Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Leather & Lace -- a Bonny New Mixture

Most all the days we spent in Scotland, it rained. Or rather, didn't rain, it misted. You had to keep the windshield wipers going all the time. Venturing outside, you might stand for a few minutes, hardly noticing, or you might walk two blocks in Glasgow, and be none the worse. But if you stayed out, you'd get a fine mist in your hair (or your beard), and your shoulders would gradually darken with soak. This mist isn't exclusively Scottish, or Irish, but it's thicker up north than elsewhere in the British Isles. It's what keeps things green, though the Scots have cut most of their old forests down, and hillsides are covered in gorse and heather and low shrubs which color subtly in changing light.

Nothing like a shot of Talisker, if coming in from sauntering abroad on the heath, as they say. Nothing like that and a good fire and your woolen socks steaming in front of a good fire. Wear a familiar cap and your hair will turn grey at 33, a tribute to your doggedness and mild frustration.

This is a sweet one, like the two weeks before you're married, and the two weeks afterwards! Drambuie is often mixed with scotch--the classic "Rusty Nail" made 2 to 1--but there's no scotch here, this is a little more subtle, the Irish Mist (concocted from Irish whiskey, heather, honey and herbs etc.) providing just the right suggestion of leather, with the subtlety of the Drambuie masked slightly. The Canadian whisky is like a binder, linking the rum to the liqueurs.

This one gains nothing from agitation, so a vigorous swirling in ice is more than adequate. It could be served with or without lemon garnish, but the lemon isn't exactly the association it requires. It could even be served in one of those squat little drink tumblers that taverns seem to like nowadays, as long as the glass is well-chilled. It doesn't get better as it warms.

This recipe should make two medium-sized portions:

3 Parts Mt. Gay rum
2 Parts Canadian whisky
1 Part Drambuie
1 Part Irish Mist
1 Part fresh lemon juice

For the lads and and lassies in convivial circumstances. Leather for the riding. Lace for the ladies. And good luck to you!

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