How to Drink Dandelion Wine, Part 2

Last Saturday we hosted our Iron Bartender contest using dandelion wine as the required (and, I must say, challenging) ingredient. We had a total of eight original drinks, and when the voting was done, we ended up with a tie for third place, a tie for second place, and a clear champion.

Today, we'll take a look at the second place cocktails.

The Drink of the Lion Fairy

Presented by Linda and Eric Getz

1 lemon's worth of juice and zest
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, rough chopped
6 springs of mint
5 1/2 ounces water
1&1/2 cup sugar
1 large spring of fresh mint
3 dots of aromatic bitters
1 oz. absinthe
1/2 oz. dandelion wine
1/3 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
crushed ice

1. First, prepare an herbed simple syrup by combining lemon juice and zest, parsley, 6 sprigs of mint, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Heat on low until sugar is dissolved and syrup thickens slightly. Strain into a jar after syrup cools and compost the plant material.

2. Place 1 large sprig of mint, 1/2 oz. herbed simple syrup, and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Muddle well.

3. Add all alcohol, 1/3 oz. lemon juice, and crushed ice. Shake well.

4. Strain the drink into glasses and garnish with mint and a lemon twist.

This drink was prepared in secrecy, and this is the best photo we have of its mysterious process. 

No, seriously, I was really terrible about taking pretty pictures of most of these drinks. You try being a conscientious photojournalist six or seven "tastes" into the evening.

But it is a shame, because it was very pretty with its garnish. 

And it is delicious. Definitely recommended as a refreshing drink to cool off on a summer day, with all of its herb-y goodness. And the Bison Grass Vodka is outstanding. 

The Rosemaryclaire

Presented by Maryclaire and Jay Paullis

1 sprig fresh rosemary
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup mead (recommended: Moonlight Meadery's "Paramour" if you're local!) 
1/2 cup dandelion wine
crushed ice

1. Remove any woody stem from the rosemary and muddle in a highball glass with the lemon juice. 

2. Add the alcohol and stir. 

3. Top off with ice and garnish with rosemary if desired.

Again, I present to you only an action shot and not a staged photo of the finished drink. In this picture it looks like Maryclaire is taking a big old swig of the dandelion wine, but that really can't be the case — it's just not that tasty by itself. I'm sure she's pouring it into her mix.

This drink is really good, especially if you like rosemary as much as I do. The mead sweetens up the dandelion wine, and the rosemary makes this feel warmer on the palate. A good autumn flavor, I think. 

This is the only photo I have of most of the drinks. Many were made in big cups, from which the judges poured out their tasting portions. Jay is holding the Rosemaryclaire, and the Drink of the Lion Fairy is in the green cup right in front of me. You can just make out the artistically-placed mint and lemon garnish on it if you look closely.

These drinks were fantastic, and if you don't have any dandelion wine, I'm sure you could substitute many an old, bitter alcohol that you don't like much on its own. These flavor combinations are guaranteed to improve whatever you have collecting dust in the back of your liquor cabinet!


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