Thursday, June 30, 2011

leg before wicket

2/3 Gin (2 oz Knockabout)
1/6 Dubonnet Rouge (1/2 oz)
1/12 Lime Juice (1/4 oz)
1/12 Campari (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Once I had opened our bottle of Dubonnet, I wanted to continue putting it to use, so on Tuesday last week, I made the curiously named Leg Before Wicket. Well, the name is odd to us Americans, but considering the recipe was first published in the British Café Royal Cocktail Book, it actually is not. Leg before wicket is a cricket term and is one of the ways that a batsman can be dismissed akin to a baseball player being struck out. Essentially, it is where the batsman blocks the ball from hitting the wicket (think: the strike zone in baseball but all three strikes in one fell swoop) with their body and often their leg. In the 1930's when the drink was invented, the leg before wicket rule was re-analyzed as a way to reduce the trend of high scoring games as the batsmen's skill increased.
Perhaps all this cricket talk is confusing, but the concept of a gin drink that has sweet and bitter elements of Dubonnet and Campari countered by the tartness of lime juice should distract you from all that. The Leg Before Wicket began with a citrus aroma. The slightly sweet sip contained a vague fruitiness that was perhaps due to the Dubonnet's grape notes. On the swallow, the Campari and lime crispness were later joined by the gin botanicals on the aftertaste. Overall, it was rather tame for a Campari drink and might be a good gateway to the Negroni especially since the more difficult to appreciate Campari is one part in twelve here instead of one part in three.

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