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Julep Jubilee … Oh good God …

… and so here we are.  Sonny and Cher.  Mary Matalin and James Carville.  Low personal income tax rates resulting in higher revenues to the treasury.  Aquavit and Islay scotch.  What do these things have in common?  These are matches that on paper shouldn’t work and yet some how they do, and in some cases quite well.  Such is the situation we find ourselves in today on our little journey into julep making heaven and it is because we stand at our counter facing two equally bold, confident and deeply flavorful spirits — aquavit and Islay whisky.  You got it — we are pairing this duo in a julep and we’ll see what we get.

So how did we arrive at this flavor cross roads?  Bottle diving can be fun but it can also be awkward, as was the case when reaching for my bottle of Krogstad I almost knocked over the bottle of Lagavulin sitting next to it.  Seemed like fate to me and so we sat about creating something with both.  Truth be told, when originally considering an aquavit based julep my first thought was to try to create a version of a Sazerac built in julep form using the aquavit as the base (subbing for the anise flavors of the Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe).  While I enjoyed the resulting work, it struck a rather flat note to me and I wanted more.

The drink below was a natural extension of wanting something a little different than my Saz-riffed julep and a little fun play at the counter.  I love honey with scotch and yellow Chartreuse heightens this profile.  Surprisingly, it is a flavor profile that also pairs perfectly well with aquavit.  The heavily peated flavor of the scotch tames the anise of the aquavit and when together they almost, not entirely to be true, cancel and/or tame one another.  Layer in double hits of honey and twice the sweetening magic and the calming mood takes shape.

Thus, the below red-headed step child of a drink was brought forward. The name?  A little homage to my favorite crab fishing vessel ( … think, Deadliest Catch).

Northwestern Julep
Recipe adapted by theSpeakista

•    2 oz Krogstad Aquavit
•    1/2 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask Islay whisky
•    1/2 oz honey syrup
•    1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
•    3 fresh mint leaves
Garnish: fresh sprig of mint and Peychaud’s bitters
Glass: julep glass or old fashioned glass
Tools: bar-spoon

Assembly: Take the mint leaves and “pop” them in your hands and then add to the serving glass.  Build the remaining ingredients in the glass as a julep — add the ingredients to the glass and fill the glass half way with crushed ice and using your bar-spoon, swizzle the mixture for a minute or so until the glass begins to frost.  Top the glass with more crushed ice and garnish with the mint and bitters.

An award winning recipe from one of my favorite bartenders is on tap next.

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