by Anna Long
For those who haven’t already packed their bags for Asheville, we thought we’d bring its flavors to you. Mix up a drink imagined in the mountains to create your very own staycation.
King James Public House’s Alarm Call
First, turn on your favorite punk and indie music to get in the right frame of mind. Drinks at King James Public House are named for songs – Autumn Sweater, Flight of Icarus, and Monkey Gone to Heaven, to name a few. With the return of warmer weather, bartenders at King James are mixing up their newest cocktail, Alarm Call, named for Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk’s 1997 single. The song speaks of re-awakening through music: “I want to go on a mountaintop/ With a radio and good batteries/ And play a joyous tune and/ Free the human race/ From suffering.” You may not be able to free the human race from suffering, but you can listen to some joyous tunes while you mix your drink. According to co-owner Peter Slamp, the drink was created for an Iceland-themed Bar Wars competition: “The shrub (a sugar-marinated fruit-herb concoction) is a perfect vehicle – in my opinion – to add acidic zing,” he says. “The vinegar plays off the sweetness of the blueberries and vegetal flavors of the rhubarb. In a word, the drink is refreshing – just what I was looking for with warm weather approaching.”
1 1/2 ounces Reyka Vodka
1 ounce rhubarb-rosemary shrub
1/2 ounce Bénédictine
1/2 teaspoon blueberry reduction
Fever Tree club soda to taste
To make rhubarb-rosemary shrub: Part 1: Chop 5 pounds fresh rhubarb and mix in a jar or bowl with 2 cups granulated or turbinado sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and let macerate for 2-3 days.
Part 2: Mix 1 cup of champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of white balsamic vinegar. Add 7-8 sprigs of rosemary and let sit for one day. Filter out rosemary. Filter juice from rhubarb and add vinegar mix.
To make blueberry reduction: Bring 2 quarts blueberries, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup water to a simmer. Reduce for 20 minutes, then filter out solids. Add a bit of shrub to help preserve.
Combine your ingredients! Fill a shaker with ice. Add Reyka vodka, Bénédictine, rhubarb-rosemary shrub, and blueberry reduction. Shake and double-strain over rocks in a stemless wine glass. Top with soda, then garnish with rosemary sprig and edible flower.