I’m jumping on the pop culture bandwagon this week with a themed offering, although I’m doing it in my own special way. As everyone who has been paying even the tiniest fraction of attention in the world knows, Game of Thrones has become a global obsession. The name refers to the title of the first novel in the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, first published in 1996. The series chronicles the lives of several royal dynasties (and an additional supernatural “undead” army thrown in for good measure) all vying for control of the fictional land Westeros and the ultimate prize, the Iron Throne. Martin envisions a total of seven books in the series, and has published the first five to date. While the books have been best sellers, the phenomenon really took off due to the HBO production, now in its eighth and final season. The very last episode, with a battle scene reported to be the biggest in film history, airs this weekend.
To toast this monumental throne and epic cultural event I’ve created a special themed cocktail as well, of course. As this final episode will surely be the last word in the series (except for the two unpublished novels and ignoring the whole undead thing going on here which just messes with the finality of everything – but these are minor details) it seemed appropriate to make a Last Word variation. This classic cocktail is a recurring theme here. The four basic ingredients are easy to vary in ways that always create something new and delicious. Although the GOT world is fictional, it definitely has a medieval European feel to it. I decided to use aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit, as the base, to channel some of that feeling. The other ingredients in a Last Word are a citrus, an herbal liqueur (typically Chartreuse) and a sweet liqueur. For the latter I’ve resurrected something I made in the past for another amazing LW variation I called “The Alexandrian Solution
”. It’s a homemade “kornelkirsch”, traditionally made from the berries of the cornelian cherry tree (whose branches made the famous Gordian Knot of legend). The flavor has been described as a cross between cranberry and sour cherry. For my homemade version I infused some sour cherry into cranberry liqueur with outstanding results.
The cocktail’s name references Scandinavia and the time of the Vikings. If you didn’t know any better, you might think you were watching a bunch of Vikings on an episode of GOT (especially the Night’s Watch), so it just seemed to make sense. Granted, GOT has its own mythologies and religions, but in the Norse mythologies, there are nine worlds, all connected by the giant tree “Yggdrasil”, the Tree of the World. Living at the base of the tree are the three ‘Norns”, female beings who rule the destiny of the gods and men. They care for and nourish the tree, with water from the Well of Fate. One of these three is Fate herself, known as “Urdr”, more often depicted simply as “Urd”. In Old English she is known as “Wyrd”. I suspect she will have something to say about who assumes the Iron Throne. The cocktail’s name also references the puzzle box. Don’t spit out your drink when you catch on. If Fate should have it, perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to try this drink for yourself one day too. Here’s to epic battles, clever crafts, plays on wyrds, double entendres, and literary masterpieces you can enjoy in the bathroom. Cheers!
The Last Urd
¾ oz aquavit
¾ oz yellow Chartreuse
¾ oz sour cherry infused cranberry liqueur
Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into an appropriately medieval looking vessel. Spill all over your beard as you drink.
For the puzzle box "throne" that pairs with this cocktail see:
Boxes and Booze: A Game of Thrones