There was a bit of excitement last week as there was a chance the northern lights would be visible. I've only seen them once and while it wasn't as remarkable as some of the pictures I've seen it was still amazing. So, late Thursday night I thought I'd stand outside in the bitter cold and have my mind blown by shimmering waves of purple, green and red. And if I'm going to do that then I might as well mark the occasion with a drink.
I remembered once making a drink called Northern Lights and it seemed too appropriate to make anything else. The recipe was an unusual set of ingredients including scotch, St. Germain and Douglas Fir Eau de Vie among others. Which made me think of the Mizz Mazza, an even more unusual collection of flavors which also employs the Douglas Fir but in this case puts it alongside gin, Campari, Canton and dry vermouth. I figured what the heck, why make one crazy drink when I can make two.
Sadly, the actual northern lights weren't visible this far south. But the drinks were good. Even if we enjoyed them inside.
The St. Germain, scotch and lemon work well together in the Northern Lights. Scotch and citrus at the beginning with the fir in the background adding a slight savory quality. St. Germain brings its floral sweetness to the mix and lingers nicely into the finish. Everything works here. Scotch doesn't dominate but it's there contributing a bit of smokiness. The tiki bitters add a little character to the brighter citrus quality already present.
The Mizz Mazza starts off with Campari, vermouth and Canton and transitions quickly to intense and prolonged notes of pine from the gin and fir. Canton contributes a nice smooth mouthfeel. The flavors present themselves individually at first but eventually unify, creating a bizzare but beguiling flavor which, like the Northern Lights, lasts for quite a while.
Northern Lights - Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Craigie on Main, Boston
1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1/4 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Demerara Simple (2:1)
2 dashes Bittermen's 'Elemakule Tiki Bitters (can sub Angostura)
Garnish - Lemon Twist
Shake, Strain, Up
Mizz Mazza - Stew Ellington
1 1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1/2 oz Dry Gin
1/2 oz Domaine de Canton
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth*
Shake, Strain, Up
* not sure when I wrote this recipe down but it looks like since then the dry vermouth has been replaced by lemon juice. I usually pull back on the Campari and make this drink in equal parts - another suggestion I saw online. I've gotten used to making it this way but I can see how lemon juice would work well, particularly with the full amount of Campari.