While out on the wine run (really, we should just buy a case - where's my sponsorship, Stella?), I passed by two opportunities. These bottles have been ones I've taken note of; one out of pure curiosity, the other out of academic experimentation. The former was Johnnie Walker's White Walker Scotch. Johnnie Walker is no stranger to Game Of Thrones, sporting an impressive array of custom scotches for the titular families and themes. But something about the fact that the White Walker is intended to be frozen first, then sipped as it thaws in order to activate and release its layered flavors, made me Hunter's Mark that bottle for the future.
With its price more manageable today, I snagged it, along with a liqueur that has been popping up in my recipe books: 43 Licor. The latter here is something that tastes and smells strongly of amaretto, but with a citrus vibe and something very smooth. 43 is a Spanish liqueur of vanilla and citrus herbs, best enjoyed in coffee, milk, and chocolate. Despite its sweetness, it's no joke, clocking in at a whopping 62 proof - yet you could never tell with how smooth it is. Curious, I decided to take it for a spin 4 ways and see what I can learn.
3/4 oz 43 Licor
3/4 oz Kamora
+ Gloriously sweet.
+ There is a citrus smokiness to this.
+ Definitely home for a cream addition, like milk or half and half.
+ I see why the classic Spanish rendition of this liqueur involves espresso, milk, and 43 licor. Because it's damn tasty.
+ ...but I need something with a bit more bite to cut through.
A Lemon Rose
1/2 oz Wild Moon Rose Liqueur
1/2 oz 43 Licor
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
+ The lemon juice and Rose liqueur are a beautiful match and I am here for it.
+ Oddly, the 43 pales in comparison to that pairing.
+ This is a great foundation to try something new...later.
1/2 oz 43 Licor
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
+ This might be another strange instance where the Captain murders someone.
+ ...and not in a good way.
+ I'm not joking.
+ The addition of the Captain kills the 43. Immediately.
+ I'm drinking muddled lemon juice. Tipsy Lemon Juice.
+ Glorified. Tipsy. Lemon. Juice.
One More Experiment
With the research of 43 Licor rattling around in my head, I recall many instances of Blueberry flavors, so I now endeavor to include this soul in the next batch.
1/2 oz 43 Licor
1/2 oz Blueberry Liqueur
1/2 oz Stella Rosa Pink
1/2 oz Raspberry Liqueur
+ STELLA ROSA WORKS SO WELL WITH BLUEBERRY. Just sayin'.
+ The 43 again takes a backseat.
+ Hard to go wrong with Raspberry and the Pink wine.
+ Lovely, and almost TOO sweet.
All in all, the 43 feels a lot like a fruity amaretto, both in profile and function. It's a decent stand in and a real banger in almost any soda. I'll definitely be using it in my coming recipes, stay tuned.
His name was Ozzy.
Perched on the cracked navy railing, his spike of a nose slick with mud, he flexed his dripping wings and rocked back and forth. Viscous tendrils of wet earth leaked from his shifting form, coiling down the bars of the crib and soaking into the edges of the sheets below. He tilted his head at the giggling creature swaddled in fine cloth, the deep motes of gold within his eye sockets darting along its details, like flecks of glowing sand drifting above a campfire in the night sky.
There wasn't much time. Little Ozzy could feel the rumble in his body, an early warning of the coming quake. Bubbling gently, he extended his dripping arms around the half-elven babe and pulled her close to him. When the house shook he hardened his wings for flight - he only had a few seconds to honor this bargain. When the glass shattered, he soared out, his greedy tail snatching a necklace as he went, and disappeared into the sunlight. Its warmth would ensure the child's safety, at least until he could deliver her to his master. "You will persist, tiny elf," he bubbled in Terran, "Too important you will be..."
Creatures Of Two Planes
Mephits are imp-like creatures of mischief and chaos forged in the elemental planes. They prefer to dwell in places where their base elements are prevalent, so a Mud Mephit may reside in the plane of earth or water, while a Magma Mephit adores earth and fire. As pairings go, the Elemental Chaos has forged six slices of these little critters.
DUST - composed of earth and air, Dust Mephits are drawn to death. Adventurers can encounter them in deep catacombs, deadly streets, or in the eye of a shredding sandstorm.
ICE - a creature born of frigid air and water, an Ice Mephit is devoid of pity. Aloof and cold, they show little mercy or compassion to those around them.
MAGMA - dangerous to the touch, a Magma Mephit is comprised of earth and fire. Considered the least intelligent, they are slow to understand commands and are often used as living walls of molten death by more cunning creatures.
MUD - slow creatures of earth and water, Mud Mephits are full of complaints and seek endless attention and treasure, stuffing the little trinkets inside their warping bodies.
SMOKE - crude and lazy, Smoke Mephits billow constantly. Though they are often gifted with superior speech, they like to use it to spin lies and lead creatures astray.
STEAM - nearly ethereal in sight, Steam Mephits can be tracked by the trails of hot water they leave behind. Fire and water yield bossy and self-absorbed creatures, and each will tend to appoint themselves lord of all other mephits.
By The Numbers
From a technical side, a Mephit on its own doesn't pose much threat. They have a decent hit point load for their CR (around 20 HP), but a low AC (10-12). However, Mephits aren't usually alone, and those that are tend to have a powerful master nearby. Throw in that many carry the variant ability to summon extra Mephits when they get hurt, and tend to explode in a dangerous bubble when they die, and you have a serious situation on your hands for low-level adventurers.
Each has their own breath weapon that can recharge (1/6 chance, but you know), some have nasty innate spell casting (Heat Metal, watch out!), and at least four of the six types can blend into their surroundings, waiting for a deadly ambush. Remember, especially in 5th Edition D&D, an army of squirrels is still an army. That's why they call it a "death of a thousand cuts."
Mephits In Io
Though a mephit will give off the air of a fiend, it is important to bear in mind their elemental origins. Though they are each born of the Elemental Chaos, they are, in fact, neutral beings. They can be reasoned with, summoned, employed, tricked, and otherwise used. Some are smarter than others, and hold specific traits built on their element, but a knowledgeable combatant can exploit these factors to their benefit, such is the case in the parallel planes of shadow and fey that flank our material world in Ionian Lore.
In The Ionian Shadowfell
Dust and Smoke find great meaning in Ionian Shadowfell, as both can be easily satiated by the natural surroundings, but they are certainly not alone. Given a Mephit's ability to squeeze, melt, and morph, they are highly suited and trainable in acts of espionage, information, and theft. It is this practice that birthed the Smoke and Shard - a Mephit spy network created by a vampire lady in the Court Of Whispers.
Even the Mud Mephit's greed can be entwined into valuable service. A Mud Mephits for treasure and reward gives it purpose in its employ, and it can promised boons and glittering prizes for tasks and services. Though slower than the cruelest among them, a Mud Mephit, given enough time, can be trained well to serve a single master, as long as that master has kept their promises of treasure. Given the immortal nature of a mephit, as steadfast as the element that creates them, a master with a similar lifespan and the correct resources could secure a loyal servant indefinitely. When considering the vampire Court that rules the Ionian Shadowfell, such service would be invaluable...
In The Ionian Feywild
Mephits carry the mischief they love through the veil of the Fey, and it is amplified. They tend to join the ranks of sprytes, nymphs, and dryads that align with their elements, which pulls them toward the Fey Courts and Curtain Compendium. The Erlking and lords of the Wild Hunt have little need for their simple nature, but Steam and Ice Mephits find great service in Court of Winter, happy to punish those that would insult their Queen. Magma and Mud drift in packs to toward The Reach, auroras of light where the Elemental Chaos and the Astral Sea pierce the vibrant and endless sunset of the Feywild sky. Dust and Smoke find sanctuary in the Willowoods, surrounded by spirits and starlight.
So when you see that precarious mound of magma just sitting there in your path, think twice about kicking it. You just might upset all of its brothers.
The Kamikaze Shot
1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Lime Juice
+ This is a party shot. Simple and clean.
+ Fruity and covered.
This goes down easy, and it's supposed to. Most settings that call for a Kamikaze call for a few over a period of an hour or two. You're working with Vodka; this is a no-brainer. Wanna' up the citrus? Use Citrus Vodka. Make it a little more interesting? Blueberry or Strawberry vodka. Easy peasy.
The Scorpion Shot
Normally I would see this in BOWL form.
An eldritch monstrosity ordered by college folk and grad students alike bent on poor choices and broken dreams, the Scorpion Bowl is a ridiculous fruity mixture served in a gaudy tiki bowl with a ritualistic column of fire roaring at its center. It is intended for AT LEAST two people, and it comes with straws.
The full recipe is what you'd expect.
SCORPION BOWL RECIPE
3 cups of Ice (told ya)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Dark Rum
2 oz 151 Rum
2 oz Light Rum
2 oz Vodka
2 oz Grenadine
8 oz Orange Juice
10 oz Pineapple Juice
At least 2 pineapple chunks
At least 6 Marachino Cherries
With 3 oz of optional lemon juice
Functional Strength: 28 Proof
PAIRING IT DOWN
This won't be a traditional shot. By volume alone, this is a shooter at best, and I aim to err on the side of greater strength rather than fruit juice. The physical cherries intrigue me as well, so I want to incorporate some of my classic cherry heering to up the strength a bit. The rest of its multitude of ingredients should be easy enough to shrink down.
THE ELDER SCORPION
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz 151 Rum
1/4 oz Dark Rum
1/2 oz Light Rum
1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Cherry Liqueur
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Whiskey Sour Mix
SHAKE in a shaker with Ice, then strain into your favorite gentlemen's glass.
Total Volume: 4.5 oz
Total Strength: 31%. 62 Proof
+ HELLS YEAH.
+ This, in my honest opinion, elevates a Scorpion Bowl. The original is not drink of finesse, but of blunt force trauma and fruit. It's an excuse for a bar to burn a tremendous amount of cheap resources at high volume for high copper, and a low overall output. THIS achieves a tighter flavor profile, with lower volume, and higher buzz output.
+ Shaken with ice activates the Heering and the Gin in nuanced ways, coaxing out the flavor without sifting a straw through that ice.
+ I might even increase the Cherry Liqueur by 1/4 oz, and lower the pineapple by 1/4 oz just to explore the sweeter end of this cocktail.
+ It's still deceptively strong, but I'm not filling my belly with acidic juice, and I'lll achieve a big bad buzz with room for a fine burger. And really, isn't that the goal all along?
Be safe out there, adventurers, and be careful what stinger you tempt.
Short and sweet this week.
Mix this fruit punch up for a personal zest while you kick your feet back after a long day of fighting kraken and denying that you totally summoned an elder god.
What? Those villagers had it coming!
THE ORIGINAL RECIPE
1.5 oz Citrus Vodka
1/2 oz Black Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord will do just fine!)
Fill with Orange Juice
Splash of Cranberry Juice
TASTING NOTES AND INFO
+ This is a punch drink, meant to cover the alcohol and bring out the sweet.
+ Citrus Vodka is highly complimentary to cranberry and orange juices, elevating their sweet strength, while hiding the alcohol.
+ If you're feeling spicy, add more cranberry and a splash of Yukon Jack to up the strength and add a little bite.
After about 4 you'll be all set and won't even notice the impending tidal wave of daddy Dagon. Swim well!
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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