The Friday Tipple: incidental musings on moonshine

incidental musings on moonshine

We’ve won a Grammy, Boozers. Well, strictly speaking, we are only related to a Grammy winner, but feel privileged to utter the phrase in appropriately hushed tones, touched as we are by greatness. Although it may be considered by some as “the category nobody cares about”, the Grammys do award honors — hours before the Black Keys and Beyoncé are anywhere in the vicinity — for classical music, and intelligently chose to bestow this distinction on Stephen Hartke for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, a somewhat hypnotic piece of chamber music titled “Meanwhile – Incidental music to imaginary puppet plays”, the title track to the album by eighth blackbird that also won a Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance . We at Good Booze could not be more proud of such familial talent.

As our own talent lies in the exploration of cocktail culture, we felt compelled to honor such an achievement — the music of “Meanwhile” inspired a can’t-tear-your-eyes-away short film, so why not a drink? Steeped in references to Asian theater, “Meanwhile” features startling percussive elements reminiscent of a surly nun slapping a ruler on the head of a sleepy sixth grader and pillowy clarinet interludes that lull the listener back into a false sense of security. The obvious answer for a cocktail was, of course, moonshine. Call it unaged whiskey if you like.

incidental musings on moonshine twists on the traditional martini by creating a smoky layer of pine (thank you, Top Chef finalist Sheldon for another brilliant idea) sharpened with notes of lemon. Mix it up, put on the headphones, and dive into the unknown.

incidental musings on moonshine

We literally coated our favorite moonshine — Catoctin Creek’s Mosby’s Spirit — in saké for this music-inspired tipple — creating a sweet-and-sour contrast that hits just at the back of the throat, not unlike that nun with the ruler.

3 ounces unaged white whiskey (a.k.a. moonshine)

1/2 ounce chilled saké (learn more about saké here; we like something lightly floral and mildly acidic, such as Sho Chiku Bai Ginjo)

fresh lemon peel, about 1″ x 2.5″

6-inch piece of pine branch (steal it from your neighbor’s yard or the dog park if you don’t have your own pine tree)

Hold the pine branch over an open flame until the needles are lightly charred and it begins to smoke. Put it in a heat-safe bowl with the lemon peel, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it sit for five minutes. Remove the pine branch, place it in a cocktail shaker with the moonshine and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Put the saké in a chilled martini glass and swirl until the inside of the glass is completely coated. Pour the excess into the shaker, remove the pine branch, add a couple of ice cubes, and shake vigorously. Strain into glass and garnish with pine-smoked lemon peel.