OK, it is not spruce, but a fir-tree based drink, but let me elaborate.
Some of you may remember that I periodically wander up to the Pacific Northwest, and that last year I was in Portland Oregon, and you may even recall that I spent a hazy afternoon at Clear Creek Distillery.
I know, hard to imagine given that I am *temperance* personified.
Anyway, one of the best things I tasted during that trip was an eau-de-vie of fir tree (the little green tips, harvested by hand from organically grown trees in a remote, privately owned woods) distilled by Clear Creek into an eau-de-vie. It is the sort of thing that you immediately say, “Wow! But what do I do with it?”
And I am here today to tell you that you make a very specific cocktail from it. This is not a cheap drink, there are no substitutions offered, and you must stick strictly to the proportions. I will not tell you how I know this; I will tell you that I am enjoying a celery-green cocktail on St. Patricks Day that uses a Scottish gin, French Vermouth, and Oregon eau-de-vie that I am sure will surprise even the most discerning Scissorhead.
- 1 1/2 oz. Hendricks Gin
- 3/4 oz. Lillet
- 1/4 oz Clear Creek Fir Eau-de-vie
- dash lavender bitters
- Orange peel for garnish
- Put the gin, Lillet, and eau-de-vie in a cocktail mixing glass that is 3/4 full of ice, cracked if you can manage that. Shake in the bitters.
- Stir vigorously with the straight end of a bar spoon. 30 seconds will be fine, but no less.
- Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass that is well-chilled. I recommend in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, longer if possible.
- With a lit candle between you and the cocktail glass, twist the orange peel to caramelize the essential oil from the peel as it sprays into the top of the cocktail. Move the candle out of the way, rub the rim of the cocktail glass with the peel, and drop into the glass.
- Sip and enjoy the Oregon woods.
- I thought about using orange bitters, but it seemed sort of obvious.
- I recommend Hendricks Gin for this cocktail because it has a strong floral element, I think some of it is lavender. Anyway, it is lovely stuff and plays really well with the Fir eau-de-vie.
- Lillet is a very floral and not-too-dry French White Vermouth. I highly recommend it anytime you want a softer cocktail.
- There is nothing–Nothing–NOTHING I know of to substitute for the Fir eau-de-vie, and at $50 for a tiny bottle, it is the priciest thing I think I’ve ever had in my bar. It has mystified me for nearly a year: I keep sipping a teaspoon of it at a time trying to figure out what to do with it. This cocktail is the first time I’ve found success.