This post is sponsored by Ruckify.
Welcome to Day 4 of the Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar! I’m delighted to introduce you to the most theatrical instalment of the entire series: the Trim the Tree.
This is a split-base cocktail is made with bourbon and gin. I know it sounds like an unusual pairing but the smooth, sweet corn mash of the bourbon and rounded juniper notes of the gin are pulled into perfect harmony with the addition of spruce and cinnamon syrups.
But of course, the real pièce de résistance is the cedar smoke finish – made possible with the use of my Breville The Smoking Gun and a light Fernet Branca rinse to ensure the smoke clings to the glass. The Smoking Gun is mercifully compact and exceedingly simple to use – it adds both enormous drama and flavour to cocktails but is equally well-suited to smoking cheeses, fish, meats, or whatever else you can dream up.
It’s a great tool but not one I use on a weekly basis. So, when I’m not planning to use it, I put it up for rent on Ruckify.
Ruckify is an absolutely genius peer-to-peer rental marketplace. Through the Ruckify platform you can rent anything from glassware to paddle boards and everything in between. It’s an awesome way to make sure your gear isn’t collecting dust and make a little money in the process!
As a renter, Ruckify gives you the flexibility get the gear you need, when you need it – without the restrictions of time, price, availability, or storage.
If you’re been a long-time reader of the blog, you would know that I live in a condo and don’t have an abundance of storage space for small kitchen appliances or extra camera gear. Ruckify gives me the option of being able to rent a cotton candy machine for an hour for when I’m feeling extra with my garnish game or rent a light kit for when I’m shooting after dark — all without having to throw out my couch to make room for any of it.
Aside from the benefits for those living in small spaces, I love the sustainability component of Ruckify. Every item rented means one less item created, purchased, and ultimately ending up in a landfill. It’s an awesome avenue for those of us trying to consume less.
Signing up for the platform is totally free and if you use my code TASTEANDTIPPLE, you’ll get $35 RuckBucks to use towards whatever you want to rent!
Maybe you want to start off by renting my Smoking Gun to recreate this cocktail. If you do, let me give you some advice, from my own lived experience.
Preparing the Trim the Tree was the first time I’d put the Smoking Gun to use and I was astonished at how easy it was to use and how effective.
So effective, in fact, that I went into a complete panic when I realized that I was pouring smoke into my apartment directly below the smoke detector.
At this point I should mention two things, 1) I can’t reach my smoke detector because I have 11′ ceilings and had further complicated the scene by crowding my office furniture directly beneath it to make space for my photography set-up, 2) my smoke alarm is extremely sensitive, its deafening siren goes off any time I open my oven (on the other side of the condo) when it’s set over 400 degrees.
I had set up the entire scene in front of the windows in the living room and drawn the blinds to reduce glare coming off the cloche. My camera was positioned to capture the shot, I fired up the smoking gun and as I watched the plumes of smoke billow out of the hose, I glanced up at the smoke detector and thought to myself, “Oh boy. I should probably open a window.”
In a panic, I turned off the smoking gun, yanked on the cord to open the blinds to be able to crank the window open. As luck would have it, I pulled in the wrong direction and shot the blinds to the floor AND succeeded in ripping the cord off the track.
I had to then awkwardly maneuver the blinds to the side so I could access the handle to open the window. By some miracle, the smoke alarm didn’t go off, I got the shot, but I’d broken my blinds. Luckily one of my neighbours had experience getting the cord for the blinds back on the track and came to my rescue.
All this to say, for a seamless experience: don’t use The Smoking Gun directly beneath your smoke detector and consider opening a window beforehand.
Trim the Tree
- RINSE: Fernet Branca
- 1½ oz bourbon
- ½ oz London Dry gin
- 1 oz spruce syrup
- ¼ oz cinnamon syrup
- 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 cups spruce tips
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
Rinse a double rocks glass with Fernet Branca. (If you don’t have a smoking gun, flame a cedar board with a
kitchen torch and place the rinsed glass on it upside down. Let the glass sit for at least 30 seconds.)
Stir all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass.
Strain into double rocks glass over one large ice cube with spruce sprig frozen in it.
Place the glass in a cloche and using a smoking gun, fill the cloche with cedar smoke. Let stand for at least 30 seconds before removing the cloche.
Combine sugar, water, and spruce tips in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let sit at room temperature overnight.
Remove spruce tips and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Store syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three weeks.