Thor’s Hammered

Photo by Susan Whitney.

Thor’s Hammered

1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky
0.75 oz Björk Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain over a large cube into a chilled rocks glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

I’m tempted to call this the Summer of the Icelandic Vacation. It’s all over my facebook feed, and those of my friends who aren’t vacationing there seem to know someone besides me who is. My stay was brief, so I had but a taste of this fascinating and unique country. Aside from its raw, natural beauty, my main takeaway from Iceland was that it is a hotbed of entrepreneurship, with Icelanders springing into action to create goods and services that appeal to the influx of tourists.

Photo of the Blue Lagoon by Susan Whitney.

A good example is Foss Distillery, which makes handcrafted spirits using the sap of native birch trees, Icelandic water and high-end corn spirits. I picked up a bottle of their Björk Liqueur at the duty free shop and schlepped it home.

That weekend I hosted a dinner party with a group cocktail-loving friends (American Sidecars were served!) and broke out the Björk for an after-dinner drink. It was enjoyed by all and had a unique, woody flavor that fell somewhere between “the cologne I wore to prom” and marjoram. The conversation turned to how to use it in a cocktail, and my cocktail comrade-in-arms Kelly suggested scotch, upon which we both proclaimed, “Rusty Nail!”

A Rusty Nail is a classic cocktail popularized in the ‘60s and ‘70s that calls for equal parts scotch and Drambuie, a scotch-based liqueur. The one-to-one ratio is a bit cloying for today’s palates, and current recipes typically call for a four-to-one ratio, using 2 oz scotch and ½ oz Drambuie.

For Thor’s Hammered, so named due to Iceland’s Viking history, I want the Bjork to be more prevalent and to ease up on the alcohol, so I’ve used 1 ½ oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky and ¾ oz Björk. The result is strong but nuanced with the smokiness of the scotch playing off the woody perfume of the Björk. Still, it could use a little acid, so I give it a lemon twist.

If you’re one of the lucky ones visiting Iceland this summer, I highly recommend you swing through the duty free shop and pick up a bottle of Björk to commemorate your trip to this untamed landscape and celebrate the gumption of its people.

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