A bottle of Becherovka liqueur, a Czech spirit, landed on my bar and when I opened the top and sniffed, the most wonderful aromas of juniper, pine and rosemary jumped out at me. I knew I had to use it in a cocktail, preferably with whiskey. Then I thought of the smell of a fresh-cut tree and how lovely that would be paired with a whiskey. And I just had to call it The Kentucky Tannenbaum.
Becherovka is served chilled as an after-dinner drink, and is sometimes used to a make a drink similar to a gin and tonic. It's a unique set of aromas and flavors, but for the season, it's a perfect match.
The Kentucky Tannenbaum
1 1/2 oz 100 proof bourbon (I used a Bottled in Bond bourbon)
1 oz Becherovka liqueur
1/2 oz rosemary-infused simple syrup (see below)
3 dashes Barkeep Organic Apple bitters
Garnish: Sprig of rosemary
Place all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass. Fill with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. To garnish, slap the rosemary against your palm before draping it in the glass. Sip next to a roaring fire or a warm dog.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 to 4 sprigs rosemary
For the rosemary simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Add 3-4 sprigs of rosemary roughly chopped. Heat the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for 3-4 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the rosemary steep for 30 minutes to two hours. The syrup gets stronger the longer you leave it to steep.
When finished steeping, strain through a metal strainer into a clean jar. It will keep in the fridge for at least a month.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.