Thursday, June 23, 2011

northern lights

1 1/2 oz Grant's Blended Scotch
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist. Perhaps Zirbenz could be substituted for the eau de vie in a pinch.

Tuesday last week, Andrea and I paid a visit to the bar at Craigie on Main. While scanning the menu, I realized that I had never had their Northern Lights. The drink was created by Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli for the inaugural cocktail menu when Craigie on Main opened in autumn of 2008. Lauren Clarke of DrinkBoston captured the moment by asking Tommy about the drink's genesis. Tommy recalled, "I took a week off between starting at Craigie and ending at Eastern Standard. I went down to Westport, MA, to work on the upcoming venture. One night of mixing with some of my best friends, this drink just came together. The late-night mixing and watching the stars, in cold New England... it reminded me of the vibrant Northern Lights." I know that I at some point had tasted the drink when Andrea ordered it, but I had never savored one from beginning to end; therefore, I asked bartender Ted Gallagher to rectify the situation. Ted seemed rather happy to oblige despite the longer than average list of ingredients; when I inquired about the numerous small portions of ingredients, Ted explained that before each shift, they batch the juice and syrup together to make the drink a lot easier to assemble.
The Northern Lights began with the bright notes of the lemon twist. The sip was a spicy citrus flavor that was chased by Scotch's smoke and St. Germain's fruit-like notes on the swallow. The Douglas Fir eau de vie appeared as a lingering pine note, and as the drink warmed up, the St. Germain's floral elements came more to the forefront. In addition, the Scotch and St. Germain work rather well together as they do in the Alto Cucina. While the drink has 3 ingredients that were hot new products at the time the recipe was crafted, namely St. Germain, Bittermens Tiki Bitters, and Clear Creek's Douglas Fir spirit, the drink still holds weight and has a timelessness to it regardless of what were the bartenders' new toys back then.


Devin said...

This remains one of my favorite original Boston cocktails. I wish Tommy would go back to drink authoring!

frederic said...

I did read an article in the Improper, Stuff@Night, or other that attributed a drink at ICOB to him and I wasn't sure if Tommy was behind the stick tinkering or whether the author botched the attribution.

I have to imagine that Tommy's next step is opening his own place so perhaps he'll have more power in cocktail menu creation then.