May 16, 2011

"Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye"

And after yet another lengthy delay, I'm back. Again. Really.

Stop laughing!

Seriously, what can I say, gang, besides "I'm sorry?" My work schedule is never really the same twice, so I'm constantly working early, or getting home late, or both on consecutive days, or vice versa. And so, while I do mix myself a nightcap more often than not, I really never can convince myself to photograph it or blog about it. I may tweet about it every now and then, but...

Anyway, on to the booze. Today I went to my local hooch parlor looking for a new whiskey that my friendly area distillery has released. Sadly, they didn't have it on the shelves yet, but I did find something else that had piqued my interest previously...

OK, you know and I know that I'm not a huge fan of vodka. I often think of it as training wheels for booze, as something that's just so bland. It's the Muzak of the liquor world, right? And FLAVORED vodka? Why not just dissolve a handful of Jolly Ranchers in a bottle of Popov and save yourself a bunch of dough, right?

Well, I will admit that I had been curious about a certain variety. Absolut occasionally mixes up some vodkas named after a region or another; New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn. And, as Camper English over at has pointed out, those regional drinks often end up becoming a regular player; New Orleans became Absolut Mango, Los Angeles became Berry Acai, Brooklyn has transmuted into Orient Apple, and Boston is now Absolut Wild Tea. It was Wild Tea, with it's black tea and elderflower flavoring, that had attracted me.

Elderflower cordial, like St Germain, is tasty, but a bit too sweet sometimes, for my liking. Black tea is a flavor that you don't get too often with booze (sweet tea, on the other hand...) but put 'em together? Hello, Novelty! And so I picked up a bottle, and sipped a shot poured over ice. I'll be damned. Tasty. A little astringent, a little floral, not too sweet at all. And very smooth.

And VERY botanical. It got me thinking about other botanicals, and then I had the bright idea to try mixing it with green Chartreuse, chock full of botanicals. And then, because I'm a theatre geek, I named it after a character from Shakespeare that I once played, who was similarly obsessed with botany.
The Friar Lawrence Cocktail
2 oz Absolut Wild Tea vodka
1/4 oz green Chartreuse
2 dashes acid phosphate
10 drops Bittermens Boston Bittahs
2 drops absinthe

Stir all well with ice and pour over a single large ice cube.
Green. Vegetal. Slightly sweet, a hint of citrus, and herbs. Quite fitting for Friar Lawrence, the Franciscan in "Romeo and Juliet" who got zapped with a phaser set to "Sudden Interest in Botany." I still remember entirely too much of his monologue, given that I played him more than 10 years ago, but here's the relevant section relating to botanicals...(Act II Scene 3, for those of you reading along at home):
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Ah, memories! Yes, kids, the good Friar was picking herbs and flowers and quite possibly creating something akin to Chartreuse, or Benedictine, or Fernet Branca, or Strega...medicine in alcoholic form. Now I'm not claiming that the Friar Lawrence Cocktail will be any kind of curative agent, but as a libation? Pretty damn tasty.

Friar Lawrence Cocktail