Last Thursday, I tried out a new beverage at Reef (2600 Travis, 713-526-8282). The head bartender, J.M., had concocted his latest creation just the day before in anticipation of an upcoming cocktails contest. After auditioning several names, his team settled on "Thyme After Lime," after the thyme-infused syrup used in this martini-style gin drink. With Cyndi Lauper firmly planted in my head, I tried the drink, along with my ever-expanding phalanx of research assistants. I ended up witnessing another episode of an all-too-common ailment in the Midtown area: male pattern drunkenness. Journalism has its share of occupational hazards, I suppose. The evening rush hadn't quite started, but a good crowd was gathering at the bar by 8:30. I ended up chatting with owners Bill Floyd and Bryan Caswell, who were discussing their backyard garden, where they grow kumquats and other fruits and herbs they use behind the bar. Seriously, kumquats?! That's dedication to the craft. You can't coach that. You won't find kumquats in Reef's newest cocktail installment, but...if you're lost, you can look and you will find me...sorry, I had to.
2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
1 ounce grapefruit juice
Half a lime
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 ounce thyme syrup*
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In a shaker, muddle thyme sprigs, lime and thyme syrup; add gin and grapefruit juice; shake with ice and strain into chilled martini glass. Gin glass should be rimmed with grapefruit dust. Warning: Snorting "grapefruit dust" may be habit-forming.
*For detailed instructions on making thyme syrup and grapefruit dust, visit blogs.houstonpress.com/eating.