DRINK OF THE WEEK: Wine Cask’s The Lit Fir

The Lit Fir
The Lit Fir

Have you gone out to find a Christmas tree yet? Even if you haven’t, you can probably smell the pine needles in the nose as you hunt for the perfect one for your front room. That fresh green aroma influenced this week’s cocktail, created by Matt Pickett over at the Wine Cask. Mr. Pickett has been making cocktails at the restaurant for three months, having spent time before at Olio Pizzeria, also in Santa Barbara, and other cities to the north. At Wine Cask, he’s been able to get his hands on a number of intriguing alcohols, which lead him to Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery. They make an Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir, created by steeping fresh pine needles into a grappa-like alcohol. And according to Mr. Pickett, they do this in the forest to keep it all fresh. How crazy is that?

Add to this some of Clear Creek’s apple brandy and a mix of vanilla bean and cinnamon simple syrups, as well as orange, cranberry and lemon juices, and you have this wintry cocktail with a slight hint of forest and a full nose of vanilla. But don’t stop there: Garnish this with candied apple peel and your guests will think this came straight out of the woods.

1 ounce Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1 ounce Clear Creek apple brandy
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce cranberry juice
1/4 ounce vanilla bean simple syrup (see recipe)
1/4 ounce cinnamon simple syrup (see recipe)

Combine all ingredients over ice in shaker, shake, then strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with candied apple peel (simmer peel in simple syrup for 10 minutes, remove, dip in granulated sugar and let dry overnight).

Yield: 1 drink

2 vanilla beans 1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Cut vanilla beans lengthwise. Add to water in pot. Boil, reduce to simmer, add sugar. Dissolve sugar, then remove from heat and steep overnight. Remove pods and chill.

Yield: about 1 cup

2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Add cinnamon sticks to water in pot. Boil, reduce to simmer, remove sticks and add sugar. Dissolve sugar and cool.

Yield: about 1 cup

Wine Cask Restaurant
813 Anacapa St.
966-9463 or www.winecask.com

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