Rosemary Sichuan Peppercorn Gin and Tonic


Illustration: Tram Nguyen

Illustration: Tram Nguyen


Hello! We hope you can forgive us for this shamefully long hiatus between posts. We missed writing here and hearing from you guys!

It seems a lot has happened since you last heard from us. Zayn left 1D. Rihanna put out a few mediocre singles and a Dior campaign, and yet, still no new record! Get it together RiRi! We turned in the first draft of our book (!) But more importantly, Lucy got wifed, and looked really beautiful and super babely (pics on our Insta!) and I cried buckets of tears. The other half of Pen & Palate is currently baking her fine, WASP-y complexion to a golden crisp on her European honeymoon. I am having an equally glamorous spring, having traded in my sweatpants, for more seasonally appropriate cut-off sweatpants. And now I get to have you guys all to myself, because Lucy is too busy downing buckets of cava and is not here to gently suggest that nobody wants to make Chicago Bulls-themed recipes*. Well, we’ll see about that!

I’m pretty sure that any readers that we do have will exhaust all of their remaining goodwill toward us if I spend too much time waxing poetic about basketball, so as a peace offering, a simple and delicious cocktail to enjoy this season. I was at a dive bar last November and I ordered a gin and tonic because it sounded refreshing. A friend of mine was horrified, likening it to “wearing white pants after Labor Day!” And I was like, “Whatevs dude. A lot of cool people, such as Celine Dion and J. Lo, wear white year round. Let me live.” And then he offered me a shot of Malört, which is the foulest substance known to man and inexplicably very popular in Chicago, pretty much negating his credibility right there.

Now that it is finally warm, you can sip this without getting lectured about seasonal appropriateness. This is super easy, and inspired by the new rosemary plant in my window, that a well-meaning soul gifted me recently, not aware of my dismal track record with green things. Every day, I dutifully water it, muttering a silent prayer to myself, “Please don’t die. Please don’t die.” We’ll see. Just snip off a sprig or two, and give it a little bruising to release the oils. I usually find most gin and tonics too sweet so I replace some of the tonic water with club soda. If you are having a hard time tracking down sichuan peppercorns, feel free to substitute pink peppercorns.

*In 1992, there was the McJordan, which consisted of a a single beef patty, cheese, onions, pickles, bacon and the special McJordan barbecue sauce. Supposedly, these were His Airness’s favorite burger toppings but internet sleuthing has a uncovered a bit of a consipiracy, because this sandwich in other less Bulls-centric markets was known as the Big 33 (after some dude named Larry Bird?). This burger is so beloved, that in 2012, an anonymous buyer paid $12,000 for a recently-unearthed gallon of McJordan sauce, that had been sitting in a franchise owner’s basement for the past two decades.

Rosemary Sichuan Peppercorn Gin and Tonic

Makes 1 drink

A few sichuan peppercorns (like 6-8)
1 sprig rosemary
1 lemon peel (avoid the pith)
1.5 oz. of your favorite gin
2 oz. tonic water
2 oz. club soda

Toast the peppercorns in a dry pan on medium low heat for about a minute, to release the oils. Using a mortar and pestle (or a rolling pin), lightly bruise the herb. Take a fancy glass and rub the peel on the interior of the glass. Add the peel, rosemary, and peppercorns and ice. Add gin, tonic water, and club soda. Give it a little stir and enjoy.

2 Comments Write a comment

  1. Welcome back, Tram! Soak up that sun, Pale Wedded Lucy!

    This G and T sounds so sophisticated. In other words, totally outside my comfort zone but I might have to try it. I love juniper and rosemary. As someone taking a web design course I must say I love that ice cube loop….Now, do you think the buyer tasted that sauce? $12,000. $12,000. I’m going to look through my old school boxes. I might have a salt packet stamped “McJordan” somewhere.

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