Strawberry season may be long over, but we’re nowhere near the end of gin season and the time to enjoy bright, citrusy drinks. This particular cocktail was a bit of a delicious mistake and only recently discovered, though the original Army Navy cocktail, simply made without strawberries, dates back to 1948 with David A. Embury’s book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Sure to go over well with any lover of gin, what makes this drink stand out is its use of a floral sweetener typically reserved for tiki cocktails, the almond-based syrup, orgeat.
Though most famously found in the mai tai, orgeat may have originated as an exotic delicacy centuries ago and was actually first used in mixed drinks in the mid-1800s in the now-classic Japanese cocktail, employing just cognac, orgeat and bitters. If you are new to orgeat, it’s important to note most store-bought brands suspiciously neglect to include almonds as an ingredient, which is why making your own orgeat at home can be the best choice. Recipes typically involve toasting raw almonds, boiling with sugar and water, straining and then storing with orange water and rose water, sometimes vodka, for later use.
The opaque syrup can be cloyingly sweet, but when using high-quality or homemade orgeat, it provides incredible depth of flavor, which is perhaps what makes the Strawberry Army Navy so appealing. Finding the right balance between the often strong marzipan undertones and lemon tartness can require a bit of adjustment based on ingredients, but when made well, this cocktail's complexity and easy-drinking nature will surely be your new favorite. Enjoy.
- 2 ounces SW4 London Dry Gin
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce fresh orgeat syrup
- 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin and muddle with a large strawberry.
- Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a strawberry.
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