For Mixology Monday LXXXVII,* Stacy Markow, has issued us a challenge to summon forth our inner hulks and smash. But before you start smashing anything in sight, let’s get a hold of the reins. As this is a cocktail themed challenge, the only things Stacy is challenging us to smash are fruits and vegetables. So perhaps its more Gallagher than it is Hulk.
Here are the requirements for this game [summarized by your truly]:
1. Grab something fresh. At least one herb. At least one fruit. Bonus if its local and in season**.
2. Smash it.
3. Drown it in spirit and ice.
4. Sweetening is allowed.
So without further ado, here’s my entry for MxMo #87: The Midnight Sun cocktail:
Midnight Sun Cocktail
2 parts Gin [we were looking for a little bit of a lift, and since we were pairing with Aquavit, we went with a more contemporary toned gin. Counter Gin seemed a good choice because it highlights Verbena, Tarragon and Lavender, giving it a nice herb-forward tenor, which mixes really well in this cocktail. Other good alternatives include Gin Mare (), or Leopold’s ().]
1 part Aged Aquavit [many Aquavits are aged, but we think that Linie’s Auqavit, with over a year spent in Oak, gives it a nice, mellow, and more rounded out flavor.
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This month’s Mixology Monday theme was put up by the folks over at Booze Nerds, who wanted to nerd it up with the somewhat obscure theme of “resin.” Let me quote from the post which got the party started:
“Whatever resin means to you, we want to hear it.”
Well I’ve been looking for a good excuse to break out that bottle of Zirbenz, or even better yet my seasonal standby, the old Douglas Fir Eau de Vie.
So let me take you on the journey. Because although I got to the destination in the end, the road I walked down had dead ends which are more interesting than the final cocktail. As happens over an evening in the home bar, mixing and testing, you begin to feel the burden of your hard work: which is to say I ended up just a tad drunk by the time I came up with a drink which met my slowly lowering bar for what a “good cocktail” tastes like.
The Journey Begins
I wanted to try something fresh, so I busted out some fresh rosemary. For all of my best intentions, I came up short in locating safe pine needles [why couldn’t you have waited until next month?
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Firstly, you might be wondering about the theme and the name. The theme From Crass to Craft, put forth by Scott Diaz over at Shake, Strain and Sip challenges us thusly: “Create or find a drink that uses one or more ingredients that are not considered “craft” but are or can be used in a “craft” cocktail.”
Back to the name ‘Halja.’ Yes, it is the origin of the name “hell,” but let’s back up again. Hel was a goddess in the Norse tradition and her name [as well as the word from which our ‘hell’ comes from, the Protogermanic word Halja] means “one who covers up or hides something.”
This name seemed perfect for this. I’m hiding the fact that our main ingredient [a very specific kind of flavored vodka] is not really a craft ingredient by putting it in a drink where it not only shines- its most definitely the star- but its less desirable qualities are masked in beautiful fashion. Hence the name Halja, because frankly, I thought that it was going to require god-like capabilities to make the kind of drink I expect from top-end cocktail establishments with the kind of ingredient that rarely rises above the level of shots for college students who really haven’t acquired a taste for alcohol yet.
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