There was one primary cocktail destination (OK, and a few secondary destinations as well) on our recent visit to Charleston – The Gin Joint – and the experience did not disappoint. Their cocktail menu is creative, diverse and expansive. The feel is that of a comfortable, modern take on the speakeasy. The service is knowledgable and friendly. And the drinks are perfectly executed.
A local friend had recommended one particular cocktail that The Gin Joint is known for – their “White Elephant.” There’s no relation here to the White Elephant that features vodka and creme de cacao; owner/bartender Joe Raya informed us that this one is a twist on the classic Hemingway daiquiri which had its origins in 1930’s era Havana at one of Hemingway’s haunts, the El Floridita Bar. The twist in The Gin Joint’s drink is that it replaces white rum with a tequila blanco, and the name comes from Hemingway’s book titled “Hills Like White Elephants.” That book is set in Spain, but it’s the Mexican tequila that sets this drink apart – our version included Espolon Tequila Blanco, which lends an earthiness to the drink that balances the sweet citrus incredibly well. The other key ingredient is Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur – accept no substitutes!
Here you go, The Gin Joint’s recipe for a White Elephant, followed by some photos to give you a feel for this great little bar in Charleston, South Carolina.
The White Elephant
1.5 oz tequila blanco, such as Espolon
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Shake all ingredients well over crushed ice, strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry if desired.