1/2cupZinfandel grapes(or other purple-skinned grapes)
1loosely packed tablespoon rosemary needles
1teaspoonsugar (I use organic blonde cane sugar)
1tablespoonfreshly squeezed, strained lemon juice
1 1/2ouncesgin (such as my favorite, St. George Terroir), preferably chilled(3 tablespoons)
In a jar or cocktail shaker, combine the grapes, rosemary, and sugar. Use a muddling stick to mash the grapes to a pulp; the more you mash, the more color you'll extract from the skins and the more flavor will come out of the rosemary. Work in the lemon juice, then the gin. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract all the good stuff. Stir with ice, then strain into a glass filled with ice, and top off with a splash of sparkling water (more or less according to your taste). (Alternatively, shake the drink vigorously with ice and strain into chilled glasses for a stronger drink.)
Zinfandel grapes are less sweet than table grapes, with velvety-soft floral notes and tough skins and seeds. They work brilliantly in beverages (obviously), but this drink can be made with other varieties of wine grapes, or with purple table grapes or concord grapes. Since other varieties may be sweeter, adjust the sugar and lemon juice according to your taste. (If making this with Concords, try reducing the quantity of grapes to 1/3 cup). Also feel free to dial up or down the rosemary; I found that 1 loosely packed tablespoon of fairly long needles yielded a mild woodsy taste that blended well with the gin.Speaking of gin, we tested this with New Amsterdam, a mild and fairly inexpensive gin, as well as St. George Terroir and Botanivore, which have more assertive flavorings. We both liked the Botanivore best on first sip, with its milder, sweeter flavor, but as the ice melted we preferred the more assertively junipery flavor of the Terroir. The New Amsterdam was very mild and yielded a less complex drink that would be pleasing to sensitive palates. Feel free to experiment with your favorite gins, too (and report your findings!).I tend to prefer my cocktails served over ice with fizzy water as shown here, but feel free to serve this "up" by simply straining it into chilled glasses.I use a small shot of gin here (1 1/2 ounces), but feel free to up that to 2 ounces for more oomph.Nutritional values are based on one drink.