When sipping a Kew Garden cocktail, the botanical reference in its name suddenly becomes obvious. Not only is it inspiring to discover its ties to a beloved, historical London garden, but you'll also feel as if those gardens are actually in your glass. Obviously, they're not, as nobody would dare pluck nature's beauties from their peaceful home within the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew. Nonetheless, this perky, refreshing cocktail offers valid floral-fueled options for mojito lovers.
Mint leaves and lime juice feature in the Kew Garden cocktail just as they do in a classic mojito. But bartender Jim Meehan, creator of the Kew Garden drink, had way more in mind for his incarnation of summer-in-a-glass. Prominent flavors in Meehan's concoction come from the intensely sweet and floral St-Germain elderflower liqueur, as well as from a distinct white rum called Banks 5-Island. In fact, Meehan reportedly released his Kew Garden cocktail in celebration of Banks 5-Island's debut in 2010. And the rum carries its own historical nods to the Royal Kew Garden.
As it turns out, Banks 5-Island rum gets part of its name from renowned British botanist Joseph Banks, who became a conceptual curator of the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, in the late 1700s under advisement to King George III. Despite these nods to royalty and refinement, the Kew Garden cocktail is far from a highfalutin drink served only in posh bars and lounges. It is, after all, a fun rum-sipper with floral, citric, savory, cool cucumber, and fresh minty flavors.
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A Refreshing Combination Of Rum, Floral Liqueur, And Cucumbers
Mint and lime get star status in both mojitos and Kew Garden cocktails, but another garden-fresh ingredient carves a path through only one of them. The expression "cool as a cucumber" comes alive in the Kew Garden drink. When peeled, sliced, and muddled with simple syrup and mint leaves, the cucumber permeates the mixture, providing a base for the mint to shine, while tempering the tart lime juice.
Two power-packed spirits, the rum and the flowery liqueur, infuse this cocktail with subtle complexity and depth amidst the otherwise lighthearted minty character of drinks like the mojito and mint julep. St-Germain is a French liqueur made from fresh, hand-picked, white elderflowers, with each bottle containing as many as 1,000 spring blossoms. It's the most pronounced floral flavor in a Kew Garden cocktail. The name comes from St-Germain-des-Prés, a cultural enclave in Paris renowned as a gathering spot for artists and literary figures during "the beautiful era" from 1871 to 1914.
Then there's the rum. Banks 5-Island honors Britain's famous botanist of yesteryear, but the second part of the moniker nods to the five islands that distill the rums: Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, and Java. Banks 5-Island is not a single-origin spirit but a blend of 21 different rums from those islands. As you can imagine, the blended flavors range from tropical to earthy, spicy, zesty, and aromatic, and even include some warm brown sugar notes. Lastly, its notable lime flavor makes it a perfect inclusion for Kew Garden cocktails.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.