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The winner will be announced on September 8, 2014

Liberty Tea Shrub

Katherine Hysmith, Belmont, MA
  • tea shrub2
  • I just completed my master's thesis on British food and drink in the American South, so it's time for a drink! My cocktail is a mixture of several moments in history where tea, British influence, and American stubbornness collide. During the Revolutionary War, the colonies promoted patriotism by switching to tea substitutes (made of blackberry, raspberry, or sage leaves), which they proudly dubbed Liberty Tea. Fast forward to the Civil War and another round of wartime rationing. In attempts to starve the South, the Union blockaded major ports, halting exports as well as edible imports like tea, sugar, and foreign spirits. This didn't stop the South from sipping their own cups of Liberty Tea or making other traditional British beverages like the shrub, a peculiar syrup made of fruit, sweetener, and an acidic liquid. Ultimately, all this history boils down to a refreshing beverage that includes flavors born of wartime rations, American resourcefulness, and a bit of enduring Anglomania.
  • Recipe
    • 2 small fresh sage leaves
    • ¾ oz. blackberry molasses shrub*
    • 1½ oz. American whiskey (rye or corn)
    • 2½ oz. club soda
    • Additional sage and fresh blackberries for garnish

    In a small glass add the sage. Muddle until fragrant. Fill glass with crushed ice. Combine the shrub, whiskey, and soda and pour over ice. Garnish with a sprig of sage and a fresh blackberry.

    *Create by mashing together 1 cup fresh blackberries and 3 tbsp. dark molasses in a small container. Top blackberry mash with ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Strain into a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Gunpowder Cream

Marianne Britt Duvendack, Swanton, OH
  • gunpowder cream small
  • The War of 1812 led to the longest, international, peaceful border in the world. As a Ranger at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, I am honored to tell this story daily. One of the best parts of my job is that I also get to work with Parcs Canada Rangers. Last summer, during our Bicentennial activities, Rangers from our sister park, Signal Hill National Historic Site, and several others treated us to a Rum Ceremony. One of the drinks was called Rum Gunpowder. My cocktail takes a bit of the history of the Canadian rum traditions and adds the sweetness of maple syrup (which my family makes here in Ohio), and adds a sweet dollop of cinnamon infused whipped cream. As you drink the cocktail, you start with the rum and tea (a very traditional Newfoundland evening drink), and end with the creamy, sweetness of maple syrup. Before dinner, after dinner, you can't go wrong. And celebrating 200 years of Peace over a cocktail with great friends is indeed a wonderful thing.
  • Recipe
    • 1 oz. pure maple syrup
    • 1½ oz. amber, aged rum
    • 2-3 oz. unsweetened English Breakfast tea, chilled
    • ¼ ounce fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp. whipped cream
    • Dash finely ground cinnamon
    • Cinnamon stick

    Chill a 6 oz. Martini glass. Mix whipped cream with ground cinnamon, and set aside. In a martini shaker, mix rum with iced tea and ice cubes. Shake well, set aside. Carefully pour maple syrup all over the inside of the glass. Slowly pour the tea and rum mix into the glass, straining out the ice. Float the whipped cream on top of the tea/rum mix, add a dash of ground cinnamon to the top. Swizzle with a cinnamon stick.

Hampstead Bonfire

Douglas Atwell, Baltimore, MD
  • hampstead bonfire small
  • This cocktail was inspired by the story of the brig Sophia, which left Holland for the infant United States in 1808 with 720 gallons of Geneva gin. The British navy overtook the ship and levied a hefty cargo tax on the spirit before allowing it to continue its voyage. Upon arriving at port in Baltimore, the locals grew irate at the sailors' tale and began to riot. The owner of the ship turned its contents over to the mob to be "condemned to the flames." The gin was then paraded through the city, east to the lookout point at the top of Hampstead Hill. While 17,000 Baltimoreans looked on, the band played "Yankee Doodle" and the spirit was set ablaze. I wanted to create a cocktail that the Americans who would have enjoyed that doomed cargo of Holland gin could appreciate. Unrefined sugar would've been readily available to most, Madeira was enjoyed by our Founding Fathers, the bitters showcase many botanicals in use at the time, and the garnish recalls the drink's namesake event.
  • Recipe
    • 1½ oz. genever (or better, Holland gin)
    • ¾ oz. rainwater Madeira
    • ¾ oz. brown sugar syrup*
    • Dash aromatic bitters

    In a mixing glass, combine spirits and syrup. Add bitters and ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel, expressing the oils across the surface of the drink.

    *To make brown sugar syrup, simply blend equal parts brown sugar with warm water until crystals dissolve.