Is it global warming or is Ullr upset with us for some reason? So far this winter, there has been a record amount of non-snowfall. And for those of us who enjoy winter sports, well, we feel a bit deprived.
Right now I’m in Colorado, and while I would be happy to have the mild weather if I were back in Brooklyn, here I must admit, I am a bit bummed out about it. Here, snow means smooth skiing down pillowy clouds of powder. There, while snow is briefly beautiful and magical, it soon becomes a grimy gray eyesore, serving only to strain your back and slow your commute.
So out here, where the snow stays sparkly and white, skiers and snowboarders pray daily for it to fall. This is where Ullr comes in. Ullr is a Norse god, stepson of Thor, “known for his beauty and skill with bow and skis,” and thought (by early Germanic pagans as well as many superstitious skiers) to have some influence on wintery weather.
This cocktail is my bribe to Ullr, my payoff if he deems to let some white stuff come our way (and stops by my place for a nightcap afterwards). Since he’s an archer and a skier, the guy needs some oomph in his cocktail, and some sweetness too, to fortify himself after a long day of divine meteorological intervention.
Really, this wonderful libation is a modified Manhattan (my most favorite of cocktails), with rhubarb bitters for a sour roundness and a wintery spiced syrup for depth, sweetness, and as a complement to the oaky vanilla tones of the bourbon. Skål!*
2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 ½ tsp spice syrup**
3 generous dashes rhubarb bitters (I used Fee Brothers)
Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
**To give this cocktail the warmth and spice I know Ullr would love, I made a spiced syrup by steeping a couple big tablespoons of Kalustyan’s Whole Spice Mix for Masala-Chai (with fennel, ginger, cinnamon, clove, white and black peppercorns, anise, and cardamom) in hot simple syrup.