Good Evening, Mr. Underhill

Mr Underhill's Best Cocktail

My main objective in this week’s Alphatini was a more-or-less savory cocktail; we’ve had a lot of sweet going on and it’s nice to mix things up a bit.

Pun unintended.

But we’re on the letter U and, well, I was at a bit of a loss since I’d already used my upside-down-cake inspiration.

As it so happens, though, I’ve been hard at work on What to Feed Your Raiding Party and this past weekend inspiration struck as I was inking the cover to a Lord of the Rings-style comics chapter I was reminded of the hobbits and Frodo Baggins in particular.

In the scene at the Prancing Pony he gives an alias, a Mr Underhill. And Bag End and all the rest of Hobbiton is so green and lively that is proved the perfect inspiration for a savory cocktail with a botanical base.

Mr Underhill’s Best

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
1/2 oz Galliano
1/2 oz Apple Juice
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
garnish: 3 olives

In a mixing glass half full of ice, combine the liquid ingredients and stir and time or two, plus a few more for good measure. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with some speared olives.

I’d planned to garnish it with a sprig of Rosemary from the little bush I’d bought just after Thanksgiving but, alas, my green thumb has proven non-existent once again and the poor thing didn’t make it a week past New Years. Last time I tried to keep one I over-watered it, this time I think it suffered the curse of my overcompensation (i.e. under-watering).

Now, as to the ingredients, originally I’d planned this to be an all-alcohol cocktail–hence the stirring. But on first taste the various spirits needed something than a little melt-water to make them nice and merry, so I looked to my mixer shelf to see what could work without being too sweet. Apple juice was the safest bet and I’m quite happy with the way it softens the harder edges of the individual liquors without being too bossy. You do tend to get a nice, light apple aftertaste, which is a nice finish–I think–to an otherwise bracing, savory cocktail.

It’s also a rather wee cocktail, coming in at under 3 ounces, so perfect for those trying to imbibe with moderation after, perhaps, excessive celebration the previous months.

And +10 imaginary points if you caught the Hugo Weaving crossover nod in the title of this post.

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