Recipe: Alaska

Recipe: Alaska

Just like the origins of the word cocktail, the exact stories behind the names of some of the oldest libations are lost to time. Take this variation on the Martini, for example. You’d think this one would be an easy tale to remember. When it first emerged in cocktail books right before World War I, the state it’s named for was almost half a century away from actual statehood, and it was more a destination for adventurers than sightseers. Ah well. I bet it was a good story.

At its inception, the drink used sweeter Old Tom gin, but by Prohibition, recipes were calling for London Dry (some with and without the orange bitters). The ingredient that stood the test of time was Yellow Chartreuse, the milder, sweeter, yellower cousin of Green Chartreuse. Recipes over the years have also played with proportions (between 2 and 3 ounces), but I would recommend keeping this rather boozy cocktail on the smaller side because of how dangerously easy it is to drink. Yellow Chartreuse is a great compliment to the classic London Dry gin, balancing the dryness in the base spirit, softening the sharper juniper notes, and amplifying the herbaceous elements in both. Plus, the smaller version is perfect for a Nick and Nora glass, and I firmly believe we need to make those popular again.

1 ½ oz. London Dry gin
½ oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass over ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass (or a standard coupe) and garnish with a lemon peel.

Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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