When crafting a cocktail recipe I often approach the process in reverse. Rather than thinking of a few jiggers of ingredients that would work well together, I think of the base spirit and the feeling I'd like to invoke. Just as our perception of flavor is based on both sight and taste, our full appreciation of a culinary experience is based on flavor combined with narrative.
You might not recall what gin was used in the last martini or gin and tonic you ordered. However, when I serve you a cocktail garnished with an iconic windmill garnish it's a conversation starter. When I tell you the story of how the windmill featured on the Mahón bottle is named Xoriguer and was built in 1784 – now that's a gin you're going to remember.
When selecting the ingredients, I opted for simplicity to both highlight Mahón and to make the cocktail more accessible to those without access to a well-stocked bar. After several iterations which included various bitters and amari, I stripped it down to the essentials. The Brisa de Verano (Summer Breeze) is the first cocktail you order after your ship arrives at the beautiful port of Mahón in Menorca. Muddled blackberry, cucumber, and basil offer an approachable complexity to the cocktail. Vibrant summer flavors are there to enjoy, but are graceful and do not impose as you relax in Mahón, soaking in the coastal breeze. Whether you're actually in Mahón or enjoying the Brisa de Verano at a favorite bar, I guarantee you see rows of colorful little sailboats docked in the crystal blue bay to your left and houses precariously perched on the cliffs to your right. A warm breeze brushes your skin, you take another sip, you are present.