When it’s this hot in L.A., I seem to spend my hour constantly searching out the next air-conditioned spot and accompanying cool refreshment. And to be honest, when it comes to the latter, the usual suspects just aren’t cutting it these days. An ice cold beer turns into malt soup halfway through. A steaming plate of nachos seems to lose its crunch before it’s even served. You get the idea.
Enter Fords Gin, a craft operation with a spirit ambitiously designed by master distillers and mixologists to go perfectly as the base of any gin cocktail creation. Fords is distilled in Thames, England, and has ingredients from locales as diverse as Romania, Indonesia, Morocco, and Italy. To achieve the aforementioned goal, 8th generation master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Company first created a meticulously researched flavor map to determine which botanicals at what proportions would go best with the most classic gin cocktails. They then spent five years developing and tasting 83 recipes, one of which became the gin we can enjoy today.
Fords set up their oasis at the Upstairs Bar as the Ace Hotel, which combines the swankiness of a hotel bar with the fun urban style of exposed ceilings and a rooftop pool. Upon arrival, we immediately grabbed a Vespers Martini (the drink of choice for James Bond), with Fords Gin, a bit of vodka, an aperitif, and a thin slice of lemon. The first sip revealed the juniper-forwardness of the gin, balanced with an impressive mixture of citrus, spices, and florals. By the second sip, the heat wave felt like a distant memory. But what to do about the growing rumbles in my stomach? As if on cue, a plate of oysters appeared over a pile of crushed ice, just the look of which cooled my body temperature by at least ten degrees. I had honestly never thought of this pairing before that moment, but I am now a true believer. After all, as our host aptly pointed out- the sharp, citrus, and savory nature of a good gin cocktail is not so different from an oyster shot with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of mignonette. And I would argue that the chill an oyster sends down your body makes it a perfect complement to the dry summer heat. One more round, please!
You can find Fords Gin at your favorite craft cocktail bar, and order it with the confidence of knowing that however it is paired, it will taste fantastic. Of course, there are hundreds of ways to drink the spirit, but I do encourage you to try a gin martini at least once in your life. Its vodka cousin gets much more attention, and of course, many of you might scoff at martinis in general, but I would argue that the zesty flavors of gin create the perfect version of this truly classic concoction. And Fords really is the best way to experience this taste of highball history, which is also somehow so modern. Enjoy, and stay cool fellow Angelenos!