Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mixology Monday, December 2013: Anise!

*glides in on ice skates* Christmastime is heeeeeeer--wuh wo WAOH!! *crash*
*gets covered in snow from the branches above*

Par for the course this month.

It's was Mixology Monday again! Nick over at the très très snazzy The Straight Up is our gracious host for the month with a theme for the soft spot in any mixologist's heart, that particular flavor we all probably didn't like when growing up but now adore after having our first Sazerac: Anise!
Although great any time of year, there is something about colder weather and the holidays that really sets my anise fetish into overdrive. While past MxMos have seen a few specific sources of anise, such as pastis and absinthe, I wanted to open things up to anything anise flavored, the more unique the better.

Most folks have something with anise notes laying around, whether it’s Absinthe or Pastis, Ouzo, Genepy, even Green Chartreuse, Peychaud’s, Raki, etc.

Maybe get creative and make something tasty with some star anise, like a syrup, infusion or tincture. Show us that riff on a Sazerac or Improved Holland Gin Cocktail that you love, or create something entirely new.  If you’re feeling frisky, see if you can work in a few anise ingredients. Either way throw something together and share it with us all.
When active, this link will send you to the summary post of this month's festivities.

If anything, this theme needs only one question: which anise-flavored spirit do you use?!? Or, in my case, do you have a work-in-progress which would fit? Answer: Yes!

It was one of those Twitter-challenge types of recipes:
[hat-tip, Mr. Dietsch!]

So, where to start? Golden Glider, aka Lisa Snart, is the younger sister of Flash archvillain Captain Cold. Now, despite said affiliation, she was on the straight-and-narrow with a career as a figure skater, but when her lover and coach, Roscoe Dillon - aka The Top, perished due to speed-related illness, she laced up her razor-sharp skates and swore mighty vengeance against the Flash. Equipped not just with her skates (which borrowed technology from her brother's cold guns that could project aerial ice) but with a range of jewel-themed weapons (nicely keeping in the "ice" theme) she pursued her vendetta up until the Flash/Barry Allen died in the conflict known as Crisis on Infinite Earths. With her foe dead, for a time she went quasi-straight and teamed up with her brother as the Golden Snowball Recovery Company, a duo of bounty hunters. As these things go, though, soon enough she was lacing up her skates once again, bigger and badder than before.

Where does that leave the cocktail? Well, for starters it needs to be golden. Given Lisa's heyday was in the 70s and early 80s, it only seems fitting to turn to that swingin' cat of the period: Galliano (and there's our anise!). Also, there is a known cocktail called the Snowball (advocaat, lime cordial & lemonade) - I'll drop the advocaat here, but steal the lemon. Ah, we've got a Sour cocktail in the making. Now for a base spirit, also golden. Something premium, sippable and glides smooth down the throat, a bit sweet: 10 Cane Rum. And heck, why not make it luxe and bubbly with a splash of golden champagne (and steer it away from being a Yellow Bird)? But of course, a healthy dash of bitter would truly match Lisa's personality. Finally, because I really can't help myself where fancy ice is concerned, just like I can't resist the idea of jewel-themed gadgets with which to wreak havoc, a little something special in that department, no need for a garnish.

These recipes are dedicated to the world's foremost Golden Glider fangirl, Lia Brown, from an old Rogues fangirl acquaintance from LiveJournal.

Golden Glider
2 oz 10 Cane Rum
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 dash Fee Bros gin-barrel-aged orange bitters
1 oz champagne (dry, please)

orange blossom jewel-shaped ice*

Shake the first four ingredients with light ice.

Add the champagne to a chilled Collins glass over 4 or 5 jewel-shaped orange blossom water-infused ice cubes.

Top with your shaken mixture.

Jostle to blend if you feel like it.

You'd think the rum and Galliano would be more forward in this drink, but it's ultimately much more orange-oriented. Instead of the straight sweetness you'd expect to find in a syrupy liqueur like Galliano, you first get a low bitter note immistakeable of Fee Bros. Orange across your tongue (where it'll linger on the finish), which then literally blossoms as the ice melts and releases a metric centiliter-ton of orange blossom water anchored and fused to Galliano's deep anise. It's not Orange Crush, though it might prove challenging to your palate depending on how sensitive it is, but I like it for how different a profile it is. The floral and rarefied orange make you slow down...it feels like a special occasion. As you drink down the long thin glass, you get wonderful bursts of aromatics as well. Rum/Galliano vanilla and lemon pick up on the tail end, and the champagne dries just enough to a wonderful balance overall.

Of course, comic book characters tend to go through many permutations: What-If? storylines, situations and extremities to be undone by the end of the story, and failed attempts to keep up with the times. Like the above-pictured story where the washed out Flash Rogues gather to reminisce after the death of Barry Allen, one of my favorite issues of The Flash is Annual #5 from 1992, one of the early stories from the Eclipso: The Darkness Within crossover event. In addition to much witty banter and inside baseball from a great trio of Rogues (Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard and The Trickster) and some very pretty Image-esque art which fits the story though is perhaps a bit out of place in the greater Flash universe, the story features Golden Glider gradually revealing her compulsion to steal Eclipso's black diamond, finally being taken over by the archaic Spirit of Vengeance and raising hell on Central City. Of course, this lends itself to a variation with a black (Sambuca - also anise! Yay!) diamond.

Golden Glider (Eclipso)
2 oz Smith & Cross rum
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 dash absinthe
1 dash bitter orange amaro like Campari or Gran Classico

orange blossom jewel-shaped ice + 1 black Sambuca diamond ice cube*

It seems the same Golden Glider, but without bubbles and stronger and...there's a funkiness to it, but loads of vanilla too. Makes me wish I had Malört on hand. The quick-melting black Sambuca ice gives a nice "contamination" effect.

But for a being on a cosmic power level with The Spectre, you could probably get away meaning-wise by using all Lemon Hart 151, but that's not recommendable (and I can't, just on a practical level, because PA effectively makes you buy a lifetime supply if you're going to buy any of that bottle - hence no LH151 pour moi). The absinthe and bitter orange liqueur also rachet up the evil level while enhancing the already-existing flavors.

* For orange blossom water ice cubes, use 1/2 tsp orange blossom water for every ounce water.
For black Sambuca ice, use 1 teaspoon Black Sambuca and fill the remainder with water.
[2013-12-25 00:40, Edited to add, for want of totally-organized thoughts earlier: lack of time and resources prevented this, but if you wanted to be thoroughly geeky about the original Golden Glider recipe, use a different hydrosol for each ice cube to play up the different functionality in each of Lisa's jewel-weapons. The likes of rose water, or homemade violet, mint, and almond hydrosols would be quite an arsenal.]

Now quick, someone make a Spectre cocktail or set, distinguishing between Ostrander, DeMatteis and Rucka incarnations!

Cheers to Nick for hosting a delicious MxMo and to Fred for wrangling the cats into their Santa suits yet again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!