Truth is, I don’t know much about this drink. Yeah, I know. On top of that I just referenced the actual drink in the first line, I never do that. I know. I get it, we have a system here and I am breaking it. Usually, I make some comments on the world and our place in it, before trying to tie that, sometimes tenuously, to the name of the drink that I reveal in the last line of the first paragraph. Today things are different. It may work, it may suck, I guess we will just have to see what develops as we stand and make the Landmaster.
With that rocky start we are into the second paragraph, where I make some connecting remarks before giving you the history of the drink, being sure to credit it’s creator, maybe dropping a link to their bar. This would be a great time for that, only this drink is a ghost. I found it when I stumbled across an article about the uses of Liquor Galliano L’Autentico, to be known hereafter as Galliano. You know this herbal digestif, even if you don’t know it, because you have seen it a million times behind the bar. That tall tapering bottle full of mysteriously too yellow liqueur, with its vanilla anise flavor and herbal undertones has been lurking in the shadows since 1896. In the article, Andrew Nichols of Baltimore’s Atlas Restaurant Group says, “Galliano is potent, and a little goes a long way…If you find yourself pouring more than half an ounce of it at a time, you’ve gone too far.” That would lead some to believe that he created this cocktail and he may have, but he also makes similar statements about other more documented drinks, so this is speculation at best. Little is known of the drink’s murky origins and even less is said, or written down on the internet, anyway. When I asked myself to comment on the drink name and possible inspiration I was heard to say, “Beats me. Didn’t Buick make a Landmaster? Maybe this one was used to sell cars in the 50’s?”
Which brings us to the third paragraph where we actually make the drink. This is also known as “the only one that really matters” to those folks who still think this cocktail blog is about drinks, despite all evidence to the contrary. Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of tequila, I chose Lunazul Reposada; 1/4 ounce of Linie Aquavit, 1/4 ounce of Galliano, 1 ounce of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice. To that add 1 dash each of black walnut bitters and celery bitters, I went with Fee Brothers for both of those. Toss in some artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind“, since this drink might as well be a ghost from a wishing well. When frost begins to form on your tins, strain into a rocks glass over a king cube and brush the top of the glass with celery leaves before popping them in the drink for garnish, maybe with an expressed orange peel, for good measure.
Time for my thoughts on the drink, which means we must be into paragraph four. Frankly, I like it. There is a lot going on here, serious depth of flavor and complexity. That makes sense, there are a lot of complex ingredients in here. That aroma from the celery leaves and orange is really nice and leads right into this deeply herbal and nuanced drink. I am not getting a lot of the tequila, but that is to be expected with Galliano and aquavit battling it out for the top spot. I love the bitters too. I am always a fan of celery bitters, but the addition of the black walnut here is inspired. I don’t want it everyday, but this is a great summer sipper.
So here we are, paragraph the fifth, where the real meat and potatoes begin their journey toward that closing tagline. I never know what is going to happen here. Obviously, I am going to try to tie back into whatever I teased in the first paragraph, with clever references as to why this drink is the perfect choice for the lesson. This is where we are going to get the answer to that “it may work or it may suck” question from up top. The problem is, as I was writing, I did not get any more clever. No inspiration struck me as I worked through the lack of provenance or the mixing and consuming of the drink. I am just sort of meandering here, seeking purpose and/or relevance. Which is kind of how we made the drink in the first place. I was reading about Galliano and showed my wife a picture. I casually mentioned to her that it might be an interesting thing, if I had any celery. A moment later she hit me with a head…a stalk…a murder of celery? I don’t know what you call it, maybe it is a bunch of celery. Anyway, the celery made contact with the monkey and I decided to make the drink, since she had gone to the trouble to dig it out. She had celery, I had everything else and we both had time, so moments later we had a drink and a nice memory, allegedly. I took the requisite photo and went back to reading, with a drink in hand. I assume she continued cataloging her vegetables or whatever it is she does when I am not around.
I figured I had the hard part done, but that is never the case. I knew nothing about the drink, but I assumed that a few minutes perusing my library of cocktail books or a quick web search would fix that. Nope. Nay. Nothing. With no words about its origin or inspiration or anything, I thought I might fix my above reference to the Buick Roadmaster by calling on the actual Landmaster that 12-wheeled armored RV from 1977’s post-apocalyptic movie Damnation Alley.
The rig was the star of the show in many ways with its signature Trinary triple wheel axles, but I decided that to not purse that rabbit, since this weird car was probably the only thing the movie had going for it. Well, besides Jan Michael Vincent and George Peppard and even with their help, tying this one to the drink was going to be a stretch. That’s how we landed here with this sorta meta view into the process of how I write all those words, over and over again, hundreds of times, ad infinitum. In my view, we landed on the suck side of the coin, but that’s how it goes some days. On the other monkey’s paw, we did learn about a tasty drink and you were, perhaps, mildly entertained for a few moments as you worked your way through my ramblings just waiting for that closing tagline and , well, some times, that’s as good as it gets. So, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.
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