"...'All that would have been quite needless,'replied Don Quixote, 'if I had remembered to make a flask of the Balm of Fierabras, One single drop of that would save us both time and medicine.' 'What flask and what balm is that?' asked Sancho Panza. 'It is a balm,' replied Don Quixote, 'the recipe for which lies in my memory. With it there is no need to fear death nor so much as to think of dying of any wound. So, when I have made some and given it to you, if ever you see me cut through the middle in some battle - as very often happens - you have only to take the part of my body that has fallen to the ground and place it neatly and cunningly, before the blood congeals, on to the half that is still in the saddle, taking especial care to make them fit exactly. Then you must give me just two drops of this balm to drink and, you will see, I shall be as sound as an apple.'..."
The Balm of Fierabras
1 part oil
1 part wine
generous portion of rosemary
combine all ingredients in a chalice
after being severely beaten, drink
vomit, pass out, wake up feeling healed
pray it does not cause further dysentery
What, pray tell, does this have to do with this month's Mixology Monday? Hang on a second, let me retrace the steps that occurred to lead me to this happy little place...
Ah yes, rosemary. We are working with a theme of local flavor, and so rosemary, being a local and native plant of the Pacific Northwest, will be featured.
(Editor's note: Rosemary is not native to the Pacific Northwest)
While Rosemary may not actually be native to the Pacific Northwest, it certainly is everywhere around here. It grows along sidewalk gardens, in yards, around public buildings, and occasionally in remote little spots along the windswept shores of the Carkeek esplanade.
"Yes, T.Mixeur, bring it on home!" cries the crowd.
And so a drink was created some months ago made with homemade rosemary gin, infusing rosemary found on a seemingly innocent walk though the forest at Carkeek Park, a lovely little place along the Puget Sound coast in North Seattle, a mere 30 short blocks from my home. And given the preponderance of rosemary in the city, the fact that it is an Evergreen needly motherfucker and this is the Evergreen State, and that said drink is named after said local park, we do hereby declare this cocktail to qualify! Plus, I invented it, and I live here dammit.
It is a variation on the Clover Club cocktail, substituting the gin with my rosemary gin and a little Pisco. For a full breakdown of the Clover Club as disseminated by Anita and Cameron Crotty, Paul Clarke, Dave Wondrich, and yours truly, read our original post on the Carkeek Club.
(Author's mother's note: say please.)
Sorry. Please read our original post on the Carkeek Club.
(Author's mother's other note: did you write the "m.f." word in the previous paragraph?)
And so without further adieu: the Carkeek Club ladies and gentlemen!
1 ½ oz rosemary gin
½ oz Capel Pisco
¾ oz lemon
½ oz raspberry syrup
½ egg white
dry shake all ingredients
add ice, shake for 20 seconds
strain into cocktail glass (although come to think of it I really like it in a coupe)
Place 4 branches of rosemary, each about 6 inches in length, into a 32 oz mason jar. Add 2 oz boiling water, close jar, shake, and let stand for 10 minutes until the rosemary gets bright green and you can't stand to watch the poor little fellas suffer like that anymore. Open the jar, pour in about 4 ounces of ice cold water, listen for the sound of the rosemary saying "ahhhhh" then add 3 ounces dry vermouth and 1½ ounces Pernod. Pour the gin in until the jar is filled to about an inch from the top. Close the jar again and shake. You may need to throw your head back and cackle maniacally at this point, in order to get the desired shaking action. Steep in a cool spot for 48 hours, then remove the rosemary. I have always used Broker's gin for this recipe, and it seems to work nicely for this purpose.
We are a few weeks shy of the full ripening of the native wild berries, which in a perfect world would be the cornerstone of a drink with local flavor. Of particular interest are the native Trailing Blackberries. I plan to find a way to combine them with Jamaican rum and call it the "Livingstone Bramble," after my favorite boxer, the Rastafarian, corn-rowed, pit bull and python loving, former welterweight champion who drove Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini out of the ring and into a career in Hollywood by exposing the fact that Ray's face cut pretty easy. And unfortunately for Boom Boom, his cornerman wasn't named Pancho and he wasn't toting any rosemary balm.
"Let it be the clever names, rather than flavor profiles, that drive the creation of cocktails and balms," so said Don Quixote de la Mancha.
But then again, he hardly has proven himself to be an aficionado based on that simply deplorable "Balm of Fierabras" recipe he contributed. Better luck next time, Donny Boy!