Pacific Passage {a gin lemongrass cocktail}

A refreshing relief from the heavy indulgence of the winter libations, this crisp and fresh gin lemongrass cocktail plays on the flavors from the hotter hemispheres.

Pacific Passage - A gin lemongrass cocktail with meyer lemon

The drink began with an unexpected discovery that spurred further exploration. I tried Bombay Sapphire East in a mule variation mixed with lime juice and Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, a fantastic product that brought out the otherwise tacit lemongrass and peppercorn added to this special version of Bombay Sapphire gin. These were the flavors that I wanted to create in a more elegant cocktail, so I went to work. I played on it endlessly, using a slight variation on the lemongrass syrup where I added a ton of fresh ginger. This and the gin would form my base, but I needed more structure to support the exotic flavors. As usual, acid was the first place to look, but lime was too bitter especially when I added some Cocchi Americano into the mix, an ingredient I unashamedly rely on too often. I even tried adding some fresh black pepper, which took my adventurous spirit to a new, humiliating low. So I just sat with the misery and let the cocktail go for a time.

Lemongrass16 final

About a month later, I was making a perfect Meyer lemon drop, a winter tradition for us as these seasonal beauties lend such elevated sophistication to this otherwise overlooked cocktail. Instead of reaching for the simple syrup, I grabbed the leftover ginger-lemongrass syrup still in the fridge. Business! I knew I had to try this with the Bombay Sapphire East. So I went to work again.

gin lemongrass cocktail with ginger

The Meyer lemon juice was my missing key! It’s orangey sweet juice works perfectly to balance the earthy spice of the ginger and lemongrass. To elevate the formula even more, I replaced the lemon drop’s triple sec with the wonderful Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, which helped to accentuate and harmonize the flavors even more.


For the name, I wanted to acknowledge the criss-crossing of flavors and ingredients, the passage from West to East across the Pacific. And like the drink itself, I wanted to conjure up spirit of Southeast Asia and the intrigue of a high seas adventure.

Lemongrass10 final

So here you have it: an elegant evening sipper that glows with a tropical radiance and tingles the palate in playful symmetry. Spring is indeed never too far away…

Pacific Passage
This radiant spin on the lemon drop martini teases with the exotic and warming flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and peppercorn.
Serves: 1
  • 2 ounces gin (I used Bombay Sapphire East)
  • ¾ ounce Fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ ounce of a good dry curacao (I used Curacao Pierre Ferrand)
  • ½ ounce lemongrass-ginger syrup (Just use this recipe for lemongrass syrup and add fresh ginger)
  • Dash Regan's orange bitters
  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill ⅔ with ice.
  3. Shake well until shaker is frosted--about 15 seconds.
  4. Double strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  5. No garnish.

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Nicholas Stanton

Bartender/Sales Associate at Craft Wine & Beer
I am strongly rooted in the Reno community. I believe in radically local ethics and the consumer support of micro communities. A large component of this is in the arts to express our realities, outdoor activities to encourage health and a deep care for the environment and food and drink culture to support local producers, farmers, and businesses. When I'm not geeking out and purveying new and exciting products at Craft Wine & Beer, I can be found cycling around town, reading literature of the Americas and dense philosophy and critical theory. Oh yeah, and keeping my two neurotic Border Collies entertained.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Other Cocktail Recipes
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