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A Cocktail Recipe For Judgement Day – The Last Plane Out Cocktail

Submitted by Tim Brice on May 17, 2011 – 4:01 pmNo Comment

As you may have heard, the world as we know it comes to an end on May 21, 2011 at 6 pm.  In other words, in four days, no more us.   So run up your bar tab without fear for at least three more long nights out.  Drink that twenty year old scotch you have been eyeing on the top shelf.  And if your bar of choice still has a juke box, drop a coin on some Al Green and finally ask Ms. Out Of Your League to share a moving moment.  It is time to empty the drinkers bucket list and to live like time is running out.  Continue tipping generously, however, as karma points might be important right about now.


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The Last Plane Out Cocktail

I do not prescribe to such thoughts or beliefs, however.  Not that I am an atheist or otherwise non-religious, mind you.  The contrary is actually true.  I just know that the world has been forecast to end on numerous days past and yet the sun still shines, I still have to pay rent, and the new Beverly Hills 90210 is still on television.  While the latter may seem like proof that we are all currently living in hell, it is more likely that we are not and are instead still swimming our way through the big coi pond of life; bumping into one another as we struggle to make our way and find our calling, our happiness, our place.


That said, as a man who enjoys a quality spirit, the notion of pending collective finality has brought me to consider what cocktail I would want to drink as I toast all that was and will never again be.  Should it be one of my favorite classics?  Perhaps something grounded in a hope filled period in history like a Martinez.  Maybe it should it be a drink that embodies the character of timeless grace and class, like a proper  gin Martini, to serve as a personal reminder of the way I wish to face my final moments.  How about the contrary, a cheap beer to follow a shot of a harsh tasting tequila designed take the edge off quickly while also acknowledging the futility of all our struggles now that we know what the end game really is.

After much reflection, I decided that none of these notions were appropriate.   No, this last drink should be the last something new I would ever experience.  That is it!  I thought.  I would create a new cocktail and savor it as we all catch the proverbial last plane out.

However, somewhere in my third week of considering all the elements that should go into a personal end of the world cocktail, I realized the amount of time and thought I had invested in pondering the problem of how to give our collective journey a proper send off.  Originally, this was supposed to be a quick and snarky piece using someones faith, regardless of how earnest their beliefs may be, and use it as fodder for my booze filled amusement.  Instead, it had grown into larger thoughts of grander themes encompassing not just the end of us as we know us, but also way too much self reflection upon the meaning of a mans life, the symbolism of beginnings and endings, of journeys both singular and shared.  I then compared the drink ordered at the end of the world versus just before an execution and how different, if at all, they might be.  Clearly my mind was wandering.  This was supposed to be fun and irreverent but, instead, had become disappointingly heavy and compelling.  I could not let this one go.

Suddenly, I realized that I was not looking for the perfect cocktail.  Instead, I was seeking something unexpected, more than the sum of its parts, and maybe a little uneven or imperfect, like my life.  I was looking for a drink, it appeared, that summed up my life more than provide punctuation for it.  How is that for mid-life male reflection?  Searching for meaning and eventual self acceptance in five ounces of booze and bitters all served in a properly chilled glass.  At least I have not set the bar too high.

At the end of the day (or world in this case), what modern culture defines as a mid-life crisis is actually a man searching for self acceptance for what he has done, has lived, and actually is in all his glory and imperfections.  Is this all there is, all I am and all I will be?  At the moment of our collective final bow, that last cocktail will say to him, “yes, my friend, this is it and it is good.  So drink up.”

So, what was supposed to take me an hour has taken nearly a month.   At the end of it all of this, I have landed upon what I feel is the proper filter for consideration of this problem.  The main principles for creating my end of the world cocktail are as follows:

  1. Price should not really be a concern.  Get the necessary ingredients, whatever they may be.
  2. That said, it should not be all top shelf and should incorporate something ordinary.
  3. It should be just sweet enough to recall simple pleasures.
  4. It should be unusual enough to evoke the unforeseen forks in the road of life.
  5. It must contain some sort of culinary-ish ingredient as I have a life long love of cooking.
  6. It must be served in a chilled coupe because I think they have timeless cool about them.
  7. It should pair well with a nice cigar as well.

With this as my guide, I began to imagine what ingredients I thought should be on the short list .  As any reader of this site will quickly gather, I love gin.  To me, though, gin is elegant.  I wanted something with class, like gin, but a bit more raw.  After a tasting and pondering a slew of base spirits, I settled on Redemption High Rye Bourbon, a bourbon made from 38.2% rye, a small bit of barley malt and the balance based on corn.  It has the smooth vanilla-ness of bourbon with a bit of the  harshness of the rye that I think mixes so well in a cocktail.

Due to my life long love of cooking, I decided my accompanying booze list would play a secondary role to other culinary ingredients.  My list included apricots, Meyer lemons, limes, grapefruits, avocado, jalapeños, figs, blackberries and more.  When I was out shopping for ingredients for my taste tests, I had the crazy notion of including a tiny bit of goat cheese to the cocktail.  I wondered if it would give me a fattier mouthfeel along with the inevitable tang that it would bring.  So I bought a log of Laura Chenel goat cheese and brought it home to try it out.

Many of my favorite cocktails have a citrus versus sweet balance.  I wanted both to be present but a bit muted in this cocktail.  For the muted citrus, I used fresh Meyer lemon juice and offset it with fig jam, both ingredients that are come from my native California.  I also played with a few different fresh herbs as I have often had fresh herbs growing around my home during my adult life.

After many failed attempts, the final cocktail, affectionately called The Last Plane Out cocktail, is a combination of Redemption High-Rye Bourbon, Green Chartreuse, fig jam, Meyer lemon juice, muddled fresh rosemary, Laura Chenel goat cheese and a micro pinch of salt.

Yes, I did say goat cheese.  A third of a teaspoon provides a bit of velvety mouthfeel and just a hint of that goat cheese bite on the finish.  It also clouds up the drink which I don’t mind.  I will definitely use this ingredient (carefully) in future cocktails.  The goat cheese and fig jam combination is fantastic in this cocktail and not just on crackers.  I once had an appetizer of goat cheese, pancetta and fig jam that makes me wonder if bacon infused bourbon would be good here as well.

The fig jam I used came from The Wild Pear Co. of Petaluma.  They have a range of really interesting jams that would work in a myriad of cocktails let alone on toast.

All of which leads us to this point, our gate for The Last Plane Out.  Please have your boarding passes ready and don’t worry about carry on baggage.  It won’t matter much anymore.

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The Last Plane Out Cocktail

The Last Plane Out Cocktail



2 ounces Redmention High-Rye Bourbon (or straight Rye)

1 ounce Green Chartreuse

1 tsp Meyer lemon juice

2 tsp fig jam

1/3 tsp Laura Chenel goat cheese

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 tiny micro pinch of salt


In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the rosemary with the salt for ten good strong turns.  Add the fig jam, goat cheese and lemon juice and use the muddler to combine.  Add the bourbon and Chartreuse along with ice and shake extremely well to combine.  Two part strain into a chilled coupe glass by using a cocktail strainer and small fine mesh sieve.  Serve immediately and enjoy.






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