Buddha’s Hand & Tonic

Recently Jenny and I visited Oakland and went to the wonderful St. George’s Spirits in Alameda (makers of Hangar One vodka, among other things).  They are located in a hangar on an abandoned naval base and they have a wonderful tasting room and tour.  We ended up buying a number of spirits from them–absinthe, gin, Williams pear brandy, whiskey and the most amazing citron vodka I’ve ever tasted.

The Hangar One “Buddha’s Hand Citron” is phenomenal.  I highly recommend picking some up if you are in the market for some citron vodka.  In case you’re unfamiliar, Buddha’s Hand is an asian fruit that looks like a freaky alien–or hand of a very enlightened dude.  It has a wonderful citrus flavor and the geniuses at St. George’s brilliantly decided to use it in their vodka.  It makes for the best citron vodka I’ve ever had. Theirs isn’t too sweet, too sour or too syrupy.  It’s just right.

The first drink I made with the Buddha’s Hand wasn’t too exciting, but it was refreshing and delicious.  I made a classic Gin & Tonic, with a splash of citron.

A Gin & Tonic made with Hangar One Buddha's Hand Citron

A Gin & Tonic made with Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Citron

Fill a glass with ice, add two ounces gin, one ounce Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Citron and top with tonic water (about three ounces).  Squeeze in some fresh lime to taste.  Enjoy this refreshing beverage on a patio in the sun.


The Aviation

Meet my new favorite cocktail, the Aviation. It’s a classic, but a less common one–perhaps because the ingredient creme de violette is so hard to come by.

The recipe consists of:

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • a dash of creme de violette

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.  I like to use amarena cherries that have been “bourboned.”  If you don’t have creme de violette then elderflower liqueur makes a nice substitute.