Well, the autumnal equinox has come and gone, but I still wanted to show how Elostirion (i.e., my home) commemorates such turnings of the year. The evenings grow chill, the leaves are changing, and Persephone is gone from her mother’s side once more. How shall we recognize it? How shall we stay warm?
Well, first I mixed up The Last Word:
3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz Chartreuse
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
Chartreuse is a liqueur made by Carthusian monks in the Grande Chartreuse monastery, in (shockingly) the Chartreuse mountains. The recipe is a closely-guarded secret, but it entails a base spirit aged with 130 herbal extracts. Chlorophyll gives it its characteristic color, which was named for the liqueur.
Maraschino liqueur is a clear, bittersweet liquid made from Marasca cherries, whose pits lend it an almond-like flavor. Once upon a time, whole cherries would be preserved in the liqueur, hence maraschino cherries. Then along came Prohibition and stole the liqueur from the equation, leaving us cherries which were first bleached, then colored an alarming shade of red, then put into a sugary, non-alcoholic brine for the masses to
ruin garnish their drinks.
But I digress. The Last Word is a careful exercise in balance between pungency, sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and mystery.
Then there was the Autumnal Equinox itself:
2 oz port
1 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Amaretto
Other recipes of the same name exist online, typically grasping for spirits found far north and far south of the Equator to emphasize how on such days, neither hemisphere is closer to the sun; these struck me as odd combinations, hence my following The Webtender’s recipe (though I’m not sure where the Webtender found it). The ingredients would normally be stirred with ice in a rocks glass, but I tend to favor chalices in autumn. Somehow their heaviness bespeaks the coming need for warmth, for blankets, for hot drinks, for fires, for books.
Lewis might not have been much of a cocktail-drinker; nevertheless I hope he would approve.