I was feeling experimental a while back and decided to create something exotic. As I scanned the bar, an interesting, as yet unused ingredient jumped out at me – Cardamaro – and I started to postulate a theme. My friends all know of my Masonic affiliation, so I thought about a cocktail to honor my Brethren… In scrolling through the endless list of notable Brothers for whom my libation could be named, I came across the perfect dedicatee – Brother Rudyard Kipling!
Bro Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865 in Bombay, India. He is generally considered one of England’s greatest writers and has left the world with an impressive library of notable works. During his life he achieved literary greatness and was richly rewarded for his contributions to the English language. Revisionist history or course has created some polarizing opinions about Bro Kipling, most notably that his writing glorified the imperialism that defined English history in the 19th Century and should therefore not be celebrated, but instead denigrated. Not being a fan of revisionist history, I will move on…
Bro Kipling is believed to have become a Freemason in 1885, which would have been before he turned 21, then the minimum age for membership. Bro Kipling was initiated into Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782 in Lahore, India. He was extremely fond of Freemasonry, so much so that he commemorated its ideals in his famous poem, “The Mother Lodge”, and used the fraternity and its symbols as important plot devices in his novella, “The Man Who Would Be King.” The latter was made into a movie starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine, which has regular screenings in Lodges around the world.
In thinking about a theme for my cocktail I began to think about spirits. I knew that I wanted to use Cardamaro, an Italian wine-based amaro featuring cardoon and thistle as a component. Now, because Bro Kipling is intrinsically linked to India and because his Majesty’s forces supporting the Raj were fueled by Gin (unlike His Majesty’s navy, which was fueled by rum), a clean, London dry Gin would be my base spirit. Keeping with the idea of exotic and wanting to create an alluring aroma to the cocktail, I decided that Luxardo Maraschino liqueur would add a nutty, floral note to both the nose and palate of my potation. Last element required to balance this potion – lime juice. I tried lemon juice, but I liked the malic greenness of the lime over the astringency of the lemon.
Bench testing is hard work, and after several tries, we found the proper balance. My impressions? Refreshing with an exotic collection of flavors, building like a well-made curry, but without the heat. Although for a moment I almost tossed in a dash or two of Ancho Reyes, the pepper-infused liqueur from Chile, but thought better of it…
So, in honor of our Brother, Rudyard Kipling, I present a cocktail in his name…
2 oz. London Dry Gin
3/4 oz. Cardamaro
1/2 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
2 dashes Cardamom Bitters
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with an orange twist (preferred), or a Maraschino cherry.