Had to share this great recipe created by Alex Smith who works at Honor in Emeryville, CA. It’s a superb vehicle for the homemade clove bitters I posted about earlier. Delicious and seasonal!

Belsnickle ✯✯✯✯1/2
1 1/2 oz apple brandy
1 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz cranberry liqueur
3 dashes clove bitters

Stir and strain. Garnish with fresh cranberries on a pick.

How To: Homemade Clove Bitters

1. Purchase a 4 oz bottle of Angostura bitters.

2. Pat yourself on the back, because it’s cool to make your own stuff.

3. Deposit five whole cloves into the bottle.

4. Allow to steep for 48 hours, shaking the bottle several times a day.

5. Pour into another container, then strain the bitters back into the bottle using a small funnel and a fine-mesh strainer, such as a tea strainer.

The Shah Sleeps holds a monthly cocktail contest called, oddly enough, Mixology Monday. To participate, I’m also supposed to post a link to Putney Farm.

MixMo logo

The theme of this round is “inversion,” or flipping traditional ratios of spirits in drinks, i.e. flipping a Manhattan to have two parts vermouth and one part whiskey, etc. I feel like my The Shah Sleeps cocktail fits the bill by putting amaro forward as the base ingredient augmented by apple brandy.

Had a moment of real inspiration the other night after having already downed one cocktail and listening to one of my favorite bands, the Butthole Surfers. It’s about time somebody paid homage to them in the form of a beverage. Speaking of having more than one drink, I recently had a conversation with a friend who is spiritually inclined and believes that alcohol is one of God’s greatest gifts. This is something I think about a lot. I’ve decided the magic number for cocktails in a day is 1 (not that I adhere to this rule absolutely, or even frequently). It relaxes you, inspires you, puts you in a different headspace, but doesn’t inebriate or dehydrate you. It also doesn’t mess with your sleep (in my case, anyway). I believe “God” (if you want to call it that) can be found in moderation. With every gift given to us comes a challenge: will you abuse it with your brain-stem, animal self, or will you rise to the occasion and approach it with reverence and restraint, from your cerebral cortex? For creatives like me, a drink is like a sacrament. A source of inspiration, but also a temptation. The concept of the razor’s edge is never more true than when applied to imbibing. There you go: Butthole Surfers and God discussed in the same post. You’re welcome. Anyway, a drink:

The Shah Sleeps ✯✯✯✯✯
1 1/2 oz amaro Montenegro
1 oz Pays d’Auge Calvados
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 tsp green Chartreuse
1/4 tsp allspice dram

Stir and strain into an chilled cocktail glass and float an orange peel.

Deeth Starr

OK. Jeeze! Time for a drink. It’s been too long. The name of this one will only mean something to you if you’ve ever taken Interstate 80 through Nevada, which a lot of people might have you believe is a bad time, but I beg to differ, having done it many times in the last 27 years. Trust me. And stay in Winnemucca. This one isn’t in the book; I whipped it up just now. It aspires to be in the next book!

Deeth Starr ✯✯✯✯1/2
1 oz pisco
1 oz Strega
1 oz Cynar
2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.