Until Firefox gets the hang of tracking paths through the browser history, I can’t quite say exactly who started this idea in motion, but I can say what did: an article on using one’s discarded Christmas tree in various dishes, which crossed my transom around about the same time as Imbibe Magazine‘s 2010 Christmas card, which features a cocktail called Walk in the Woods containing Zirbenz, a Swiss liqueur made from the fruit of the Arolla Stone Pine. I doubted that anyone else in the house would like to have their lunch garnished with fir, so why not use it to make a drink?
After removing the Douglas Fir from the house, I dismembered it to simplify handling, then moved it to the garage. It was a fairly warm day, as far as the days this January went, but I’d rather not work in a foot or more of snow. There it sat until this past Monday. I then removed some of the more fragrant needles from the branches and washed them. Yesterday I put a handful or so in a 16 oz. Mason jar. This covered the bottom of the jar to about a 2 inch depth. I then added Tito’s Handmade Vodka up to the 12 oz. mark, put the top on, and let it sit for 24 hours. The result was strained through cheese cloth into an empty Tuthilltown whiskey bottle.
Some experimentation might be needed to determine the optimal infusion time: the result is bitter. And it smells just like the tree. It’s too bitter to drink straight, so what’s to be done? A cocktail!
The Naval Stores Cocktail
- 1 oz. Appleton Estate VX Rum
- 1/2 oz. Douglas Fir-infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- 2 tsp. sugar
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold, then strain into your favorite glass. Serve straight up, without garnish.
I was experimenting as I built this, so the first version was built in an old-fashioned glass, and only shaken to chill. Dissolve the sugar in the vodka infusion, then add rum and lime. Add ice to your shaker, then the liquids, and shake until cold. You might want to sweeten to taste.
(This one is much better than my first attempt at making a cocktail from scratch, so some folks should prepare to be drinking it.)