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Monday, September 22, 2014

9 Baton Rouge Gin Cocktails: An Uber Quest for Greatness

When the combination of sensational juniper berries, exotic limes, and the science of botanicals converge, an illustrious elixir is born. Gin, while herbal and refreshing, is the unsung hero of go-to liquors. If you have had a lover's quarrel with gin in the past, all you have to do is put down the New Amsterdam and look higher on the shelf. Gin holds the key that unlocks everything you'd want in a summer cocktail. Team Bite and Booze embarked on a quest to search for some of the best gin cocktails in Baton Rouge. With Uber in one hand and hope in the other, we set out on a gin journey. We indulged in delightful drinks, friendly conversation, and Uber, so as to not put ourselves behind the wheel, at our beckoning call. After many hours of chasing gin and daylight, here are nice cocktails that we found:



Bistro Byronz Cucumber Coupe
Bistro Byronz Cucumber Coupe





Bistro Byronz: 5412 Government St.

While Bistro Byronz may be better known for its vodka freezes and frozen mimosas, I found that their Cucumber Coupe made quite a splash. Muddled cucumber ribbons combined with Hendrick's (cucumber's favorite gin) and florally delicious St. Germain hit the spot. You could say it's as cool as a cucumber if it weren't rimmed with chili salt. The Cucumber Coupe is a fantastically bold drink for a warm Louisiana night.



Beausoleil Gin & Tonic
Beausoleil Gin & Tonic











Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar: 7731 Jefferson Hwy.

The Beausoleil Gin and Tonic shakes up the classic mixed drink using Ford's Gin and Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic. Ford's gin has a strong note of juniper oil with a lingering taste of grapefruit rind and angelica roots. Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic is intensely tart up front, but when combined with the gin evens out for a citrusy/sweet sip.




Blend's Pimm's Cup
Blend's Pimm's Cup








Blend: 304 Laurel St. #1B

The Pimm's Cup is a well known cocktail in the South. Pimm's, which is born in London, has made a large name for itself in New Orleans. A gin based liqueur infused with orange and an intricate blend of spices, Pimm's is a go-to for refreshment given they typical flavor pairing with cucumber. Blend combines Pimm's with Hendrick's and St. Germain with fresh strawberries, blackberries and cucumber that gave me a second wind along our journey.








The Clover Club and The Cove
The Clover Club and The Cove





The Cove: 2561 Citiplace Ct.

When you belly up to the cocktail bar at The Cove you can expect a wonderfully crafted cocktail and perhaps a history lesson. Each cocktail on their menu has a story and if you don't get the chance to hear the tale, they have an abridged version printed in the menu. While I won't go into the history of the Clover Club, I will tell you about its deliciousness. Simply composed with gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and an egg white, the Clover Club is like a puppy. It's fluffy, sweet, and I wouldn't mind being around one all day.





George Krause and the Alkonost
George Krause and the Alkonost








Doe's Eat Place: 3723 Government St.

Doe's creates two things really well (but don't order anything well done!): steak and drinks. George Krause, executive chef and bartender extraordinaire, can make any drink you can imagine despite having a smaller inventory of booze at this disposal. For our gin journey purposes, Mr. Krause whipped up an Alkonost. An Alkonost may be a mythological bird creature of sorts, but the drink has nothing out of the ordinary in the recipe. Gin with a large orange influence by way of peel, bitters, and curaƧao, and a splash of vermouth forms an interesting, but totally sip-worthy Krause classic.




Olive or Twist's Blueberry Hill
Olive or Twist's Blueberry Hill




Olive or Twist: 7248 Perkins Rd.

If you haven't made your way over to Olive or Twist at this point, I don't know where your priorities are. Easily one of the best cocktail bars in Baton Rouge right now, Olive or Twist specializes in hand-crafted cocktails. Every drink they create is on point, so it's hard for me to decide. I let my Chief Confusion Coordinator pick this one out and it did not disappoint. The Blueberry Hill combines blueberries and mint, fiercely muddled together, with mint liqueur and navy strength gin to form a fruity, herbal, and outright scrumptious beverage.




The Pelican House's French 75
The Pelican House's French 75








The Pelican House: 2572 Citiplace Ct.

Home to over 100 draft beers, The Pelican House serves a wide range of customers with whiskey and cocktails as well. Where do they fit along the gin journey? We walked over from The Cove to try their French 75. The famous cocktail composed of gin, lemon juice, a little simple syrup, and champagne can never go wrong. French 75s are great for gin skeptics because the botanicals are dulled only slightly by the tartness of lemon and bubbly of champagne. Light on the palate but decent in ABV, the French 75 is a great cocktail to try on your next night out.



Radio Bar's Bandita Roja
Radio Bar's Bandita Roja







Radio Bar: 3079 Government St.

A neighborhood bar tucked away on the Government Street hustle, Radio Bar is slinging affordable cocktails in a cool kid atmosphere. Their Bandita Roja paints the town red with a succulent hibiscus liqueur and brightens things up with the macerated citrus peel flavors in Lillet Blanc. The Bandita Roja boasts bold flavors that say, "I was here for a good time, but now I'm ready to party."









Red Star's 3rd Street Cannon
Red Star's 3rd Street Cannon







Red Star: 222 Laurel St.

Our visit to Red Star was my first time back since it came back from a brief hiatus. It's back, and it's popping. I ordered the 3rd Street Cannon which reminded me of a not-so-sweet cherry limeade in a good way. Muddled limes married with Luxardo cherry liqueur, St. Germain, and London dry gin left me wanting more. You can get it on the rocks or up. Both are tasty, but drinking it up allows for all of the flavors to stand up taller.