Thomas D. Williams
The noble herbs make for some of the best mixers for refined, original cocktails. If you are thinking that your herb garden should start contributing to your cocktail repertoire as well as your cuisine, the Sage Coach may just be the drink for you. With all the subtlety and earthiness characteristic of sage, this cocktail will excite your palate and intrigue your creative spirit.
I developed this potion as an off-shoot of the basil gimlet, with some very important alterations. While still gin-based, the Sage Coach swaps lemon juice for lime to take advantage of the lemon and eucalyptus notes present in sage. I also used the the layered Crocodile Gin del Professore (fast becoming one of my favorite gins) to add even further complexity to this quaff. This is not to say it cannot be made with a more straightforward gin, but it will always benefit from the Crocodile's bite.
In many ways, however, this drink is just the umpteenth version of the classic sour, combining gin, fresh lemon juice, and a sweetener (I use agave nectar but simple syrup or even honey could work as well). The addition of the sage leaves, however, bestow on the cocktail its defining identity.
Some recommend preparing a sage-infused simple syrup for the creation of sage-based cocktails, but I find that an especially vigorous agitation of the cocktail shaker is sufficient to coax out the desired flavor from the sage leaves. You may pass the resulting elixir through a sieve to strain out the small pieces of sage leaf or simply leave them (as I do) to continue their infusing while in the glass.
I hope that this new drink adds a further herbal note to your cocktail repertoire, providing you with yet another fun and original concoction for an evening of subtlety and sophistication.
- 3 parts gin (best not pre-chilled)
- 3/4 part fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 part agave nectar (or to taste -- I prefer mine none too sweet)
- four sage leaves
Place the ingredients over abundant ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds to fully dissolve the agave nectar and muddle the sage leaves. Strain into a martini glass, passing through a sieve if desired to remove the remains of the leaves.
Garnish with sage leaf.