At some point in everyone’s life, they will miss home. Bartenders, who often find themselves working in big cities far from the place they came from, are no exception to this rule. The Fionia—created for the island of Funen in Denmark—is one excellent example we’ve covered here, though we’ve seen countless others on menus while traveling. Gratefully, we’re able to add another wonderful piece of nostalgic storytelling to the list; the ghost coast is an unforgettable gem of a cocktail pulled from the pages of Spirits of Latin America by Ivy Mix. Created by Jesse Harris for Leyenda in Brooklyn, this cocktail is an ode to the beaches of northern California, where eucalyptus lines the forests above the sand. Even though we suffer no such nostalgia (we currently live about fifteen minutes from a eucalyptus lined beach) this drink is so elegantly evocative of one of the most beautiful places on earth, and so innovative in the way it captures the feeling of a place, it doesn’t matter. It is one of the best cocktails we’ve ever made, and undoubtedly worth the little extra effort required to create.
The crux of this drink lies in its use of eucalyptus tincture. This ingredient is the soul of the drink and cannot be skipped. Luckily, the tincture is extremely easy to make, so the only chore will be procuring fresh eucalyptus. Most flower shops will have some on hand, and we’ve been able to snag some from the floral department at grocery stores too. If all else fails, eucalyptus tincture can also be bought from Wal-Mart. The original recipe also calls for Giffard creme de banane; we’ve never tried the Giffard variety, but whole-heartedly recommend the Tempus Fugit version, which is irrevocably decadent and memorable with deep sugary flavors reminiscent of banana bread. You will be scouring for reasons to use it, we promise.
The drink itself is seasonally versatile, though we think it plays best on a foggy day in early spring: one reminiscent of the marine layer that so often coats the coastal redwoods in California. It starts off like a classic Margarita, with lime and agave on the nose with just a hint of banana bread and honey. On the sip things continue like a Margarita, with sour and sweet notes, before transitioning into a big bouquet of warm flavors from the maple, banana, and honey before finally ending with a big lingering herbal complexity from the eucalyptus. This finish takes the drink from good to great with a wonderful element of storytelling and surprise, the kind that will have even the most well-traveled cocktail drinkers saying “what is that?” Reach for this recipe when something new and adventurous is on the docket, or perhaps you simply miss a special place.