The Garden at George's (Colby Ware/Baltimore Sun )
George's, which takes up a fair portion of the first floor of the Peabody Court Hotel, has a warm inviting atmosphere. It couples a bed and breakfast sensibility with a leather-couchy, dimly lit lounge area that makes for a decent dining — and especially drinking — experience.
Bartender John Hartz and crew recently redesigned their drink menu to include a wide range of classic cocktails and one particularly refreshing gin drink: The Garden.
The Garden's name may conjure images of floral notes, bright colors and sweet tastes, and you'd be mostly right. The breezy cocktail is packed with chopped basil, fresh-sliced strawberries and lime juice setting the backdrop for a healthy dose of Hendrick's Gin and a splash of club soda. The resulting concoction looks like a fresh salad in a glass, and tastes like one of the smoothest, coolest gin drinks you'll ever have — but without a lot of sweetness.
The pungency of basil and the smooth cucumber notes seeping in from the Hendrick's blend together nicely and complement the tart strawberry and lime flavors, eliminating any of the harsh juniper notes commonly associated with gin. Once the drink is finished, the gin-soaked strawberries are a nice finish for a cocktail that's light enough to have with brunch, but could certainly work for an evening's potable.
"It's something classic, fresh, but you won't find it at your average hotel bar," Hartz sad. Which is true. I can't remember the last time I saw a gin-soaked garden in a glass, whether at a hotel bar or not, but possibly at my Grandma's house when she was making her "Special House Salad." Oh, Grandma, you love gin!
How to make The Garden
1 1/2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Basil and strawberries
Combine gin, lime juice and muddled chopped basil with sliced strawberries. Pour over ice and top with club soda. Serve in a highball glass.
Where to get The Garden
George's, inside the Peabody Court Hotel
101 W. Monument St., Mount Vernon
$11; $6 on select Wednesdays 4-7pm