This cocktail has us venturing to America’s last frontier, ALASKA. No one knows how this cocktail got its name, but The Savoy Cocktail Book speculates it came from South Carolina. I’m unsure if that’s 1930s humor or not. The ALASKA piques our interest with its recipe of liquor, liquor, and bitters, but once again we have something to take issue with—when making cocktails there is a time to shake and a time to stir. The rule is: If your cocktail contains fruit juice, dairy, or eggs you shake. If your cocktail contains only spirits or wine and sweetener, then you stir. Every recipe we find online directs the bartender, correctly, to stir the ALASKA, but our road map, The Complete Bartenders Guide, has us shaking this cocktail instead. We are in good hands, obviously.
1.5 oz. gin (Fords)
.75 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1-2 dashes orange bitters (Regans’)
Combine with ice; shake very well. Strain over ice.
We reluctantly shake the drink but we damn well don’t strain it over ice—another faux pas for a drink like this. The ALASKA is to be served in a coupe or martini glass and generally ice doesn’t go in a coupe or martini glass. Those glasses should be chilled for a drink like the ALASKA. Even with the unorthodox shaking of this cocktail and ignoring the directive to pour over ice, it is amazing. This is a cocktail! The sweetness of the Chartreuse mixes well with the gin and the orange bitters round everything out.
Just know that this is a boozy drink. Many people assume they can make it in the last frontier of Alaska (the state) only to find its harsh side. Don’t make the same mistake with the ALASKA. I think you know what I’m saying here.
As with Shakespeare, we learn that a name is really nothing and the worth of the person, or in our case the cocktail, is all that matters. Today only one of these is really worth anything—the ALASKA, today’s winner and one of our highest rated drinks so far.
SCORES: Brian 9, Eric 9