The Chinese New Year, beginning on January 23, 2012, ushered in the Year of the Dragon. To celebrate, try this week’s Friday Cocktail, the Green Dragon.
This drink dates back at least to 1964, as it’s included in the Old Mr. Boston de luxe Official Bartender’s Guide (28th edition) from that year. Coincidentally, 1964 was also the Year of the Dragon.
Now a word about one of the drink’s more unique ingredients… Kümmel is a sweet, colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seeds and cumin. It’s most well-known in Northern Europe and should be generally available. If not, aquavit, a similarly flavored Nordic spirit, could be used as a substitute.
What you’ll need: Gin, Kümmel, Green Creme de Menthe, Orange Bitters, and Lemon Juice.
In a shaker over cracked ice, pour in 1/4 ounce lemon juice (fresh if possible), 1 1/2 ounces of gin, and 1/2 each of green creme de menthe and Kümmel. Add in 4 dashes of bitters. Shake and then strain into a cocktail glass.
Alternatively, you may coat the edge of your glass with lemon juice and then rim with sugar and/or garnish with a twist of lemon.
How I like it: This is a flavorful drink, but it’s likely to have limited appeal. Perhaps best for those cocktail connoisseurs! For this cocktail, I’m more likely to add 1/2 ounce of lemon juice instead of a mere 1/4 ounce. Also, lacking Kümmel, I used an Icelandic Schnapps Fjallagrasa (which is akin to aquavit). Aquavit (named for the Latin, aqua vītae, “water of life”) is a Scandinavian spirit flavored with a mix of herbs and spices.
Upon first taste, I thought “eww.” However, the subtle blend of flavors in the Green Dragon soon grew on me. Again, a unique drink for connoisseurs.
Avoid the wrath of the dragon and drink responsibly!