Happy Friday and Happy Spring, my friends! It’s time for a delicious cocktail to celebrate the transition from Winter to Spring, and I have just the one. This Sage Brush Cocktail is the perfect blend of herbal, tart and sweet. It’s one of those cocktails even non-gin drinkers will likely enjoy.
The Sage Brush was developed by Chef Jerry Traunfeld for his second book, The Herbal Kitchen. I have a big soft spot for anything associated with Jerry Traunfeld because I spent some time at his then-restaurant, The Herbfarm, just after culinary school.
Working at The Herbfarm was one of those crazy, I-can’t-believe-this-is-really-happening experiences. I worked with ingredients like maple blossoms and sea beans and quince for the first time. I saw what it takes to keep a world-class restaurant humming. I learned how clean a restaurant should be (impeccably). I did not, however, drink this cocktail. That education-in-a-glass would only come later.
Step by Step
You will need gin, fresh sage (I had purple sage, so that’s what I used), sugar, fresh lemon and grapefruit.
Start by muddling a wedge of lemon, a few sage leaves and a bit of sugar in a mason jar (I like the pint-and-a-half jars for this) or cocktail shaker.
Muddle, muddle, muddle. (You do have a well-loved cocktail muddler, right?)
Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with a bit of the grapefruit, then dip the cocktail rim into sugar. Add gin, grapefruit juice and ice to the mason jar and shake the cocktail hard for 30 seconds.
Strain the Sage Brush into your prepared glass…
The Sage Brush Cocktail Printable Recipe
The Sage Brush Cocktail
- 2-3 large, fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rimming the edge of the cocktail glass
- 1 lemon wedge
- 2 ounces gin
- 2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
- Drop the lemon wedge, sugar, and sage leaves in the bottom of a heavy duty cocktail shaker or mason jar. Muddle everything together until the sugar looks dissolved and the sage and lemon are well broken up.
- Run a section of grapefruit around the edge of a cocktail glass, then dip the edge of the glass into sugar. Set aside.
- Add the gin and grapefruit juice to the shaker or mason jar, then top up with fresh ice. Lid the shaker or mason jar lightly, then shake hard for about 30 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass and serve immediately.
Reminds me of your basil bliss… I will definitely be giving this one a try when my sage gets more productive. Sounds refreshingly divine!
Similar – it’s got that herbal thing I love going for it, but with a more cool weather vibe. Enjoy!
Looks great and we have everything on hand! Love, love grapefruit cocktails (The Hemingway, mmmmm), but I don’t have a muddler among all my kitchen gadgets, so 1/2-hour bunny trail later on Amazon and a side trip to The Tipsy Bartender videos, I’m finally back to read the rest of your post. Can you explain the intricacies of that strainer? What do all those shapes do (since I don’t have one of those either, but can’t imagine why my little mesh strainer wouldn’t work just as well…)
I love grapefruit cocktails, too! The strainer is a standard cocktail strainer. The coiled spring slips into a cocktail shaker (and perfectly into wide-mouth mason jars, I’ve learned!) and makes it easy to pour drinks one-handed. That’s important if you are a busy bartender, or if you take pictures of yourself pouring drinks with one hand while pouring with the other. (Ahem, me.) One advantage of the classic bartenders strainer is it lets through just the right amount of “stuff” – like, I like it when a few tiny ice shards sneak through and float on the top of a cocktail, and the strainer makes this possible without letting in big hunks of ice or herbage. But bottom line: your mesh strainer is totally fine, and you can even use the handle-end of a sturdy wooden spoon as a muddler, too.
Just checking back to report – this is great! With no muddler I inspected the handles of all my wooden implements and the KitchenAid rubber scraper had a nice big end (tho I think I really need a real flat bottomed muddler because I will be making this again and again). I used key lime instead of lemon since we have tons on the tree right now. I love the fruit combo with the sage tones. I never would have thought of that. After I strained it with the small mesh strainer (which also fit into a wide mouth jar perfectly) I retrieved some of the ice and sage for the glass, so I can see why I might be on the lookout for a cocktail strainer, too. Really refreshing and I delayed dinner just because I wanted to make this after a good afternoon working in the citrus greenhouse. It’s been a perfect spring day (even the avocado tree of x-many years is finally in (gazillions of) bloom and I watched the bumble bee on late afternoon duty doing its thing.) This drink, even with half the alcohol and no sugar on the glass rim, was definitely part of the magic that was today, ending with a bit of rain pattering on the roof. Thanks for the inspiration, Erica. Have a great weekend.
I have to say, this sounds really good! Might try it tonight for a little TGIF celebration. Thanks!
holy tomatoes! just look at it! yes please!
ps ohmigosh you worked at the Herb Farm? hats off, sister, that’s the way to get ‘er done!
This looks delicious, Erica! I think Friday night cocktails has been settled.
I have a question and I’m sure you can answer it: Why the vigorous shaking? The whole shaken vs stirred thing is confusing… thanks!
Shaken gets it all really cold and helps dissolve the sugar, I would guess. I’m just a fledgling cocktail maker, but I highly recommend this one.
Oh my gosh! That looks so easy I think even I could do it. I might have to start taking a closer look at your Friday mixers. Maybe that’s the Mommy treat I need to be turning to instead of finishing off the kids’ unfinished nuggets or grabbing one of their chewy granola bars. 🙂 I feel some unwinding coming on!
OK then… yum
Thanks, this is very tasty! My authentic sauerkraut basher makes an excellent muddler, I’ve discovered.