Cocktail of the Week #10: Freeside

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

If the above quote sounds familiar, then you’ve probably read William Gibson’s Neuromancer, or at least tried to (it’s the first line of the novel). And if you haven’t heard of William Gibson, you might just be familiar with the cocktail of a similar name, the Gibson. Figure out where I’m going with this yet?

This week’s Cocktail of the Week is one you’ve never seen in any bar, book or menu across the world. I can say this with certainty because I created this cocktail — The Freeside — myself, just a few weeks ago.

The Freeside is a Gibson variation that’s also an homage to William Gibson himself.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • 1 sprig dill, muddled
  • 2 slices kirby cucumber, muddled
  • 1 lemon peel, muddled
  • 12 drops Caramelized Ramp Bitters (from Bitters, Old Men)
  • 1 sprig dill, for garnish

Muddle the dill, cucumber and lemon peel in a mixing glass with the Dolin Blanc and Bitters, Old Men Caramelized Ramp Bitters. Add gin and stir with ice, fine-straining into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a smacked dill sprig.

The Freeside swaps out the Gibson’s Dry Vermouth for Dolin Blanc, and replaces the Pickled Onion with muddled dill, cucumber, lemon peel and caramelized ramp bitters. Dill was chosen due to its resemblance to a data tree, an integral computer science data structure and invoking (William) Gibson themeswhile kirby cucumbers were used for having a similar shape as the Freeside space resort in Neuromancer.

The result is a fragrant, savory cocktail with a stiff backbone of gin.

But really, the lesson here is how to approach making your own cocktails. While you could just start dumping spirits in a glass,  I’d recommend first taking a drink you really like and looking at its base components, particularly their flavor profile and their ABV. Then try swapping one of those base components out with something else. Vodka to Gin, Sweet Vermouth for Maurin Quina, Angostura Bitters for Orange Bitters; that sort of thing.

If you’re stumped for what direction to go in, consider the inspiration in the world around you. For me, it was thinking about how little representation sci-fi has in the cocktail world. Maybe for you it’s coming up with a cocktail to capture the feel of going back to school, or the joy of a new relationship or your favorite number. The only limit is your imagination.

Hokey? Yes. True? You bet your ass it is.

Enjoy our Cocktail of the Week posts? Check out the archives!

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