The second of our Stephen King cocktails feature characters from back-to-back novels written from 1989 to 1991. The first we named after The Dark Half villain, the hard-drinking George Stark. The George Stark is a riff off the very-manly Sazerac. The difference is the homemade peppermint-horehound syrup. While you don’t have to be a diabolical killer to enjoy these two cocktails, it helps.
40 peppermint leaves
40 horehound leaves
6 bronze fennel fronds (3-4 inches in length)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Dissolve the sugar in water, stirring over medium heat until syrup starts a slow boil. Add all plant material. Simmer uncovered for 4-5 minutes; plant materials should wilt. Strain through cheesecloth. Syrup should have a natural yellow hue.
1 1/2 ounce rye (I used Jim Beam)
1/2 ounce peppermint-horehound syrup
3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
2 orange peels
Pack a rocks glass or whiskey glass with ice, set aside. In a second glass muddle an orange peel with the syrup. Add the rye to this mixture. Empty ice from the first glass. Pour the rye mixture (except the muddled peel) into the cold glass without ice. This drink is served neat. Add the dashes of Peychaud’s bitters over the top of the drink. Twist a fresh orange peel over the drink and rub the rim of the glass with the peel.
Place the peel in the drink.
2 ounces rye whiskey
1 teaspoon simple syrup
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Splash of Herbsaint
Same as the George Stark except the bitters are placed in the glass during the original muddle. The cold glass gets a wash of Herbsaint or absinthe before the rye mixture is added. To wash a glass with a liqueur, pour about a half ounce of the liqueur in the glass and swirl the glass gently until the liqueur climbs the sides. It is a personal preference whether you keep a small pool of Herbsaint at the bottom of the glass after the wash.
Our second drink is called a Needful Thing. It is a sweetened champagne cocktail that is based on the classic St. Germain drink, the Nomayo. Try them both.
3/4 ounce St. Germain
3/4 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce blue curaçao
In an iced mixing glass, add St. Germain, Aperol and curacao. Stir with 40 revolutions. Strain into a champagne glass or flute. Cap with chilled champagne to taste.
1 1/2 parts gin (I like Tanqueray here)
3/4 parts St. Germain
1/2 part Aperol
1/2 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients but the champagne into an iced shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. Cap with cold champagne to taste. Garnish with an orange peel.