Captain Handsome

October 27th, 2010  |  Published in absinthe, fall, gin, halloween, liqueur, recipes, seasonal  |  6 Comments

I tend to focus on more spooky-themed drinks during this time of year, mostly because I love that kind of stuff. This is the one time of year when it is acceptable to be in the Halloween spirit, which is a state of mind I am completely okay with during the rest of the year. But focusing on the darker side of the holiday ignores the other: the zany, off-the-wall side.

Because Halloween has come to be one huge masquerade, there’s plenty of room for both axe murderers and people dressed up like Grauman’s Chinese Theater. After all, Halloween evolved from Samhain, the festival that celebrated harvest; it was a time to enjoy the bounty of the season, all the while peering into the ever-increasing dark of winter. Impish and light on one hand, moody and dark on the other—Halloween is all of these things, and there’s plenty of room to enjoy the lighter side of the night as well.

This drink comes from Vessel in Seattle, created by talented barman Jim Romdall. I first met Jim at Tales of the Cocktail, though I had heard his name many times before. Vessel is well-known and loved by all who have been there, and Jim is part of the reason why—as this drink demonstrates.

1½ oz Plymouth gin
½ oz creme de violette
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz limoncello
splash of chilled soda water

Shake the gin, creme de violette, lime juice and limoncello with ice. Rinse the inside of a cocktail glass with a dash of absinthe. Strain the drink into the glass, add a splash of soda water and garnish with a brandied cherry.

Truthfully, part of the reason I wanted to try this drink is that it sounds so preposterous. Gin, violette, lime juice and absinthe. In one glass. At the same time. Crazy talk! The primary secret to this improbable blend is the use of Plymouth gin, which is milder in flavor than some other styles. The lime and limoncello blend together to give a flavor similar to sweet & sour and the violette adds its lovely, floral notes. The absinthe rounds everything out nicely, adding just a bit of sweetness and an herbal character that complements the violette and gin. Added to that, the color is fabulous and there’s just a hint of fizz from the soda. All-in-all it’s a thoroughly enjoyable drink that’s easy to make, and its good looks don’t hurt either.

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  1. Rick says:

    October 27th, 2010at 4:58 pm(#)

    I really expected to not like this drink; 1/2oz of violette sounds like 1/2oz too much. But, I must admit, Captain Handsome is strapping gent. The aroma is not one I’ve experienced before and the taste is simple and bright. Which absinthe did you use Marleigh?

  2. Marleigh says:

    October 27th, 2010at 5:18 pm(#)

    Hey Rick! I used Kübler, which is my default for cocktails. I couldn’t find a mention of this online that specified which absinthe Jim uses, so I started there. I was happy with it, but I think it could stand up to a French-style, depending on which one you use.

  3. Camper English says:

    October 27th, 2010at 5:30 pm(#)

    Love the name, love the color. Kubler is my go-to absinthe for cocktails as well. It helps a lot that it’s clear.

  4. Jim Romdall says:

    October 27th, 2010at 6:31 pm(#)

    So when I actually make this drink at Vessel, instead of the soda water, the entire drink is carbonated using the Perlini system. I also have the absinthe in an atomizer and give it a good flame over the glass. We got sick of making them because it was our most popular drink! :)

  5. Marleigh says:

    October 27th, 2010at 7:23 pm(#)

    Hey Camper! You and clear—ice and absinthe. ;)

    Hi Jim! I wish I had a Perlini system to play with at home. This was super delicious made this way, but when I finally make it to Vessel I may have to try your real version (if you can stand to make one)!

  6. Mike Rasbury says:

    October 27th, 2010at 9:09 pm(#)

    Being a Seattlite, I know this drink all too well. Never made it home, though. Frankly, it does seem quite intimidating to try at home, especially when I could just go hound Jim for another one ;)


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