For our series of cocktails featuring Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt, our flagship blend of American single malts from across the United States, we wanted to take folks on a road trip from Seattle to Nantucket (with stops along the way at some of our favorite distilleries!). Each American Vatted Malt cocktail is inspired by something interesting we saw, something we tasted or someone we met. Together, this series is a way to begin to chart a relatively unexplored frontier in the cocktail world: drinks made with American single malt (or in this case, a blend of them!). Brought to you by our California state manager, Drew Record.
First up in the series: The Fremont Troll.
Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Cocktail: The Fremont Troll
Named for one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic roadside attractions, this classic highball recreates the style of spring water you’d find in the Cascade Mountains just outside of Seattle where Copperworks Distilling is located. In the mountains, snowpack makes its way through pumice on the way into the water table and back through quartz on its way out to the bottle. The volcanic range is rich in potassium and calcium so we have added it back to our house-made soda water bringing it to a pH of about 8. The rich mouth feel of basic water combined with aggressive bubbles gives the perfect counterpoint to the nuances of American Vatted Malt.
The Fremont Troll Cocktail: The Story
Have you ever gotten the chance to work with someone you have admired professionally for a long time? When I was opening Chezchez in San Francisco I realized there was just too much to do on my own and I needed to call in some help. I had permits and plans to finalize, art to procure, steps of service to devise and write, furniture to source and so much more. When it came to writing cocktail menus my business partner and I were both old hat, but it just happened that someone we both looked up to in the booze business was between gigs and had some time to help us develop a couple of menus.
Enter Jennifer Colliau. If you haven’t seen her byline on any of numerous cocktail articles she’s written or edited I’ll give you the brief bio. Jennifer has been bartending up and down the state of California for years. She was the founding beverage director for The Interval (part of the Long Now Foundation, a fascinating organization which fosters projects for long term thinking) as well as the owner of the lauded and much missed Here’s How in Oakland. She operates an incredible syrup company called Small Hands Foods, which helped to revive several lost cocktail ingredients including pineapple gum syrup and orgeat. And she wrote the section on citrus in the Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails… need I say more? Writing a menu with Jennifer was a dream. She is equal parts Marie Curie and Willy Wonka.
One day while pausing an argument of how loose the definition of an Old Fashioned could be stretched before it was no longer recognizable as such (the answer is a champagne old fashioned) we started talking about soda water. As bartenders we drink a lot of bubbly things and sometimes when we reckon with the costs, both monetary and environmental, we start to ponder alternatives. Jennifer then excitedly shared with me a blog she stumbled upon years before and said matter of factly, “You can make any soda water you want. You just need some minerals and gas.” The thought was intriguing. We could cut down on the waste of all those extra bottles and the carbon footprint of having them shipped from every far corner of the world. Jennifer had applied this technique at Here’s How in their formulation for Topo Chico style soda water, which she had rigged to stream off of the soda guns at each well.
By simply figuring out what makes your favorite sparkling water unique, you can try your hand at recreating them at home. At Chezchez we took this one step further adding the minerals to a cocktail we wanted to be rich and bubbly without having it further diluted by water. Or as Jennifer asked me wide-eyed, “what if you could add sparkling mineral water to a spritz without adding water?” For the bar this meant a lot of minerals purchased and then meticulously measured and blended. This American Vatted Malt cocktail is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t want to precisely measure out powdered mineral compounds, I’d advise instead picking up a few different soda waters from the store and doing a blind taste test of which ones you like best in a highball. If you really want to nerd out with us, then proceed with caution.
The Fremont Troll Recipe: A Quintessential American Vatted Malt Cocktail
2 oz Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt
4 oz “Seattle sparkling water”
Combine ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Our “Seattle sparkling water” will use sodium chloride (table salt), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), magnesium citrate and potassium chloride (readily available supplements). A note on the use of supplements before we go on. We are not medical professionals and you should absolutely consult with your doctor before using any and all supplements if you have any known health conditions or to discuss medical interactions. We won’t dive into some of the more complex minerals like calcium sulfate (gypsum), magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia), or calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) as these need to be handled with a bit more caution and best not to be experimented with lightly.
Get out your best kitchen scale and measure out the following : 2800 mg table salt (if you’ve got a volcanic salt even better), 4000 mg sodium bicarbonate (better known as baking soda), 800 mg magnesium citrate and 1200 mg potassium chloride. Mix these powders thoroughly and this will form your mineral solution.
Depending on your at home soda making equipment the volume of water you’ll make will vary. For a Sodastream, the normal fill line is approximately 850 ml, you’ll want to underfill to 750 ml of chilled water. You’ll add 1.5 g of mineral solution to the water and then carbonate as usual. On my machine I added three long additions of CO2, letting the water settle between each and giving it ample time on the valve before releasing the bottle. Cap firmly and shake contents vigorously. Leave in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until the water has turned clear again. Now it is ready to use in your Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt highball.
Of course you could also just go to the store and pick up some Cascade Mountain Spring sparkling water. But where is the fun in that?
Learn more about what went into making Lost Lantern’s American Vatted Malt, our flagship whiskey and one of the first blends of American single malt ever made!