While brainstorming with Andrea about the theme, she found an 2011 article in the Chicago Tribune that did a dozen cocktails created across the city and based off of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." She was taken by the Bird on a Wire by Robert Haynes of The Violet Hour which was the final partridge in a pear tree drink. Being Leonard Cohen fans, we mulled over the sentiment and read through the song's lyrics for further inspiration.
Oh like a bird on the wire,Well, what says the holidays more than trying to be free of familial, work, and shopping obligations; however, it was the "drunk in a midnight choir" line that stuck. With Leonard Cohen's favorite spirits being Scotch and Cognac, I opted for the former and put into the Egg Nog format that I had been considering earlier in the week (originally, the idea was a Tiki Nog). So there's the traditional holiday drink as a starting point, and with enough Scotch, it could be really strong. For bitter, I opted for Averna with thoughts of the Black Manhattan in the back of my mind. Structurally, the recipe was based off Max Toste's Fernet-laden San Francisco Nog -- a drink that would have been perfect for this event had I not already written about it.
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
A Drunk in A Midnight ChoirThe nutmeg garnish contributed greatly to the nog's aroma. A creamy sip showcased the Averna's caramel, and the swallow offered the Scotch and a lightly bitter herbal finish. Probably a smokier Scotch than the Famous Grouse would have worked better here, but definitely nothing too smoky so as to dominate the flavor profile. A barspoon of Caol Ila, for example, would have made a great addition.
• 1 1/2 oz Scotch (Famous Grouse Blended)
• 3/4 oz Averna
• 3/4 oz Heavy Cream
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
• 1 Egg Yolk
Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.