I can remember the first time I sank my teeth into the pungent, dense black block some people call candy. My young face scrunched up in disgust and protest. How could my dad like this pervasive snack? How could anyone snack on these candy-store pass overs?
Of course that didn’t stop me from trying the aquired-taste treats at least once a year. It became my mission to tolerate, like and even enjoy them. But every year I found myself making the same repulsed expression as I looked for a trashcan to spit it out. I could never bring myself to take more than just one bite
Then I grew up and like so many once repulsive foods (olives, vegetables, salt and vingear chips and alcohol to name a few) I began to appreciate licorice with its spicy anise like flavor and lingering aromatic notes. Anise, and it’s various liqueurs, are not unlike licorice. With a taste for it, the stuff can turn a bland drink into an exciting one. And when done right, a marvelous treat appears.
H. G. Wells must have had a lot of hair on his chest because this drink either requires it, or will put it there. This robust drink packs a strong anise punch with just a hint of sweetness and layers of bourbon and bitters. This is a drink that will warm you up in an instant and a drink that could surely cure any cold or ailment – in fact this is what I imagine 17th century elixers tasting like.
So, if you’re looking to test your poker face, this is the drink for you.
H. G. Wells
Yield: 2 cocktails (3 ounces each)
Glassware: Tumbler filled with crushed ice
4 ounces (120 ml) high proof bourbon
1 1/2 ounce (45 ml) dry vermouth
1 ounce (30 ml) Pastis or Richards (or another anise flavored liqueur)
4 dashes bitters
Maraschino cherry, for garnish
1. Add the bourbon, vermouth, pastis and bitters to the shaker. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
2. Pour the cocktail into tumblers over crushed ice. Add a cherry for garnish.
If you like your drinks sweeter, add a dash or two of the juice from the cherry jar to each drink.