The Rising Star was the last ship to leave the aquatic planet of Picon with survivors of the Cylon holocaust. Once they realized what was in store for them, perhaps survival was looking overrated, unless you were military, who had ample supplies of ambrosia. But I suppose real life has enough sour and depressing stories that it seems silly to lament the fantasies of a Ron Moore-created universe. I am not a TV watcher, but the reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica had to be the best television series I’d ever seen. It seemed appropriate that I name a drink in its honor.
But it didn’t really start out that way. The drink really started out as a way to combine my cardamom bitters and my Amer Picon recipe when I wasn’t making Liberals. Initially, I was making a drink by mixing 2 oz of the Amer with some sugar, lime and bitters. It wasn’t bad, but the cardamom seemed to wear on the palate a bit too much. You know those drinks that make you tired in the taste buds, don’t you? The first sip was amazing, but by the last, I’d wished maybe I made something else.
About 3 months later, I was sweeping out the liquor cabinets, making room for new flavors, when I came across my bottle of the North Shore Aquavit (batch 27, in case there by variations). I really want to like aquavit. And actually, I don’t mind it. But I suppose it just hasn’t been cold enough in the Seattle area for me to really acquire the taste. If I am going to drink something straight, I much prefer a bitter. Anyway, I have three or four bottles of aquavit and they just don’t get much use. It had been a couple of years since I tried the North Shore aquavit, so I was going to taste it to see whether it should continue taking premium real estate in the bar, or be moved to the closet (I’d put it in the freezer, but simply haven’t the room).
One problem you might have with this recipe is that it requires Amer Picon, which is pretty hard to find as of this writing. I’ve been using the Jamie Boudreau substitute recipe with a 151 proof orange tincture. But plan ahead. That recipe takes about 6 weeks to complete.
1 oz North Shore Aquavit
1 oz Amer Picon Substitute
1/2 oz gomme syrup (simple works)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass with ice; shake vigorously. Serve very cold in a cocktail glass with a twist of orange. For a slightly stronger orange essence, spray the glass first with the orange tincture using an atomizer.
Aquavit mixes in cocktails about as well as Scotch. Every now and then, you can discover just the right flavor combination, but I can tell you that this recipe does not necessarily work with other aquavits like it does with North Shore’s. I belive the main reason is that the North Shore aquavit is heavy flavored with cardamom, but brings about enough complimentary flavors that it actually dampens the cardamom bitters and prevents them from overpowering the drink.