Lallybroch: A cocktail inspired by Outlander

Botanist David Douglas was born in Scone [pronounced Skoon], Scotland in 1798. As a young man he apprenticed as a gardener before attracting the attention of Dr. William Jackson Hooker of Glasgow University. Douglas assisted Dr. Hooker in collecting materials for his epic Flora Scotia; or a description of Scottish plants. When Dr. Hooker consulted by the secretary of the Horticultural Society for a person suitable for a Botanical expedition to North America, he recommended Douglas as "an individual eminently calculated to do himself credit as a scientific traveler" (Nisbet, 7). 

David Douglas (1799-1834). Image via

David Douglas (1799-1834). Image via

After proving himself on a collecting trip to the eastern United States (and Canada) in 1823, he was chosen for a second expedition to the Pacific Northwest. He sailed from London on the William and Mary in July of 1824, finally landing at Cape Disappointment on April 9, 1825, eventually making his way to Fort Vancouver (present-day Vancouver, Washington). He explored the area extensively, including: the Willamette, Chehalis, and Cowlitz rivers; the Washington coast; the Columbia Basin; the Snake and Spokane rivers; and the Blue Mountains of Oregon. He traveled thousands of miles and collected hundreds (at least 500) of specimens, many of which arrived back to England before he did. His collection was met with great acclaim. In fact, the popular name of one of the seeds he brought back to the United Kingdom still bears his name today: Douglas-fir

Now, if you want to get technical, the Douglas-fir is actually not a fir tree at all (hence the hyphenated title). Discovered first by Archibald Menzies in 1791 during George Vancouver's expedition (scientific name Pseudotsuga menziesii), Douglas-fir is the second tallest conifer in the world after the coast redwood. In any case, the seeds brought back from the Pacific Northwest by David Douglas were planted in England and Scotland. Many of the tallest trees in Scotland are Douglas-firs that came from Washington or Oregon thanks to David Douglas. 

The Cocktail

I got to thinking of Douglas-fir because I've spied the bright green tips of new growth as I walked about town over the past couple weeks, and wanted to make a syrup from them. You can make a syrup with the regular needles (I've done so out of desperation in the past), but the new growth is more tender and brighter in flavor. The taste of Douglas-fir syrup is very light and delicate-- there's a freshness that feels almost mint-like on the tongue, and a hint of lemon on the nose. I snagged a branch and brought it home one night to make a small batch of syrup without having much of a plan for how I'd use it. 

When I learned that the Douglas-fir trees of Scotland and England have a Pacific Northwest lineage, I knew that I wanted it to become part of an Outlander-Inspired cocktail. Sure, David Douglas was a Scot, but his life as an explorer was what really caught my attention.  His journal entries illustrate a man who paid close attention to his natural surroundings (though, one might argue that he was ultimately undone by them). He was a natural collector and observer who changed the landscape of the world with his travels. 

I think Claire reminds me of him a little. 

I know that David Douglas wasn't born until well after Claire's arrival through the stones, but since when have we little the small problem of time get in our way when it comes to OutlanderDouglas-fir syrup didn't seem like the right fit for a reimagining of a Claire cocktail, though. I wanted to make something that played with a physical location in the books.

Lallybroch is the endearing name given to Broch Tuarach-- the fictional home of James Fraser. Broch Tuarach means "north-facing tower" in Gaelic, and Lallybroch (as the estate is known among those who live there) in turn means "lazy tower," an homage to its leaning nature. When I imagine Lallybroch I see a pastoral, idyllic country estate. 

At Lallybroch itself, I poked about the house and grounds, making myself useful wherever I could, mostly in the gardens. Besides the lovely little ornamental garden, the manor had a small herb garden and an immense kitchen garden or kailyard that supplied turnips, cabbages, and vegetable marrows. (Outlander, ch. 28)

I wanted to develop a drink that would taste like the sweet smells of a summer garden: Botanicals and flowers mingling with sweet orange, a pronounced scent of rose without a rose-heavy flavor.

His mother, Ellen, had planted the late-blooming rosebush by the door. Its faint, rich scent still wafted up the walls of the house to the bedroom window. It was as though she reached in herself, to touch him lightly in passing. To touch me, too, in welcome. 
Beyond the house itself lay Lallybroch; fields and barns and village and crofts. He had fished in the stream that ran down from the hills, climbed the oaks and towering arches, eaten by the hearthstone of every croft. It was his place. (Dragonfly in Amber, ch. 3)

Lallybroch is a place where-- like the series itself-- ancestry and the future collide. It's introduced to the reader as a place of refuge, but it is also Jamie's birthright. This week on the Starz adaptation we will get to see the television interpretation of this place. I'm so excited to taste this drink while I watch Lallybroch come to life on screen. 

Lallybroch: A cocktail inspired by Outlander

By Sara Galactica.

What you'll need:

  • 2 oz gin 
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Douglas-fir syrup
  • 1/2 tsp rose-infused apple cider vinegar (or plain apple cider vinegar if you want to keep things simple)
  • 5 drops Angostura bitters

Rose-infused apple cider vinegar:

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp dried rose petals with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

Allow petals to steep for about 30 minutes.

Strain & set aside. 

Rose-infused apple cider vinegar for the Lallybroch cocktail. |

What to do:

In an empty cocktail shaker or pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir gently.

Fill container about halfway with ice and stir thoroughly until well chilled (about 45 seconds). 

Strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with rose petals or orange twist.

Sip & enjoy.


*No Douglas-fir? No problem. Try making spruce syrup, rosemary simple syrup, or just use regular old simple syrup if need be. 

"She lets Jamie learn."

Reader response to this post regarding Outlander's Jamie Fraser:

I've had strong reactions to HIMself MYself, (particularly in later books that I won't go into here) when Jamie's been a thoroughly 18th century ass. 

We, as readers, know there will be more episodes when we find Jamie insufferable, either because of the casual violence. the sense of entitled pride, or the Romish rigidity that characterizes his presence in all the books. But it's of course not really Jamie we're reacting to -- it's Diana's masterful writing.  

In the punishing scene, Jamie responds as a man of his time and place and station did and would. But Diana's smarter than that. She lets Jamie learn. She foresaw the pushback and knows how we feel about what we perceive as abuse and they didn't. Diana strives for historical accuracy within the fictional narrative and she manages to redeem Jamie for us, at least in part, by having him realize that he was reacting as taught -- traditionally, as his father and grandfather would have reacted -- and that his relationship with Claire calls for something different.  

So he swears that hot oath on his blade (pearl clutching indeed, and fanning) and Claire reinforces it when Jamie's at his most vulnerable. Deed done. Historically plausible (mostly), romantically and sweatily satisfying, with Claire in the, um, drivers seat.

I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with Jamie either -- the angst would be exhausting and I mean how many times can you get abducted and rescued, even with tartans and pipes? But Diana knows what she's about -- and as objectionable as it may get, ultimately, she knows what keeps us reading and watching and she knows what turns us on.

Thank you, Ginny, for your fabulous response! 

What do you think? Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter to keep the conversation going.

Game of Thrones Cocktails... Soon.

I'm working hard behind the scenes on a couple of new cocktails inspired by Game of Thrones, but they aren't quite right yet. I've seen a lot of drinks inspired by this series (show/books). Some look pretty tasty, and others look like a cruel joke you'd play on a friend who's recently reached legal drinking age. Is there ever another reason to resort to Goldschläger?* 

So while I tidy-up my drinks and get them ready for your consumption, I thought I'd share some cocktails other's have made inspired by the same characters/story elements I'll be drawing from: Melisandre & The Night's Watch. Perhaps you'll want to do a compare/contrast? Y'know. For science. 

*Maybe with hot chocolate. Maybe.


Bloody Melisandre by Winter is Coming
The Red Priestess by Old Nan's Needles
Red Riding Hood by Saveur, reinterpreted by Booze, Sugar & Spice

The Night's Watch

The Night's Watch by Doubleneat 
The Black by Learning Mixology 
Not so much a recipe, here's a list of Game of Thrones cocktails from Blackbird in San Francisco. The Night's Watch involves some lovely sounding botanicals...

And for further Game of Thrones Nerdery

You might want to check out History Behind Game of Thrones: A blog devoted to drawing parallels between history and the stories of George R.R. Martin, including great articles, family trees, and resource lists. Though the connections are made by the writers of the blog alone, Martin himself has talked about his historical inspirations:

I am drawing from history, even though it's fantasy. I've read a lot of history, The War of the Roses, The Hundred Years War... I'm drawing largely on medieval England, medieval Scotland, some extent medieval France.


Red Jamie: A cocktail inspired by Outlander

Some minor spoilers ahead, darlings. I'm going to jump right in, so don't say I didn't warn you:

Anyone who's read Outlander* likely remembers the scene where Jamie punishes Claire by spanking her with a belt. This scene was portrayed in the most recent episode of the STARZ adaptation* this past weekend, and I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about Jamie.

Oh hey, Jamie. Hayyyyy. {Image via STARZ}

Oh hey, Jamie. Hayyyyy. {Image via STARZ}

Jamie is fetishized by many women, but he is an imperfect character with real flaws and problems. I was talking to a good friend the other day who is also in love with these books, and she admitted that while the sex would probably be hot she'd, "never want to be in a relationship with Jamie Fraser! It's all about him, all the time. No thank you."

I can hear the collective pearl-clutching across the internet right now. 

Of course he's dreamy, and he has a lot of non-sexy redeeming characteristics, but he sure isn't a perfect man. (Then again no man is, amiright?)

Some, however, would go so far as to say that his behavior is abusive at times, including (but not limited to) that spanking scene I described above. Calling Jamie a wife beater overly simplifies things. Saying that Jamie did nothing wrong overly simplifies things. There's nuance here that is difficult to grapple with as a modern woman. I don't think the "It was a different time!" defense of Jamie is quite adequate, and "She deserved it!" isn't something I ever want to hear when it comes to violence. This scene, however, is an important piece of storytelling, made even more important by the fact that it makes us uncomfortable.

Punishment for our errors. 

In the first Outlander book, Claire is manipulative. I don't mean this as an insult-- she has good reason to be. She's been hurtled 200 years before her time, and she wants to get back to her husband and her life. She finds things about the world of the past that intrigue her, and she starts to feel things for Jamie, but ultimately she's looking for a way to get home. As shown in the most recent episodes of the STARZ series, she puts everyone else in her party at risk to attempt this. 

I can't say that I would've done any differently. She saw an opportunity and she took it. Survival instincts aren't always rational, and she thought she was making a good decision at the time. She was wrong. As well-intentioned as her actions may have been, she was dishonest and she got caught. 

If you continue on in the series, you find that corporal punishment of many kinds is employed freely during Gabaldon's presentation of Scotland of yore. Today in the US we typically think of corporal punishment as being directed solely at children, but it is more broadly employed in the Outlander series. Many characters-- adults and children-- perpetrate and receive this physical punishment to atone for a variety of crimes or mistakes. 

Well, he doesn’t exactly beat her. He’s not punching her in the mouth or throwing her against the wall. He spanks her with his sword belt because she did something incredibly dangerous and nearly got them all killed. This was basically what the Highland justice was like. If you screwed up, you got punished for it, and then you were back in the good graces of the clan. That’s what he’s doing; it’s his duty as her husband basically to correct her, set her on the right path, and mind you, she doesn’t like it because she’s a twentieth-century woman. She’s very affronted that he’s hurting her. {Diana Gabaldon, interviewed by Lightspeed Magazine}

The uncomfortable truth of Jamie belting Claire is that she was held to the same standards of any other character in the books. I don't like violence and don't condone it. I also think it would have been a problem from a storytelling perspective if Claire had been treated differently. Jamie learned right and wrong this way, and was under the impression that this is how he should teach right and wrong. That it was a different time is true to an extent, but it's more that (at least in the version of this world according to Gabaldon) this is the culturally accepted way for men and women alike to take responsibility for their actions. 

Anybody over the age of thirty-five will appreciate both the cultural conflict in that scene—it’s one of my favorite scenes, in fact, because each person in it is completely right according to his or her own view of the situation, and yet, in this untenable situation, they aren’t both going to get their way. When push comes to shove, he outweighs her by eighty pounds. Most people, as I say, above a certain age will appreciate it for the inherent ironies and also for the considerable humor in the situation. {Gabaldon interviewed by Lightspeed Magazine}

Claire is a visitor from another time. Jamie's actions piss her off, and rightly so: This is not the way of a civilized marriage according to her experience. Jamie's actions were physical in nature, but the emotional pain lasted far longer, and Claire taught him that those emotional scars were as important as the physical ones. She demanded better of him. And he became better. Ish.

Was he magically without fault? Did he become the perfect husband over night? Did he never treat her poorly ever again? Nope, nope, and nope. The question of consent between the two characters in future scenes is a valid one. Rape culture plays itself out in front of us to an extent in these books, and it's challenging to know what to do with that as a reader. I am both invested in the story & characters, and conflicted by the choices Gabaldon makes with regard to sexual violence. "Well, rape happened and stuff" isn't a good enough excuse for the number of times it makes an appearance. Realism only goes so far, and rape & sexual violence isn't a strong enough storytelling device to lean on so heavily. 

Indeed, when we tell stories about antiquity (or pseudo-antiquity) we inevitably pick and choose the parts we want to focus on, and the way we frame them. Those aren’t neutral or objective choices, by any stretch of the imagination: they are itself an intentional form of storytelling, and one that demands close analysis and inevitably conveys meaning.
It’s also worth noting, however, that the show’s sexual complexity isn’t confined to women. Although it traffics heavily in stereotypes about dashing, hypermasculine warriors, it also subverts them in fascinating ways. Set in a time when masculinity was steeped in violence and dominance over women, it contains surprisingly complex representations of male sexuality, where male characters—even male romantic leads—are portrayed as virgins, and even rape survivors. {Laura Hudson, Wired}

On the other hand, we see the world (most often) through Claire's gaze, and as such are offered the opportunity to view the past from a fictional first-hand experience of a relatively modern woman. She is a fairly sexually liberated woman with a healthy libido and the confidence to get sexual satisfaction as much as she gives it. Claire is older and more experienced than Jamie, and it is through her gaze that we see him. He argues with her, pleases her, protects her, serves her, annoys her, enjoys her and pisses her off. As the series progresses their relationship deepens, but it is always flawed in a way that I find rather refreshing. We know Jamie through Claire's portrayal, and his story and character development is intertwined with hers (even when they are apart). 

Jamie is as intelligent as he is brawny, and he is constantly required to become a better man to be worthy of Claire. As the books progress, he struggles with his violent past and questions his ability to be a truly civilized man given the things he's done (or things that have been done to him). He's stubborn, cunning, loyal, charming, and conflicted. For all his faults, he is an intoxicating blend of contradictions. And that's why I love him.

The Recipe

Red Jamie: A cocktail inspired by Outlander. Scotch, gin, port, honey, bitters. |

It's taken me awhile to develop a drink for Jamie. I have one for Claire so far (which, honestly, I think I'll end up revising), and I imagine that I'll have a few for each of them by the time I'm done. Their characters go through so many changes throughout the series that one interpretation is woefully inadequate in my mind.

It seemed obvious to me that Jamie's drink involve scotch whisky, but I knew that it wouldn't be enough on its own. Without getting too spoiler-y, Jamie has reason to interact with vast shipments of alcohol during the series, one of the most notable being port. I added Hendrick's-- a widely available Scottish gin-- to bring more depth and complexity to the party. The result is a play on a Scotch cocktail (in the true, old school cocktail sense). 

This drink is all booze, but please don't let that deter you from trying it. It isn't in-your-face strong. I had my mom (who doesn't like tasting any alcohol, thankyouverymuch) test it for me, and she kept drinking it. It is lightly sweet and well balanced. Drink up, Sassenach. 

Red Jamie: A cocktail inspired by Outlander

A cocktail by Sara Galactica.

  • 1 oz scotch (more on this below)
  • 1 oz Hendrick's gin
  • 1/2 oz (1 tbsp) red port 
  • 1/2 oz (1 tbsp) warm water
  • 1 cube (1 tsp) sugar OR 1 tsp honey
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters

Add sugar to the bottom of an empty rocks glass. Add bitters and port over top, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. 

Add scotch and gin, stirring to combine. Fill glass with crushed ice, and stir thoroughly to mix and promote just the right amount of melt (about 50 seconds). If you have it, garnish with heather:

"Heather,” Roger said. “It’s more common in the summer, when the heather is blooming--then you’ll see heaps like that in front of every clan stone. Purple, and here and there a branch of the white heather--the white is for luck, and for kingship; it was Charlie’s emblem, that and the white rose.” {Voyager*}

I used a non-peaty single malt scotch when I made this drink, and it was delicious. Something on the smokier side would likely be pretty sexy, but I didn't test that flavor profile at all. If you've got a good blended scotch on hand, go ahead and use that. And, if you don't have any scotch (shit happens), rye or Irish whiskey could likely work in a pinch.

... But get some scotch, 'k? 

Red Jamie: A cocktail inspired by Outlander. Scotch, gin, port, honey, bitters. |

*Affiliate link. 

March Review: Or, Sara's attempted Sufjan mind-meld.

Where feelings run large, the music is bold, and the drinks are strong:

Thank you for reading, friends. 

Quick 'n dirty recipes: Rosemary Syrup and Rose Water

Rosemary Syrup

Rosemary syrup recipe. |
  • 1 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat on medium-high heat on stove while stirring regularly until sugar is dissolved. 

When syrup is about to simmer, add rosemary leaves. Bring to full simmer and allow to bubble for 5 minutes. 

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or paper towel. Store in a clean bottle or jar for use.

Keep in refrigerator for up to a month. 

Rose water 

Rose water recipe. |
  • 1 cup dried rose petals 
  • 3 cups boiling water 

Add dried rose petals to an empty bowl. Pour boiling water over them, stirring well.

Cover lightly with a towel or paper towel and allow to cool. 

Once water is completely cool, strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or paper towel. Store in a clean bottle or jar for use. 

Keep in refrigerator for up to one week. 

Heirloom: A cocktail inspired by Sufjan Stevens

Anyone who jumped into The Age of Adz when it came out in 2010 and hadn't listened to anything not-Illinois beforehand was probably a little confused. Its electro-apocalypti-prophetic nature is massive and unashamed, and on first listen its biggest peaks couldn't feel more different than the rest of Sufjan Stevens' work. 

But while there are big differences between Illinois and The Age of Adz, they're still more like neighboring towns than cross-country destinations. There's an invisible overlap in there somewhere, isn't there? You might sense a line that exists between them, connecting the stylistic differences to the same artist, even if they are altogether unique experiences. 

The All Delighted People EP is that line. 

Read More

Cocktail Round Up: 5 Drinks for Spring Dreaming

I collect a lot of cocktail recipes. It's my opinion that, in order to create good drinks, you've got to: a.) Try lots of drinks, b.) Be curious about how flavors work together, and c.) Be willing to learn from others. The internet is a goldmine for good recipes, but like anything else, there's a lot of crap to sift through. I figured it might be nice to do some of that sifting for you, since I'm at it already anyway.

Our little corner of the Pacific Northwest is feeling strangely Spring-y already, but Washington weather has a funny way of knocking you down a couple pegs just when you think the season is changing. Sunshine happens in February, and we tend to accept the Vitamin D with open arms... But I, for one, also give it a bit of side-eye:

Read More

Red Riding Hood: A cocktail recipe inspired by Once Upon a Time

I was getting ready to head to a friend's house the other night and wanted to bring a little somethin' with me. Have cocktail, will travel, amiright?* So I packed my fun flask with a bit of absinthe, gin, lemon juice and Grand Marnier (y'know, like ya do), and grabbed a bottle of birch beer I bought on a whim last week (apparently it's a thing). Oh: And an orange for zest. Never leave home without your garnish, y'all.

When I got to the party and mixed myself a drink I was so pleased with my little experiment that I made others try it and asked them my favorite drink-related questions: What do you like? What would you change? And my favorite: Who is it? 

Who is it?

It's a fun question for me. I had a hunch I knew what show this drink belonged to (Once Upon a Time), and a few of my friends are big fans of that show as well. It's awesome to hand someone a drink and ask them who it is because it starts a conversation about what we're drawn to in characters, what kind of stories we find attractive, etc. And that's what it's all about, right? Finding a connection to a story and celebrating it with others. Anyone can do it!

Anyway, when I asked who it was, one of the first suggestions was Red. As in Riding Hood. Looking at this drink you might expect it to be obnoxious and over the top. That shade of red, the bit of bubbles. It's sort of how I felt when I first saw Ruby-- a.k.a. Red Riding Hood-- for the first time on Once Upon a Time.

Ruby, Once Upon a Time.

I'll admit: I was being judge-y. It's what happens when I see "That Woman" now. You all know what I'm talking about. That shallow, sexpot distraction of a character who's there to look good in a tight skirt.

But Red is more than that.

Red Riding Hood, Once Upon a Time.

My friend-- I'll call him Francisco-- suggested that Red was a good fit for this cocktail because it's a little surprising. The absinthe makes this drink smell a bit like anise, but the birch beer-- with its fresh, slightly sweet, slightly root beer-y flavor-- helps keep it in check. I'm going to refrain from saying what makes the character Red so surprising because SPOILERS, but I will say that she's a lot more than she seems when the show gets going. There's a woodsy, caring, intelligent woman under that cloak. She's sweet and complex, and she deserves a drink that does her justice.

A note about this drink: You might notice that I left one of the ingredients out of the recipe below that I initially included in my fun flask above. After testing, I didn't feel like the Grand Marnier added anything bold enough to justify leaving it in. Feel free to try it with and without and see what you think! I'd love to know which you prefer.

Red Riding Hood cocktail recipe, inspired by Once Upon a Time

By Sara Galactica

What you'll need:

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz absinthe
  • Lemon juice, 1/4-1/2 oz
  • 2-4 oz birch beer
  • Orange, for garnish

How to do it:

Combine gin, absinthe and lemon juice in an empty rocks glass. Start with less lemon juice. Things are going to taste a little tart at this point in the process, but don't worry, the birch beer will mellow things out. You can always add a bit more lemon after you've added the soda if you like.

Add ice.

Top with desired amount of birch beer. Stir gently.

Add a nice orange twist. I used a vegetable peeler to get this wide piece of zest.

Red Riding Hood cocktail: Gin, absinthe, lemon, birch beer. #onceuponatime #cocktail
Red Riding Hood cocktail: Gin, absinthe, lemon, birch beer. #onceuponatime #cocktail

This photo was taken after mixing 3 or 4 drinks, which means you can make a good chunk of cocktails with one bottle of soda. If you were going to make this for a crowd like I did, I recommend using the following technique.

For a crowd

Makes 4 cocktails.

Mix 4 oz each gin & absinthe with 1-2 oz lemon juice in a small pitcher or empty cocktail shaker. Stir. Like I noted above, start with less lemon and work your way up.

Pour equal amounts (a little more than 2 oz) into each glass, over ice.

Add 3 oz birch beer to each glass.

Stir gently & garnish each glass with orange zest.

*Travel first, then have a cocktail, okay? Not the other way around. 

White Tulip: A cocktail inspired by Fringe

"I, too, attempted the unimaginable, and I succeeded... And since then, not a day has passed without me feeling the burden of that act." - Walter Bishop, "White Tulip," Fringe

I don't know where to start with Fringe, I love it so. It isn't perfect-- anyone who's seen the pilot episode can tell you that much-- but when it's good, it freaking shines. Symbolism. A detailed mythology. Round, juicy story arcs.

It took me pretty much the entire first season of the show to truly care about the characters. I didn't dislike the show, but it didn't hit me until the second season got rolling that I was totally and utterly invested in the characters and their fate. Now that I've watched the first season again, I think this is because, as a viewer, I developed an attachment to the characters at about the same rate as they developed attachments to each other. Their relationships build rather slowly despite the weird and creepy things that happen to them. I don't know if this was intentional on the part of the writers, but it feels like you're part of the rag tag team forming in front of you, and you can almost miss that it's happening until shit goes down and you suddenly realize that you care what happens to everyone else.


Read More

Cocktail preview: White Tulip

It's Monday, and that means it's time for a preview of tomorrow's cocktail recipe. This one is inspired by the TV show Fringe, created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. Some have described the show as The X-Filesmeets The Twilight Zone. I think that Profilershines through a bit, but I rarely meet anyone who watched that show. That travesty is a post for another time, I suppose. In any case, this cocktail-- White Tulip-- is an homage to one of my favorite story arc details, well... Ever. I'll talk more about why tomorrow. Let this tide you over until then:

White Tulip Cocktail: Inspired by the TV show Fringe
White Tulip Cocktail: Inspired by the TV show Fringe

Tune back in tomorrow. I have a feeling you'll want the recipe for this one.

Actual Out

King George V - A Downton Abbey cocktail

Beware, dear readers. Here be spoilers. Like I mentioned yesterday, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season is in progress here in the US, and the major theme is change. The 1920s provide the perfect backdrop for the big societal shifts the people of Downton-- upstairs and downstairs-- are facing. A few highlights:

  • Lady Mary is playing the field, sleeping with men before marrying them (whoa!). Unfortunately said dudes are all, "Hey, totes sleep with me and figure out if this is meant to be," and then afterward are predictably all, "You're a stupid slut! Why would you sleep with me if you didn't want to marry me?!" Will Lady Mary's budding feminism win over other people's (often faux) propriety?
  • Papa Grantham is still mostly a jerk, but now he's a jerk who is realizing his way of life is nearly obsolete. I would almost feel bad for him if he wasn't so awful to Cora all the time, and if he didn't constantly prove why he's obsolete. I am cautiously optimistic about his decision to preserve the lands surrounding Downton, though.
  • Edith is still crying and making terrible decisions, so no news on that front.
  • Daisy, however, is having moments of clarity, realizing that perhaps she could get an education, and therefore have choices. I almost like Daisy right now. Almost.
  • Rose has turned out to be surprisingly awesome this season, volunteering and standing up for her right to choose a partner when she's ready. She's also that young whippersnapper who is moving the, er, traditional sensibilities of Downton toward progress with regard to art and technology.

And it's that progress that brings me to the subject of this week's cocktail: King George V. You may remember the episode a few weeks ago where Rose tried to convince Papa Grantham to get a wireless radio for the house. She tried just about everything to get him to agree to it, and was unsuccessful until she realized that the King would be addressing the nation via the radio. Stephen Carter of BloombergView notes:

Nowadays, such news would occasion a shrug. At the time, it was a thunderclap.

George V’s address to open the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in April of 1924 was the first time the monarch spoke on the radio. Historians tell us that the event aroused such excitement that traffic was stopped and loudspeakers were set up on sidewalks outside large stores so people could listen. The occasion was, says Maurice Roche in his history of mass exhibitions, “the first time the British public as a whole had been gathered together to participate in a national event through the new medium.”

I don't know that I could say much of anything about King George V that you couldn't find on Wikipedia, but I will note that this move on his part was a pretty big deal, both for him and "The Empire." For a dude who preferred stamp collecting and maintaining the social status quo, addressing the country on the radio was a bold move. I also just love the way the old school met the new during the portrayal of the address on the show:

The people of Downton Abbey stand for King George V's address on the wireless.

Want to be briefly transported back in time? Take a listen to a portion of another address by King George V and Queen Mary:

The recipe

So how does one make a drink fit for a king? As with any Downton Abbey cocktail, there's a little bit of a balancing act between fiction and history. With this drink I wanted to blend the old school with the new, hence the combination of gin with bourbon. I thought the drink should be citrusy, a little sweet, and reminiscent of a classic cocktail-- fresh and nostalgic, all at the same time. The embodiment of the old guard yielding to the new (if just a little bit).

King George V: An original cocktail inspired by Downton Abbey

Recipe for King George V: A cocktail inspired by Downton Abbey | Sara Galactica
Recipe for King George V: A cocktail inspired by Downton Abbey | Sara Galactica

What you'll need:

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz honey syrup
  • 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Lemon twist

How to do it:

Combine all liquids in cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake-ah shake-ah shake-ah for about 15 seconds, until everything is nice and cold and those frothy little bits of ice break up.

Strain into cocktail glass. Serve with a twist. Notice the the sweet tang of citrus and subtle warmth of bourbon. Sip. Enjoy.


  • Honey syrup is easily made by combining equal parts warm water and honey, stirring until dissolved. You can use this immediately.
  • Remember to make your twist right near your drink so you get the little spray of lemon oils while you're zesting-- that's good stuff.

Cocktail preview: King George V

Downton Abbey's fifth season is in progress here in the US. Currently we find the cast of characters in the midst of an era of change. The 1920s are in full swing, and with that comes shifting cultural norms (and fashion, naturally), societal upheaval, new technology, and political challenges. Tomorrow I'll share the full recipe and background for my latest cocktail, King George V, inspired by the monarch who ruled England during this time period (for those of you watching the show, he was the one we heard speak on the wireless radio a couple episodes ago). In the meantime, here's a taste:

King George V cocktail, by Sara Galactica

... I think you're going to like this one.

See you tomorrow!

Actual out.