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To develop the perfect recipe for his Gingerbread Man cocktail, Jim Meehan, the owner of PDT in New York's East Village, decided to go straight to the source. Unable to catch him, Meehan looked up a gingerbread cookie recipe instead. "The recipe calls for ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, sugar, egg, molasses, and ginger" says Meehan, who turned to The King's Ginger, a deep and flavorful Scotch-based ginger liqueur to express the latter.
Originally formulated in 1903 to keep King Edward VII of Holland feeling invigorated during morning carriage rides (and revamped in 2011), The King's Ginger is rich, zesty and potent (48% ABV). Macerated ginger root and lemon oil make the liqueur a perfect match for Banks 7 Islands Rum. (Meehan serves as an adviser of Banks, and helped develop this complex blended rum.)
Half an ounce of molasses punches through, and a bit of pimento (Jamaican for allspice) bitters drives home the lively baking spice quality of the ginger liqueur. One egg white lends the drink—whose overall mouthfeel is surprisingly light—a nice layer of silky froth.
Achieving said silkiness requires giving the cocktail's components a dry shake before shaking with ice. "It whips the eggs a little bit," explains PDT's head bartender, Jeff Bell. Bell fine strains the drink into a coupe glass. "I like the texture. It keeps the bubbles small. Plus it's more visually appealing that way, and when a drink looks better, it tastes better, too."
A bit of grated cinnamon on top, and this treat is complete. The resulting Gingerbread Man is spicy, fragrant, and joyously drinkable without being too sweet.
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About the author: Jaclyn Einis is a Boston-bred, Brooklyn-based writer. No matter where she wanders, it always comes back to food and drink. It's been that way since the day she was born (some got pilgrim hats; she was a turkey baby). You can find her cleaning plates here.
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