Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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Drinking in the Earthquake

…If there should happen to be an earthquake on when you are drinking it, it won't matter. This is a cocktail whose potency is not to be taken too lightly, or, for that matter, too frequently!

Harry Craddock
The Savoy Cocktail Book

Yeah, we had an earthquake today. Big whoop. After digging ourselves out of the rubble listening to the wine glasses clink a little, what could be a more appropriate than an Earthquake cocktail? This is, admittedly, an obscure cocktail, heavy on the asbinthe, and not tuned to everyone’s tastes. Dr. Morpheus, for instance, does not like absinthe, and would be tempted to spit this one out on the ground.

But are you still with me? Good.

I do like the green stuff, and was considering how I’d best like to use a bottle of Mata Hari, an Austrian absinthe I’d been given recently. Mata Hari doesn’t quite louche fully the way I’d expect, so I wasn’t planning on the classic absinthe drip (which is nothing more than sugar, cold water, and a small does of absinthe, prepared just so). For those who don’t count down every day to the green hour, the louche is what happens when iced water is added in small increments to genuine absinthes. The liquid goes from a clear translucent spirit to an opaque, cloudy, milky opalescence. It’s quite beautiful if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you ain’t into beauty, Mata Hari's 120 proof will backhand you off the porch. Something for everyone.

Back in the 19th and the first few years of the 20th century, a drinker could find absinthe in all sorts of cocktails. This one comes from Harry Craddock’s classic cocktail manual, The Savoy Cocktail Book. Craddock doesn’t specify liquors, so I dropped in those brands I was using.

I’m halfway through my first one. Morpheus is headed home from surfing, so I need to finish it and work on something a little less wollop-packing. Let’s hope I’m not passed out in an interior doorway when he gets here.

The Earthquake (an absinthe cocktail)

1 oz. gin (Bombay Sapphire)
1 oz. whiskey (Old Overholt rye)
1 oz. absinthe (Mata Hari)

Fill a shaker with 4-5 ice cubes. Add spirits. Stir until opaque and chilled (about 20-30 seconds). Strain into a cocktail glass.

Goes well with:
  • I implore you not to make the Mata Hari Red Bull from Mata Hari's site, but do check out their recipe suggestions. As a cocktail component, this is not a bad spirit.
  • Washington DC's premier seafood restaurant, Johnny's Half Shell, has been serving proper absinthe for the past few months. What a way to round out a meal. Oysters, crabcake, etouffee, and a dose of history. Way to go, chef.


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