Call it kismet. Sometimes, the drink sneaks up on you. Well, to be fair, often drinks will sneak up on you if you forget your moderation in your other suit, but in this case it was one that just showed up out of nowhere. Seriously, I had never heard of this drink, but there it was in a sponsored post. Please join me now, as we stand and make the classic Lion’s Tail.
This riff on the whiskey sour first appears in 1937 in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. The ingredients are closer to Tiki drinks than most cocktails of the period. In fact, I was surprised to see how early this drink was with its use of pimento dram. Let’s make this one and figure out what to say about it afterwards.
Grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of bourbon, I opted for Gentleman Jack; 1/2 an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice; 1/2 an ounce of rich simple syrup, 1/2 an ounce of St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram and four stabs of Angostura Bitters. Add some ice and shake hard to the beat of Van Halen’s “Right Now“, cause Eddie is gone and the world definitely needs “to turn this thing around, right now.” When your tins are cold, double strain tinto a chilled coupe, express an orange peel over the top and garnish with one of those cool dehydrated orange slices.
This drink is rock solid. So damned good. Allspice dram can be overpowering, but it balances nicely in this one, the bourbon really stands up to it. Honestly, I think the heavy hand with the Angostura is what really sets this one free. It’s not Trinidad Sour level, but they are definitely present. So many complex flavors, sometimes fighting, sometimes pulling together. This drink works on so many levels.
I don’t have a lot to say here. I was going a different direction, but then I thought about Eddie Van Halen’s passing and started listening to his music and the drink didn’t seem quite as important. There is a lot of dying going around lately. I know it is a part of life, but the closer you get to the end of the story the harder it is to deny that one of these days the credits are going to roll and we will fade to black. Seeing an icon of your youth pass is a reminder of your own mortality. Not like we need any more reminders during a pandemic when over 210,000 of our fellow citizens have passed this year. It is all too big to think about, numbers too large to comprehend. Might as well have a drink and not think about the entire population of Rochester, New York or Des Moines, Iowa being gone, that’s just too much. Too many holes, left in too many families. One light after another extinguished. We definitely need to turn this thing around, right now. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.