Bursera graveolens, Palo Santo, 'holy wood.' Wooded musk, smoke, and waxed forest floor. A native tree to from the Yucatán down to the Peru, that alone fills a room unmistakably, and when charred cleanses. Fitting for a new year.
Montauk Pine, hand harvested with friends and family, in the salt and breeze of the East End. Resin, citrus, and warmth, so uniquely seasonal in scent that it's most convincing descriptor is eponymous.
Holiday + Rituals, our final Look Left release of 2021. Perfectly adapted to fill the season of jovial time spent near fires and at dinners with yet more of that year's end viscerality.
Both of these spirit are simple and bold--they are as advertised, of the forest, fragrant, and timely. So, here in the last week of a long year we offer two recommendations to mix that try in earnest to uphold a seasonal bargain of cocktail pairing.
I first tried a boozed drinking chocolate in 2011. It was served with Mezcal added by a bar great to me at an all time great bar. For Rituals a spiced version of this lamented drink seemed to good to pass by. No real recipe here first melt down a bar of 70% or more dark chocolate (I prefer Taza Stone Ground) in a double boiler or saucepan. Meanwhile bring to a boil a cup of water with one stick of cinnamon soft or hard and one star anise. With the hot water, spices removed, and natural cane sugar dilute and sweeten the chocolate to taste. Start with about a spoonful of sugar and 3 ounces of water. In a small coffe cup add Rituals a shot of Palo Santo spirit to 5 ounces or so of drinking chocolate. Keeping with the time of year, make a few for your surrounding friends and family.
For Holiday, the obviousness of the solution was oh so stark, a Last Word. This pre-prohibition classic, lost for two generations and then found by the legendary Murray Stenson, and featured at Seattle's staple Zig Zag, pairs the pungent Marashino and Chartreuse Green with lime, shaken in equal parts with the evergreen notes of London Dry Gin. For an gusty twist sub out the gin for spirit of Montauk Pine and think ponder snow on sand dunes and the sound of a wind onshore through the trees.