Monday, November 22, 2010

HARRY POTTER COCKTAILS.

One of your bartender's favorite books is Gone with the Wind. (I know, this post is about Harry Potter, not Scarlett O'Hara...but bear with me here.) The first cocktail book I ever owned is something called the Cocktail Bible, which is actually pretty terrible, as cocktail books go. (Creme de menthe in a long island iced tea...whaaat?) But on page 98, I found something that piqued my interest - signature cocktails for all the major characters in Gone with the Wind. (The Scarlett O'Hara - cranberry juice, SoCo, and a bit of lime - is pretty delicious.*) I loved it. It was the ultimate exercise in higher-level thinking...turn a fictional character into a cocktail. I could do this, right? I could totally do this.

*Disclaimer: I have not tried any of the others. Although maybe tonight is the night for a Rhett Butler??

Your bartender also loves Harry Potter - and the first installment of the last movie of the Harry Potter series came out this Friday, so what better excuse to cook up some delicious, creative, and original cocktails? I know that none of the Harry Potter kids are actually old enough to drink...but once they turned 18 (or 21 here in the US), here's what they would be quaffing.

The Hermione Granger

Here's what I was thinking when I started thinking about what would go into the Hermione cocktail...Hermione is a strong woman. She's smart, and she's very good at what she does (magic, being a giant deus ex machina), but that doesn't make her any less feminine. The casting agents could hardly have known that Emma Watson would grow from a bushy-haired know-it-all into the beautiful young woman she is today, but it's only appropriate: seventh-year Hermione Granger is both beautiful and intimidatingly smart. (In the words of Janis Ian: "Suck on that.") The Hermione cocktail is based on a lot of flavors (sloe gin, pomegranate, grapefruit) that are strong and manage to achieve that perfect sweet-tart balance. Together with champagne (fizzy, delicious, feminine without being weak) they combine to form a lovely cocktail.

Hermione Granger
1.5 oz sloe gin (Get the Plymoth. Usually I'm not a big pusher of top-shelf liquors, but trust me: you need the Plymoth. use the cheap sloe gin and this cocktail will taste like medicine.)
1 oz gin
.75 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur
.5 oz red grapefruit juice (Rio star!)
1.5 oz brut champagne

Combine the ingredients in a pint glass full of ice. Stir lovingly for 30 seconds (or more), and then strain into a cocktail glass.

The Ron Weasley

Ahh, Ron Weasley. A little bit Samwise Gamgee, a little bit everyman. The Ron Weasley started out with the pairing of whiskey (so manly!) and Campari (a bitter, very red Italian liquer). Because Ron is manly, a little bit rough - and a little bit bitter. (I would be, too, if my best friend were the second coming.) The pairing of whiskey and Campari presented me with more than a little bit of trouble, and a lot of drunken, frustrated weekday nights sampling versions of a Ron Weasley that turned out to be absolutley disgusting. I wanted to make my Ron Weasley with Jack Daniels, which is very headstrong young man, but it didn't start to gel until I switched to rye whiskey, which a bit more old-school. But hey - in addition to trying to stay true to the characters, I am also trying to make drinks that taste good. The Ron Weasley owes a little bit to the Old Pal, appropriately, and also a bit to the Blood and Sand - in its essence, it is manly, strong, a bit sweet, and a little bitter.

Ron Weasley
1.5 oz rye whiskey
.75 oz cherry brandy (I used cherry heering.)
.5 oz campari
.5 oz sweet vermouth
1.0 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice

Directions: same as the Hermione. Make sure you give the ice plenty of time to melt. This one is potent.

The Harry Potter

I will admit that I was completely without direction on the Harry Potter. Harry Potter's friends start off as carricatures and slowly morph into real people, which makes their transition into alcoholic drinks easier, but Harry Potter himself is a bit harder to pin down. It was Rachel who gave me the idea to start Harry off with chocolate - a very familiar, very everyman, very boy-next-door taste. Combine that with butterscotch and you have a sweet, warming cocktail. Add a teeny bit of absinthe and you have something sweet and familiar - with just a hint of something sinister. SPOILERS.

Harry Potter
1 oz vodka
1 oz dark creme de cacoa
1 oz butterscotch schnapps
1/2 oz heavy cream
1/2 tsp absenthe

Directions: See Hermione.

And the Verdict: I had a Harry Potter Cocktail Party, because how could I not? All the Harry Potter cocktails were a big hit. (I was a bit worried I just liked them because I'm a huge lush.) Hermione: sweet, a bit tart to balance it all out, a good starter for the other drinks. Ron: Very strong. Dudes liked this cocktail, while my girl friends tended to (not surprisingly, I suppose) prefer the Hermione. Some guys even went so far as to say that I gave Ron too much credit, and the drink was manlier than Ron himself. Ouch. The Harry Potter got good reviews: some people compared it to a white russian, or a buttery nipple; I think the taste is a bit more complicated than that. Sweet, but not too sweet. The little bit of absenthe makes you think. Like any good cocktail. Like any good book.

Now, dear reader, I think I will settle down with the Deathly Hallows a and stiff drink. (And these are all stiff drinks. Don't say I didn't warn you. :) Perhaps you should do the same.

And now...even more Harry Potter cocktails. Check out part 2 for Luna, Draco, Neville and Snape.

12 comments:

  1. Those sound awesome. I'm all kinds of sad to have missed the HP cocktail party. Generally I'm sad to miss any/all of your cocktail parties. My alcohol collection is currently pretty limited, but, when I collect some of these ingredients I'll be sure to give these a try.

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  2. Dude, I'm sad for you to miss my cocktail parties, too. And I'm cookin up some delicious recipes for your Bacardi Gold rum as we speak. :)

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  3. My heart is breaking at the fact that I missed this party.

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  4. What a neat concept! My weird collection of spirits meant I could make the Harry (who just has absenthe laying around? Me I guess!) It was sweet, creamy and with a little strange "bite" from the absenthe - nice example of a character on the pallet.

    I found cocktails that look like they were based on things you could actually find in Hogsmeade on http://www.partythroughtheparks.com/islands-of-adventure-drinks/tag/harry-potter-cocktails , each one has a cool back story. Like the "Golden Pumpkin" says "Originally drunk as an elixir to keep acromantulas at bay, this delicious cocktail has been found to also cure deathly chills on a cold night." They're soooo tasty - except for the hot buttered pumpkin, hot liquor is not my thing!

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  5. This is awesome. Perfect recipes for the party we want to have soon.

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  6. I guess we'll be quaffing the Harry tonight--don't even need to hit the store for anything.

    Thinking back to your intro re/Gone With the Wind, I don't know what would be in an Aunt Pittypat, but I'm pretty sure it would be one incredibly revolting cocktail! Now a Belle Watling would probably be good...

    Cheers!

    Carol

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  7. AWESOME. I have linked this to every HP fan I am in contact with, which is a few. Dozen.

    They sound great, and I'm especially impressed that you really thought about how the characters translate into ingredients, rather than just slap a name on a cutesy cocktail. Well done, sir and/or madam!

    We have a bottle of absenthe we brought back from Italy three years ago. The end of HP may be the special occasion needed to try it: "I open at the close." :)

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  8. You should add Hagrid to this list! Something strong/proteiny and hairy would be fitting, methinks!

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  9. It's a shame I'm catching this post so late, 'cause you hit the nail on the head from the sound of it.

    I was just thinking, chocolate is a fantastic place to start for Harry because of all his trouble with the dementors. Remember the remedy Lupin taught him in Book 3?

    Stop by my blog at popsophia.blogspot.com

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  10. That's a great point about the chocolate - I never even thought of that. Apparently I'm more of a drink-mixing genius than even I realize. :)

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  11. I have a request: a grown up butterbeer recipe... I am in dire need of one!!

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  12. It's fitting that the Harry Potter cocktail is a bit of a golden color. In the books, polyjuice potion made from Harry's hair turned clear, bright gold in color.

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