The Liquor Fairy has struck again, this time bringing to my door a bottle of a most interesting spirit, Square One Botanical, from Square One Organic Spirits. I’ve hit this bottle pretty hard since it arrived, finding lots of great ways to use it. Which is a shame, since it’s not available in Ohio as of this writing (though Square One’s vodka and cucumber-infused vodka are).
I’ll start off by saying Square One gets a win with the bottle, with its crisp square shape, sparse labeling, and nifty indented logo. That’s it below, accompanied by a bowl of the botanicals that make it what it is.
I call it an
interesting spirit since Square One Botanical doesn’t really fall into any standard category of liquor. It is most like a gin, since gin is a botanically infused neutral spirit. But any real gin has to have juniper out in front, and Botanical has none. For this product to become as big as it otherwise might, I think that Square One will need to come up with a category name more evocative than that contained in its full and complete name:
Square One Botanical Organic Specialty Spirit.
As for what’s in Botanical, it’s all pictured in the bottle shot. You botanists can skip ahead, but for the rest of us, let’s have a list: Pear, Rose, Chamomile, Lemon Verbena, Lavender, Rosemary, Coriander, and Citrus Peel. The resulting spirit has much of the wonderful fragrant complexity of a good gin, while omitting the evergreen punch in the face that puts off many casual drinkers about gin.
All of what I’ve written so far, I gleaned from the materials that Square One sent along with with the bottle, combined with a little sipping and smelling. Since this blog isn’t about rewriting press-releases, I began all that experimenting I alluded to at the start of this review. Since this is at least a gin-like spirit, I of course tried it out in a Pegu. Frankly, I had my doubts as to how it would taste, and I wasn’t disappointed. As in, I wasn’t disappointed by the taste. In fact, this is a seriously delicious cocktail! It is not quite so bracing as a standard Pegu, but it is lighter and more food friendly. In fact, I like it so much, I’ll use the excuse to retype the recipe, for the umpteenth time, here:
- 3 parts Square One Botanical
- 1 part Cointreau
- 1 part fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake to combine and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wheel of lime.
Frankly, a success like this with a Pegu-like cocktail could have been enough for me, and the temptation was strong just to set this bottle on the featured shelf and enjoy. But the differences between gin Pegu and Botanical Pegu tweaked something in the back of my mind about another project that had been lying dormant in my bar’s project folder.
I routinely make affectionate fun of Cosmopolitans. I like them, but as a card-carrying cocktailian, I feel obligated to find a way to make them with a spirit other than vodka. The obvious solution is the gin-based Metropolitan. But I’ve tried more of those than I can count, and I’ve yet to encounter or concoct for myself a recipe that isn’t, well, mediocre. Essentially, using gin in a Cosmo is like inviting the brassy broad with the hideous, loud laugh to your party: She takes over things, and not for the better.
But hey now… Here we have a spirit that provides interest and character to a cocktail, yet is minus the in-your-face quality that makes gin so beloved and reviled. That brassy broad is actually pretty funny, you know, if she just didn’t have that laugh….
It only took me two tries to get a very delicious Cosmo With Character. I heartily recommend you try one of these.
- 2 oz. Square One Botanical
- .75 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- .25 oz. Cointreau
- 1 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Combine in a shaker with plenty of ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wheel of lime.
This is a more tart ratio than I use for a straight Cosmopolitan. You can shift the lime and Cointreau back to a half ounce each, but I don’t think it shows off the Square One Botanical’s contribution quite as well. Also, this recipe is balanced for Ocean Spray. If you use another brand, or straight cranberry juice, you’ll need to adjust that as well.
If you are interested in lots of other new ways to use Square One Botanical, I direct you first to the wrap-up of the October 8, TDN, which Square One sponsored. I could not make it myself, which is why you don’t see my Metro Square among the finalists, I’m sure. Square One’s website also has a wealth of recipes on offer. They also have lots of info on their other products, some nice pics, and a collection of
I’ll leave you with my own Square trivia. My great, great uncle was a young American diplomat at the Moscow Consulate during the First World War. His bachelor pad overlooked a plaza in Moscow where a rather famous mass shooting took place, a plaza later to be known as Red Square. (He was forced to flee in the ensuing revolution, and was hidden by White Russian peasants for three months. They had nothing to feed him the entire time but brussels sprouts. Upon his eventual return home, his mother hosted a party in his honor at which she served what had always been his favorite food….)
The following product, Square One Botanical, was recently provided to me as promotional consideration to encourage me to discuss it.
For a complete disclosure of my policies regarding promotional items and all other financial interests, please click this link, or follow the
Liquor Fairylink in the header of this page.