Last night, I got a video call from a dear friend who I had not spoken with in far too long. We caught up on the events of this crazily uneventful year. We marveled at how the kids and grandkids, in her case, have grown. We laughed about past adventures around the world, and began to plan, tentatively and optimistically, for the trips to come. It was a really nice surprise and made the whole family happy to get to see each other and chat and feel kinda normal for a little while. So, in the spirit of those old friends who keep you sane, won’t you join me as we stand and make, the Wildest Redhead.

I have wanted to try this one for awhile and that call from one of the wilder redheads I have known provided the inspiration to mix this one up. The drink was created by Meaghan Dorman of New York’s Raine Law Room. It has been hailed as the perfect winter cocktail and it is definitely cold enough for that tonight. This one is beautifully presented and the ingredients promise a complex, layered flavor, similar in construction to the Red Light, with its deep red sink of flavor, though this one promises a sweeter finish. As Dorman says “The lemon and honey are a comforting touch, while the allspice amps up the Scotch backbone and its baking spice notes. The touch of rich cherry ties it all together.” kinda like the Dude’s rug, allegedly.

Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of blended whiskey, I used Dewar’s White Label; 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of 3:1 honey simple syrup and 1/2 ounce of St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram. Add ice and shake to the beat of Warrant’s “I Saw Red“, which will tie into the drink’s name, the musical tastes of the redhead that called and the story of the redhead old friends figured I was writing about when they saw the name of this drink. When your tins are as frosty as the heart can be on a distant spring morning, strain into a rocks glass over a single king cube. Now for the fun stuff, the recipe calls to drizzle 1/4 ounce of Cherry Heering liqueur over that cube slowly, so it sinks to the bottom of the drink, which is what you should do. I tried it, it is wonderful. However, I prefer using a 50/50 blend of the liqueur and the syrup from a jar of Luxardo Cherries 1/4 ounce of each, for a bit sweeter, cherrier take on the original.

This is so good and oh so pretty. It would have been prettier if I had bothered to wipe down the glass. It was a last second switch and I was in a hurry and it definitely shows. Shoddy workmanship will not be tolerated, I will be speaking with management. The drink though, as expected, is complex, but well balanced. Allspice forward, but in a good way. I am curious what a different scotch would do here. Obviously, your scotch choice is going to have a big influence on the final drink. I don’t usually use any of my dwindling supply in a cocktail, but I bet the 2012 Compass Box Flaming Heart would be amazing in this drink. I can see that this might not be up some folks alley, but it suits me right down to the ground, as they say. I kind of love the way the sink gets a little more present, if diluted as the drink progresses, the way it finds its own balance as the last sips take on a dessert note.

An excellent drink for an excellent friend. We’ve shared cocktails and beers and bananas on four continents as we chased adventures wherever the interesting flights and layovers led us. Someday, soon I hope, we will be back in the saddle, sleeping on flights and in airports, laughing as we do laundry in the last of our cleanish clothes at 2AM 9 days into a trip, literally climbing over people on the fast trains across Europe, avoiding the amorous locals in North Africa, building fires with Johnnie Walker in South America and traveling around the world with only our friends and our backpacks, shedding umbrellas, multi-tools and language guides along the way. It’s been a hell of a ride and I can’t wait to chase that next horizon. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friend.