For the past two months, Zubrowka, the bison grass vodka, have been releasing cocktails that have been specially designed to celebrate the Full Moon. This might seem like an unusual choice of event to celebrate, but it’s a nice way to bring a monthly-suggested libation to the world.
This month (August 2012) is rather special in that it sees TWO Full Moons, something that will not be repeated until July 2015. In honour of this celestial event, I shall be mixing the three Full Moon cocktails provided by Zubrowka, as well as a drink of my own that I think is rather fitting for the occasion.
#1) Apple Martini Full Moon Cocktail
[50ml Zubrowka Vodka, 1/4 Fresh Green Apple, 10ml apple Liqueur, 5-10ml Elderflower Cordial]
Fruity and fresh. Apple is the main flavour, with a little sweetness from the Elderflower Cordial and the underlying leafy herbal notes of the vodka comes through on the finish.
It can be difficult to find a good quality apple liqueur (you certainly don’t want to use something like Apple Sourz for a cocktail like this!), so I made my own by steeping cut apple in vodka for 24 hours, straining and then adding sugar to taste.
#2) Zubrowka Bianco Full Moon Cocktail
[40ml Zubrowka Vodka, 10ml Dry Vermouth, 10ml Apple Juice – SHAKE – Garnish with diced apple]
Delicious and crisp; the vermouth adds dryness and the apple juice adds freshness and a hint of vanilla, all of which complement the sweet notes of the rye-based Zubrowka. This is perfect for the cocktail hour.
#3) Zubrowka Basil Cooler
[40ml Zubrowka Vodka, 60ml Pear Juice, 10ml St. Germain Liqueur, 10ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Cinnamon Syrup, 4-5 Basil Leaves – SHAKE HARD – Fine Strain]
This was another delicious drink. The herbal notes of the basil leaves work surprisingly well with the cinnamon, and the elderflower and pear juice both add sweetness, whilst the tart lemon juice and dry sweetness of the vodka add balance to the drink as a whole. Herbal, flavourful and lovely.
I strained mine into a cocktail glass as the cocktail hour was upon us, but I can also see this being served over crushed ice in a highball – a great way to cool down on a hot, lazy summer afternoon.
Finally, here is a variation on the Blue Moon cocktail (as August 2012 is a Blue Moon month).
#4 Blue Moon Variation
[40ml Zubrowka Vodka, 10ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Creme de Violette – SHAKE]
This drink usually uses gin, so without it, it should be sweeter, although the lack of Maraschino mitigates this somewhat. The light, herbal notes of the vodka come through, but the Violette also plays a key role – if you don’t care for floral notes, this drink may not be for you.
The basil cooler was my favourite and I recommend it either as a long or short drink. Either way have an enjoyable weekend (happy long Labor Day weekend to our American cousins) and be sure to check out the moon!