New York has The Manhattan, New Orleans The Sazerac, and if Twin Peaks were a real place, it would claim The Laura Palmer as its own. As I read the description, I had no idea where this cocktail would lead me, but I had a feeling it would be a place both wonderful and strange. Dreamed up by Charles Russo for Blackbird (not the Black Lodge, but an excellent San Francisco bar with a definite lodge feel), The Laura Palmer, just like the eponymous character, was taken from us way too soon… though this time simply due to a menu change.
In my grief for the loss of this sublime cocktail, I channeled my inner Agent Cooper to solve the mystery of the recipe of The Laura Palmer. Through a tip from an anonymous cocktail menu, I learned that St. George’s Terroir Gin, Benedictine and Lillet were all involved. I seemed to recall a red cherry found floating at the bottom, surrounded by wisps of it’s own syrup that promised to vanish at any moment, reminding me of the ephemerality of all things, and my own mortality.
A cocktail with a Terroir Gin base that doesn’t use lemon to to muffle its piny woodsiness is rare, and the honey and rosemary of the Benedictine compliment it perfectly, luring you further into the drink, like synesthetic trails into the deep, dark, flavorful woods. I wandered off trail, and substituted Cocchi Ameicano for the Lillet to add a bit more bitterness and spice. So make no mistake, this is not the true Laura Palmer, but an otherworldly imposter.
The Laura Palmer Imposter
2 oz St. Georger Terroir Gin
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano Aperitif
1/2 oz Benedictine Liqueur
1 Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Bourbon Cherry
Stir all ingredients (minus the cherry) with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled coupe. Gently, using a bar spoon, place a cherry with some extra syrup onto the bottom of the glass.
If you wish to add some more mysterious dimensions to this drink, a touch of hazy smoke from a mezcal (just a 1/4 oz worth added to the above recipe) will more then do the trick. Consider a fitting mezcal to use, because these owls are not what they seem (unless they seem to be bottles of mezcal… because, they are):
Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen — today let it be The Laura Palmer Imposter. Like Twin Peaks itself, the melange of flavors defies easy categorization, so don’t over think it, simply enjoy with this alluring soundtrack, because maybe that's what you do in a town where a yellow light still means slow down and not speed up. Though maybe don’t take 25 years to finish.
St. George Terroir Gin, $30.50
Cocchi Americano Aperitif, $19.50
Benedictine Liqueur, $19.50
Jack Rudy Bourbon Cocktail Cherries, $16.50
El Buho Mezcal, $37.50
El Buho Especial Cuishe Mezcal, $61.50