By Hairee Lee
Aka Aurora Borealis if you go up to the Arctic, don't let the name deter you from trying this cocktail during the summer season. If you're like me, it might make you think of the always-too-soon-to-arrive winter, snow, polar bears, wool. But the only chill you'll get is from the incredibly unique flavor of this cocktail.
I first time I tried it was during Dinner 9: Bunker Hill Supper. Drew ((Drew even brought his own fancy shmancy lemon juicer. This guy meant business.)) , our host, made this cocktail for us as pre-dinner drinks and it was an absolute treat. It was the first time I ever tried Eau deVie of Douglas Fir and St. Germaine liqueur, two fairly fancy ingredients, and certainly the first time I tried a cocktail with both ingredients.
I did a bit of research afterwards and turns out Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir is an American, specifically Portland, Oregon, creation. They take brandy making techniques to unique and unusual ingredients. Like Douglas Fir. I have no idea where to find this stuff and I recall Drew saying he has a hell of time locating it around the Boston area. I would call specialist liqueur stores first before heading out the door.
St. Germaine liqueur is something I'm more familiar with because it's made of elderflower. I'd never had the liqueur until that Dinner Series event but I'd had plenty of elderflower water, a cordial, usually sold as a syrup that you dilute with still or sparkling water. You can get it at any Sainsbury or even Tesco supermarket in the UK. I drank plenty of it while I was there teaching. Sometimes I mixed it with vodka and soda, a practice I continue to this day. I currently have a bottle of elderflower cordial from Ikea in my boyfriend's bar fridge and sometimes add it to my vodka tonics for a little frangrance and sweetness.
If you want to serve a cocktail this summer that's really special, something that will make a lasting impression on your dinner guests, try this cocktail. It will probably be the first time they'll try it and very possibly the last time unless they're like Drew and doggedly track down all the ingredients and exercise patience to put this complicated cocktail together. I could say it's worth it but I've yet to get on my hiney and try making it myself.
Now, if I ever do get off my hiney and make the cocktail, I would probably serve it with the appetizers we enjoyed in Dinner 9: namely Aunt Tina's Coleslaw ((I made this coleslaw for my supper club and they loved it. It's so easy with the prepackaged bag of cut coleslaw cabbage and you don't have to stuff then into cucumber cups, which are great for appetizer but not so much for using the coleslaw as a side salad.)) Stuffed Cucumber Cups, Mama's Pepperoni Bread Bites, and a selection of cheeses from Savenors. All the recipes and can be found in Dinner 9: The Recipes and the list of cheeses and vendors found in Dinner 9: Bunker Hill Supper.
Northern Lights Serves 2-4
- 1/2 ounce of Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir
- 1-1/2 ounce St. Germaine liqueur
- 3 ounces Scotch
- 1 ounce lemon juice. Drew brought his own juicer to the event and large bag of lemons. He meant business.
- 1/2 ounce orange juice
- 2-1/2 ounce simple sugar
- 4 dashes of tiki bitters
- ice for shaking
- Pre-measure all the ingredients. There's a lot of them so measuring and putting them in one by one in the shaker full of ice will results in too much time for the cocktail to melt the ice, watering the cocktail down rather than just flash chilling it.
- Put all the ingredients in the shaker with ice. Shake for 20 seconds.
- Strain into martini glasses garnished with a half-moon slices of lemon. See picture above.
NEXT WEEK: THE CLASSIC MARTINI IN CELEBRATION OF THE OYSTER FESTIVALS IN LATE AUGUST AND EARLY SEPTEMBER IN CONNECTICUT.