2023 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 19 – Alaskan Winter. This riff on The Alaska cocktail which first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930 swaps out hard-to-find yellow Chartreuse for a combination of Strega, an herbal Italian liqueur, and a touch of Galliano vanilla liqueur.
The final countdown to Christmas is on and if your life is anything like mine, you might be scrambling to wrap up final projects at work before the break, juggling a demanding social schedule, borrowing time to trim the tree, wrap the presents, or make a final voyage to the mall. So, I’m hoping this stiff and stirred cocktail will help take the edge off.
Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur that has been in production since 1860. It gets its distinctive yellow colour from the saffron in its blend of 70 herbs and spices. It is bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV) making it comparable to most base spirits in intensity but with the sweetness and viscosity characteristic of a liqueur.
The flavour is nuanced and complex with minty and fennel notes. It’s a really unique spirit that has a multitude of applications and also serves as a great alternative to the hard-to-find yellow Chartreuse.
Strega brings a dynamism to this gin-based cocktail. The Galliano vanilla liqueur adds a welcome sweetness and counterpoint to the woody juniper notes of the London Dry Gin. A splash of gingerbread syrup and eases the bitter and boozy elements.
I’m also introducing you to a new mixing method that I don’t think I’ve employed in any past recipes. Instead of expressing citrus oils on the surface of the drink at the end, we’re dropping a swath of pink grapefruit peel into the mixing glass to let the citrus oils infuse with the other ingredients. This is called a “Regal Stir” and is used in several classic cocktails.
I sampled this cocktail again over the weekend, you know, for quality assurance. I’m pleased to report that it’s even more delicious than I thought it was when I first developed the recipe. I hope you’ll join me on my Instagram Stories tonight at 5 p.m. Eastern as I stir up this spirited drink.
This riff on The Alaska cocktail which first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930 swaps out hard-to-find yellow Chartreuse for a combination of Strega, an herbal Italian liqueur, and a touch of Galliano vanilla liqueur.