2 oz Blended Scotch
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz Maple Syrup
Muddle the blueberries and bitters in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into an empty rocks glass. Garnish with a blueberry and lemon claw.
This month’s mixology monday is for all the obsessives out there. Beca at The Shrubbery recognizes that people like to obsess over many things, not just cocktails. Her challenge is taking that same passion and translating it into a drink, showing that nerdiness doesn’t stop at the bar. She goes on to define a nerdy pursuit as …”anything from or related to science, science fiction, fantasy, video games, role playing games/characters, or comics”.
While not a particularly big comic book guy growing up, I did manage develop a love for the X-men. This was mostly thanks to the animated series that ran in the mid nineties (check out the amazing metal intro that aired in Japan). It really spoke to my adolescent male sensibilities, and Wolverine (aka Logan) was one of my favorite characters. His gruff, wisecracking personality was music to my 12 year old ears.
Being a pre-teen boy who played a lot of sports, I certainly had my share of bumps of bruises. Maybe that’s why Wolverine’s accelerated mutant healing ability seemed so cool. Whenever I played the “if I could have any super power” game, that one was always at the top of my list.
Couple my love of the animated version with the re-introduction on film in the early aughts, and Logan seemed like the perfect subject for a nerdy drink. Thinking about how to build the drink, I came back to his healing powers. Maybe something with a medicinal quality could work here. Behind all the bitterness and menthol notes, I always felt like there was something restorative about Fernet. Whiskey felt like the natural choice for a drink based around the notoriously surly mutant. At this point I realized I was headed in a Toronto direction, but given that Wolverine is actually Canadian, I decided to run with it. Maple syrup as the sweetener is another reference to our neighbors to the north. Utilizing a smokey scotch instead of rye honors his love of cigars. And the muddled blueberries and lemon garnish are a nod to the color scheme of his uniform in the cartoon.
The Alkali Lake starts off with the classic Fernet bite, but the smokey scotch and rich maple syrup are able to balance it out nicely. These two flavors really bring a deeper complexity to the drink. Mild tartness from the blueberries keeps the syrup from making things too sweet. A slightly thicker body helps all the flavors mingle nicely.
The name is a reference to the fictional location of a secret bunker in the X2 movie. Located in Canada, it’s a wonderful fit for a Toronto riff. In the film, Alkali Lake is also the place where Wolverine got his famous adamantium skeleton.