The Gardener at Kai

This light and refreshing gin cocktail is just as good as it looks.

By Ettie Berneking

Apr 2014

The Gardener at Kai
Photo by Jamie KalilThe Gardener at Kai

I’m kind of a sucker for gin cocktails. There’s something about the way this aromatic tonic blends with almost any flavor it meets that really melts my heart during happy hour. The Gardener cocktail at Kai Sushi Lounge & Bar (306 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-832-0077, kaiafterdark.com) is a seriously tasty example of how the taste of gin can be distinct and mellow at the same time. After scanning Kai’s cocktail menu and bypassing the sugary-sweet martinis that come in a mix of vibrant colors, my eyes landed on The Gardener ($9). This blend of Hendrick’s Gin, house-infused lavender syrup, sweet and sour and the citrusy punch of an orange wedge sounded like the perfect way to wind down a busy week at the office. That pungent taste of gin was softened by the subtle sweetness of the sweet and sour, and the lavender syrup mellowed the citrus tang of this tincture. With an empty martini glass in front of me, I decided to add lavender-spiked cocktails to my list of foodie heart breakers.

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