It is Heidi’s birthday, so I wanted to make something northwesty in her honor. Even though I have had my fair share of drinks up that way I couldn’t think of anything that embodied Seattle, except for Raiiiiinnnnnneeeeerrrrr Beeeeeeerrrrr. Well, that and an amazing gin and tonic I once had in a bar under Pioneer Square where they made their own spruce and lavender infused liqueur as a float. Since I couldn’t infuse my own liqueur or resurrect a 30 year old beer commercial, I turned to the internet. That delivered lots of places to drink and definitely gave me a thirst for travel. “Perdition take thee, thou all-destroying but unconquering 2020; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee” he said with a hearty nod and a bit of paraphrasery to Starbuck’s boss. Sorry, where was I, oh yes, the drink. Over and over, I found references to an intriguing drink, with a flambé middle step, from Jamie Boudreau at the amazing looking Canon. So grab your tins as we make the Rubicon.
I’m a sucker for anything edible that involves fire. Seriously, I will order almost anything that is served en flambé. If you need a lighter for my dinner or drink, I am in. So, naturally, when I saw this I had to try it. I was kind of excited to realize halfway through that this is a riff on The Last Word. I guess all this studying is paying off. Anyway, let’s jump right into the drink, light some fires and I’ll pontificate once we have a drink in hand. For effect, you might want to crank up a little John Legend from the La La Land soundtrack, cause we are about to “Start a Fire“.
Alright, pick a couple of pieces of fresh rosemary, form one into a tiny wreath and place it at the bottom of a rocks glass, pour in 1/2 ounce of green chartreuse, swirl it to make sure it is covered and set to the side. Grab your shaker tins and pop in 2 ounces of gin, I went with Mischief because it’s awesome and Seattle. To that add 1/2 ounce of maraschino cherry liqueur, Luxardo is my choice and 1/2 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Pop in some ice and give it a good shake. I bet you think we should double strain it into that waiting glass of rosemary and chartreuse, well, you’re right but hold your collective horses. Before we do that we’ve got to burn this mother down, figuratively speaking of course. Give that chartreuse another swirl and using your favorite instrument of incendiary destruction, set it on fire like Guy Montag settling in to a good book. Take a moment to reflect on that. How fire can be an agent of change, a cleansing force. How sometimes things get so bad that the answer is to burn it down so you can rebuild, starting fresh. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new beginning from wanton destruction. The labor pains of a people, a place, a cocktail straining to be reborn. Just take a moment and think about that, but not too long. As the flames climb higher into the night, remember that thermal shock is a thing and double strain that chilled cocktail straight into the flames, hoping that the glass is strong enough to withstand the forces of fire and ice coming together, fighting for survival, tumultuously settling into a unified whole, their notes going from cacophony to harmony as you add crushed ice and garnish with another piece of rosemary.
It’s a hell of a drink. The Last Word only rebuilt…better than it was before; better, stronger, faster. An old favorite emerging from the crucible of change. And here you thought I was gonna talk about crossing a river and making decisions you can’t easily take back. Yeah, do that too, but remember that sometimes if you want to make things better, you’ve got to build a fire. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.