Black Lodge Cocktail with Pine Syrup

The summer of 2017 has marked of Twin Peaks, the strange yet addicting television program that captivated audiences in the early 90s. Love or hate the new season, it looks like it will be the final resting place of any Twin Peaks content. I had higher hopes for what this newest season would bring 25 years after the original show was cancelled, although it’s not quite over yet.

As the final episodes near, I began to dream up some fun ways to make the end a little easier. I built a handful of cocktail you can try alone or shake up for a big viewing party.

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The first is inspired by the dark and mystical forces of The Black Lodge. If you’re not a TP fan: it is an ancient, extra-dimensional location accessed through the forests of the Pacific Northwest. The Black Lodge is inhabited by bizarre evil spirits and creatures that appear to be shadow-doppelgängers of mortals. The creatures bred there are horrifying and violent to say the least. Basically, it’s not somewhere you want to get stuck for 25 years.

Firstly, while building a Twin Peaks inspired drink I wanted to incorporate the natural flavor of pine. The easiest way to do that is with a tea or syrup, like I made below. Not all pine is edible, so please carefully inspect the tree that you forage from. Use the needles only, forage from single trees sparingly, and never cut the top crown off of a pine tree. Avoid all types of Yew tree (which look like pines), Ponderosa, and Lodgepole—these are all toxic. I used a type of White Pine needles from Limber Pine. Newer needles have a more delicate flavor, but older needles contain huge amounts of vitamin C! The flavor is lovely, fresh, and winterminty—not what you’d expect.

Secondly, the cocktail had to be striking. What better way to go about making a Black Lodge cocktail than with shaking it up with some activated charcoal. Be aware that the consumption of charcoal can have adverse interactions with prescription medications, which should be considered before using.

Black Lodge Cocktail with Pine Syrup (serves 1)

A strange and beautiful twist on the classic Old Fashion

2 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Pine Syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 oz Cherry Liqueur
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
contents of 1 capsule activated charcoal

Shake all ingredients with 3/4 cup of ice and strain into a chilled glass. Traditionally served with a block of ice in a collins glass, I opted for straight up in a champagne coup. Garnish (opt) with a few sprigs of rosemary (less pokey than pine sprigs) and a dark cherry or some pretty Oregon currants like I did here! Drink up and steer clear of BOB!

Pine Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 cup white pine needles

Cut the pine needles from the branch/stem and into small pieces. It is easiest to do this with scissors, as it will gum up knives quite quickly. Sap can be removed with a little bit of cooking oil on a paper towel.

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir for a minute or two or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add the pine needles. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill overnight.

Remove the pine needles from the syrup by pouring through a fine mesh strainer. Store in a sterilized bottle or jar and keep refrigerated. It will have a slight greenish hue and smell faintly like a walk in a cool wood.

Use in cocktails, a sweetener for tea or lemonades, or even as a topping on ice cream. The world is your forest!

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