So, the cocktail blogs have a little thing called Mixology Monday. Every month or so, one of the cocktail blogs links to all the posts for a theme ingredient for the day. This month the theme is gin, and it’s hosted at Oh Gosh!, one of the… fourteen cocktail blogs in my RSS feed. (14? Damn, that feels like a lot suddenly.)

I had thought I’d do a big post about how the proportions of a martini should change based on your gin (Millers, Plymouth, and Bombay [not Sapphire]). Then I started to feel that it had all been done before, because it has. So I thought about posting a few recipes that were altered martinis. If you take the basic gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, and add half an ounce of any number of things, someone has come up with it, named it, and declared it tasty. That sounded fun, but it also sounded like a lot of drinking for a Sunday night.

So, with some trepidation, I chose to post one of my all time favorite gin drinks, the Boxcar.

I stumbled on the Boxcar one night, shortly after I had first gotten cointreau. I wanted to try a bunch of new cointreau drinks, but at the time I had a very small bottle, which had been given to me as a gift, and which I was loath to waste, because it’s only cheap at the Canadian duty free store. It seems like it’s always half price there, but I don’t exactly cross the border every day, or make a ton of money. So with that in mind, I was gunning for drinks that used half an ounce.

Then I found the Boxcar. It has a touch of grenadine and cointreau, but this drink is really about gin and a dry astringent hit on the back of your tongue. The egg white gives it a nice mouth feel. All the same, what really makes me love it is the way that I can’t easily pick out all the constituent ingredients. Too many cocktails taste like their constituent parts, or have a single ingredient that takes over. Given enough time, you could probably guess all the parts of the Boxcar, but they don’t just announce themselves to you.

As an added bonus, it’s a hilarious shade of pink, which is just opaque enough to glow a little when it catches the light.

There are a lot of versions of this floating around, and many of them use lemon juice instead of lime. I have to side with the lime juice versions. That astringency I love just isn’t there with lemon.

This is a forgiving drink when it comes to the gin. Personally, I think it comes out best with Plymouth, which aggressive enough to stand up to a 3:2 ration of gin and fresh lime juice, but it’s still good with something cheap like Burnett’s.


1 1/2 oz. Gin
1 oz. Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. Grenadine

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.