aviation Gin instead of Mezcal?” (I figured I’d name the thing for the Gin and the cocktail I based it on… and yes, their Polar Bear is based on another Polar Bear.)
I also traded the Angelica Tincture for my own Sweet Ginger Tincture. Ginger is much more versatile in my house. It’s pretty easy to make:
Tincture of Sweet Ginger
- 3 tablespoons of Crystalized Ginger
- 1 cup vodka, 80 proof or higher (I used Jewel of Russia to ensure neutrality)
Stick ’em in a blender. Blend well. Pour into a sealable container (like a Mason jar), seal it and stick it in a cool dark place for at least three days.
After letting it rest, strain through a mesh strainer (not a coffee filter; you want some ginger sediment) into dropper bottles.
Done! Store in the refrigerator and shake before each use.
Now, for the cocktail:
The Portland Polar Bear
- 1½ ounces Aviation Gin
- 3/4 ounce Blanc Vermouth (Dolin Blanc is good, Lillet Blanc is nice too)
- 1/2 ounce Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe (or a quality clear crème de menthe)
- 6 drops Tincture of Sweet Ginger
Add ice to a Boston Shaker. Add all ingredients. Shake until your hands feel like they’re going to freeze off.
Strain into an aperitif or cocktail glass and serve ice cold.
The cocktail has an herbal/minty flavor. It’s like cool menthol.
While not as pronounced as the inspiration drink, to me, this cocktail does lose something as it warms towards room temperature. I recommend re-shaking it with ice to cool it back down.