First off, this is not a Tiki drink. Even at the stretch of the imagination, this might have a hard time getting accepted into the fold. I’m not looking for its acceptance, but maybe a little imagination. For it was imagination that took me on a ride, and brought me to this drink. So please forgive a break from the genre I originally theoried to uphold.
J.R.R. Tolkien‘s tale, particularly the land of Rohan, was my inspiration of a life not easily endured, but a proud life of honor and dedication. I came home from work one day with a mind of experiments – visualizing something tasting of honey, doubting I would find success in a recipe. Thinking of what I was going to write, perhaps even breaking from my normal style by writing a little story of a paragraph or two, but decided against it, I might have been the only to enjoy the blather. If you know Tolkien’s work, great, if not – think of rolling grasslands of a horse-riding culture. There’s obviously more to it than that, but that brief description will serve well enough.
Regarded as the eldest of all fermented beverages, mead essentially is honey, water & yeast. There are many variations and styles, which likely have their own ranges and assortments. Melomel mead is made with honey and fruits. My cocktail could resemble the Melomel style, vague as that may sound, and pretty much what I meant. After all, I wanted honey, first, initially guessing gin the spirit to unite honey and the mystery fruit. I just knew I did not want vodka, even though vodka is universally the best spirit for mixing, that is in general – mixing with just about any flavor. I wondered about rum, rye, even tequila, but hoped gin would win in the end.
After experimenting with different spirits and juices in order to come close to the idea I wanted, the best combination proved to be gin and pear. Apple cider and gin work wondrously together, almost too good, to which I deemed another drink entirely (leaving out the honey and making a buttery, cinnamon apple syrup, thanks to the clever culinary devices of my lovely wife). When it came down to it, gin and pear told the best story on my palate.
Rohirrim Mead 1 1/2 oz dry gin 1/2 oz honey mix* 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice 1/4 oz Bärenjäger 1 oz pear puree (or 1/2 a pear - finely muddled, **double-strained) dash of Angostura bitters
Shake ingredients vigorously until shaker frosts. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist and pear slice.
*Honey Mix: Equal parts honey to boiling water. I generally boil a small amount of water in the microwave, then stir it into the jigger with the honey. And if you can – buy local honey.
**Double-staining: While using the hawthorn strainer or a julep strainer for a boston shaker or a French shaker (or the built-in strainer for a cobbler shaker), pour through a fine meshed strainer as well to catch smaller particles. Single-staining simply keeps chunks of ice (or muddled debris) from the drinking glass. Double-straining targets smaller particles. Any kind of tool will work, weather for the bar, kitchen, or even any sink in your home. My back-up strainer I bought in the plumbing section of a home improvement store for a dollar and change.
I wouldn’t say this drink has the proportions of drinking from a tankard. However, it wouldn’t seem unheard of to mix a double if nothing more than belting from a larger container. Therefore, I will leave this to one who said it better:
“The horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the deep… one last time. Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red dawn. Forth Eorlingas!!” — King Theoden