In the distant lore of the weary Barkeep, there is a classification of shots and shooters intended to bring the imbibed to an ascendant state. In the leyman, these are "wake up shots."
Not necessarily pleasant, but certainly an experience, and one that you are intended to have ONCE, before journeying toward more palatable potions.
At my most recent Drinking and Dragons, I was honored to draft two new shots targeted by this intention. I'd like to them with you, complete with their building blocks, iterations, and evolution to the final, startling product.
The Volition Shot
There is a scenario type in my games called the Bar Of Fate. It is a custom character creation experience meant to be played over about 6 hours, and is split up into Acts, with a Prologue and an Epilogue. With each section, a themed shot is presented to both flavor the experience, and provide not only an interesting drink, but a feeling of progression.
The prologue brings the players to the table, and opens the door to a particularly unique experience involving questions of morality, luck, and character, so I want to obliterate whatever pregaming those idiots have coated their palettes with. The Volition - an act of willpower to bring you to this voluntary character creation - will DEFINITELY help you transcend, no matter where you came from before.
THE VOLITION SHOT
1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Lady Bligh Spiced Rum
+ Gin blasts you in the face.
+ Numb tongue, for a second or two
+ Bourbon keeps you warm and ready for the next step.
+ Oddly, it's such a shock to your system it was actually invigorating.
+ ...but no need to go back for more.
One of my players shot this down and, with a yell, exclaimed: "Now THAT'S a wake up shot!" And thus my mind was opened.
Makes sense, really, considering the broad spectrum of intention behind imbibement. There are so many experiences you can seek and flavors to explore, of course there would a whole category of drinks that blast your mind and cleanse your palette, preparing you for whatever comes next. Like a bucket of ice water to your senses.
Always a fan of odd pairings, I was seeking the viability of Gin and Scotch, and came across an old classic called the Silver Bullet.
It was: 3/4 oz Gin + 3/4 oz of Scotch.
I tried it. It was...alarming.
Turns out, there are MANY versions of the Silver Bullet, and NONE of them are the same. Let me just share a few for you.
SILVER BULLET (what I found MOST of the time)
3/4 oz Gin
+ Back throat burn
+ Bite of scotch mingles with gin to create a new sensation
+ Sweeter than I thought
+ Oddly, the scotch mellows the gin
+ Still makes me cough, but just once. ;)
+ Notes of citrus spice at the back.
+ Lingering "gin-y" taste afterwards.
There's potential here, but something's missing for me.
SILVER BULLET? (shooter)
1.5 oz Gin
1 oz Herbal Liqueur (I'll use Jaegermeister)
Splash of Lemon Juice
+ Herbal notes immediately
+ Hard to avoid the tang of the lemon
+ Gin takes a backseat oddly
+ Burn is still present
+ Lingering sour (lemon)
+ Undoubtedly strong
1.5 oz Tequila
1/2 oz White Creme de Menthe
+ Initial paint thinner gives way too...
+ Liquid celery taste.
+ Tequila and mint isn't new, but there's something very jarring about this mixture.
+ ...and I desire no more.
In case you can't tell, I'm not really a big fan of any of these. But I've grown to love Gin, and I've discovered I'm quite the Scotch man, AND, I'm not one to give up easily on alchemy. For all the iterations, I'm more intrigued by the "?" version, and it has to do with the herbal approach.
I've procured a number of neat little "wood and flower" liqueurs over the many months, and I enjoy muddling drinks that normally punch you in the face with a sweet oak or birch as a finish. Like a surprising spring breeze with warm sun at your back. If we stick with our usual fantasy themes, then I can think of no other warm yet surprisingly playful fey as the Summer Lady - Verenestra. It is this idea and its formative fancy that informs this next recipe.
1/4 oz Gin
1/2 oz Scotch
1/2 oz Wild Moon Birch Liqueur
1/4 oz Wild Moon Rose Liqueur
+ Birch is sweet and smooth
+ Birch elevates the Scotch bite
+ Find the Gin on the back end after a touch of Rose
+ Sweeter than expected
+ Less punchy
+ Goes down smooth, with a slight bite of licorice (the birch does that)
In game, our Prologue began with the Volition, to prepare the players for the transformative experience. The Verenestra was the gatekeeper to a capstone ability - try this transcendent shot to unlock your superpower, the earlier the better (both for buzz and ability). We'll just say that the players didn't waste any time. They were ALERT. ...for about ten minutes, then the gin hit them. Good times had by all, always.
Imbibe responsibly and safely, for the Fates are watching.
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Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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