I revisited an old friend this evening. One of my first and most ambitious cocktails created in the fall of 2012, and perfected on my front porch. This blog entry is taken from my memoir, TALES OF INSOMNIA DESPAIR & THE PERFECT COCKTAIL. I haven't had "The Doomsday Device" since I'd invented it almost four years ago, and I was surprised at how good it tastes, even better than I remember. Enjoy!
That last chapter made me want a drink. And not just any drink, but something massive. Enter “The
Doomsday Device”.* Being a product of the Cold War, with my Russian/Polish heritage, it’s not unusual for my thoughts to drift towards annihilation, or at the very least, mutually assured destruction. I was thinking of Dr. Strangelove when this new drink was taking shape—the “Doomsday Gap”, each Doomsday Device bigger and more costly than the one before. This was to be no small drink for those small, quiet moments. This was to be big. Epic. The kind of drink Khrushchev might throw down before sending those missiles to Cuba. The kind of drink JFK might enthusiastically gulp before saying, “Fuck you, Nikita!”
Now, to the drink itself… First, as in all proper drinks with a Russian heritage, comes the vodka. Then more vodka. Then the gin, St. Germain, Chartreuse, Aperitivo Cocchi Americano. Then some ginger beer to blend the flavors. And it was at this point when I presented it to my colleagues in the War Room (my living room, actually, where we sit around and try out my new cocktail creations), and they gave me their feedback, the opinions flowing as freely as the booze. Things like: Too much gin, or It needs more gin, or Too much vodka. Too much vodka?! You’re German! What do you know of vodka! And Ya know, man, that Chartreuse is amazing! Yeah, do you know it’s the only liqueur to have a color named after it? Really? And it was created by Carthusian monks over a thousand years ago. The recipe’s the same, and to this day only three people on Earth know what it is, but each of them knows only a third of it. The recipe? Yeah, so no one person knows it all. Damn! Pretty cool, huh? Yeah. It needs more vodka. Now you’re talkin’! What about some color? Color? You know, like a dash of Coke or something. Right, for color. Or maybe Dr. Pepper. I don’t have any Dr. Pepper. Coke then. Okay. Not bad. It’s a bit thick. Thick? You know, like cloying… viscous. What do you think? It is a bit thick. More vodka! What?! There’s like seven ounces of booze in it already! Then another shot of ginger beer. Alright, we’ll try that...
Several hours later, “The Doomsday Device” was assembled and almost fully operational. But as is the case with such an ambitious cocktail, it was missing something, that finishing touch, that unexpected masterstroke that brings it all together. But having consumed two or three of these each, we were well beyond tipsy, and collectively had no idea what this could be. It wasn’t until a few days later, when my friend Scottie Scott came over, and upon hearing of “The Doomsday Device”, he demanded to have one. I made us a round, and we went to the front porch to enjoy what might be the last warm day before winter sets in. And as we sat and drank and smoked a cigarette, on a sudden impulse he reached over to the huge rosemary bush I have in the herb garden in front of my house (the herb garden that Lindsay had planted). Plucking five or six rosemary leaves, he smushed them together and then dropped them ceremoniously into his drink. Almost instantly the crushed rosemary became infused in the massive amount of alcohol in the glass. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed. “Taste this!” I did. “Yes! That’s it!” I said. “The missing piece!” Muddled fresh rosemary! And with that, “The Doomsday Device” was complete.
*The following recipe has been slightly amended and pared down from the one in the book, which was for a huge drink, enough for two people. This is for a single cocktail.
And check out the video of this drink in KEVIN'S COCKTAIL MINUTE by clicking on the link below:
"The Doomsday Device"
THE DOOMSDAY DEVICE
1 part Stolichnaya Vodka (Russia)
½ part Gordon’s London Dry Gin (Great Britain)
½ part St. Germain (France)
¼ part Green Chartreuse (France)
¼ part Domaine de Canton (France)
¼ part Aperitivo Cocchi Americano** (Italy—Axis first, Ally later)
1½ parts Fever-Tree Ginger Beer (Great Britain)
dash of Coke or Dr. Pepper for color (USA)
fresh Rosemary (USA)
Crush 7 or 8 fresh Rosemary leaves between your fingertips and drop them into an iced shaker. Add all the ingredients except the Ginger Beer and Coke and shake vigorously. Add the Ginger Beer and Coke, stir, then fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh Rosemary. Consume. Repeat. Peace through deterrence.
**If you can't find Aperitivo Cocchi Americano, you can use a ½ part of Domaine de Canton.
"The Doomsday Device"