Monday, December 10, 2012

All Those Whos Down in Whoville...

After a brief hiatus from the monthly Mixology Monday, I am back in full swing for JFL's Humbug! theme.  As described in his post...

Lets face it the holidays suck, yeah I said it. You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don’t even like, or worse they freeload in your house. Your subjected to annoying music, and utterly fake, forced kindness and joy. Plus if you work retail your pretty much in hell, so don’t we all deserve a good stiff drink? So for this Mixology Monday unleash your inner Grinch. Mix drinks in the spirit of Anti-Christmas. They can be really bitter and amaro filled. They filled with enough booze to make you pass out in a tinsel covered Scrooge heap. They could be a traditional holiday drink turned on it’s ear. Or they could be a tribute to your favorite holiday villain. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa then you still suffer through the holidays, so feel free to join in with your Anti-Holiday drink as well. Whatever it is add a hearty “Humbug!” and make your drink personify everything annoying or fake about the holidays.

While a legit humbug cocktail might be well represented by a 1:1 ratio of Jägermeister and Campari, served undiluted at room temperature, for some inspiration I turned to one of the favorite (and obvious) Christmas villains of all, the Grinch.

Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Christmas a lot...
But the Grinch,Who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Whoville beneath,
Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.
"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"
 How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957) Theodor Seuss Geisel 

I pictured frothy white snow, faint wisps of smoke from bonfires in Whoville filling the air, and, of course, the bitterness of the Grinch staring down from Mount Crumpit with a snarly frown.  The froth, the smoke, the bitter, and the underlying sweetness of the Whos got the wheels spinning.  From a base of slightly smoky blended Scotch whisky - Black Grouse, I added a vermouth/amari combo of Punt e Mes and Cynar, along with a hint of almond sweetness from orgeat.  A bit of body and creamy mouth feel from a whole egg, couple dashes of pungent, spicy 
Jamaican bitters, and a dusting of fragrant coffee bean as garnish tied this effort together quite nicely.

Atop Mount Crumpit
2 oz Black Grouse
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz orgeat
2 dashes Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters 

1 whole egg
coffee bean, finely grated as garnish

Shake all ingredients vigorously until nice and frothy. Add ice and shake well until chilled, strain into a pre-chilled old fashioned glass. Microplane/grate coffee bean atop the cocktail and sip after a fabulous dinner featuring Roast Beast.

Atop Mount Crumpit

While ironic that a cocktail inspired by the Grinch is pictured in such a festive holiday setting, perhaps it will warm your heart to 'grow three times' after that first sip and you'll be overcome with a festive spirit.  Cheers go out to JFL for the nice tweak to the typical holiday theme and best of the holidays to all.  And, of course, be sure to check out all the great Humbug!-inspired contributions here at the roundup post.  And here's to the next MxMo, the first of 2013!


  1. Nice I love Black grouse, never really thought to pair it with orgeat. I'll get some cynar and give it a try! Thanks for joining in on the fun!

  2. Love it, lovely picture too Zach.

  3. Thanks much guys, just back in town and not yet had a chance to look at the roundup but lookin forward to it

  4. Your loquacious and industrial usage of holiday frump paired with novel ethanol cheer bodes well albi winterim blues
    Well played dude
    But will it fly in morris

    1. I can give it a Schlitz float to make it more appetizing to the Morris palate

  5. Hi Zach,

    Couldn't find your email on the site. I wanted to drop you a quick note to say hi and mention that we’re developing a new and pretty exciting "best of the web" section on that we’re calling DrinkWire. Our site is an expert guide to the world of cocktails and spirits, and this new addition will feature stories from top journalists, bloggers, bartenders and other knowledgeable folks across the world. I was curious if you would be interested in being one of our contributors?

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    Nick Rhodes

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    Winner for Best Cocktail Writing and Best Cocktail Author - 2012 Tales of the Cocktail.