Black Dragon on Fire – a lockdown cocktail invention inspired by Vikings
Many things have been invented in lockdown, but the invention I am most proud of is the the Black Dragon on Fire. Encouraged to come up with my own cocktail for a charity cocktail competition, I’d been putting off the moment unsure what to do. Suddenly, following a fascinating if rather grueling virtual exhibition of the Vikings at the British Museum, inspiration hit me. It must have been the dragon art and the fiery Viking character. Whatever it was, it made a bloody good cocktail, though I say it myself!
Being both a tea and whisky enthusiast, a friend had given me a bottle of Noveltea’s oolong infused whisky. I decided that should be the base. Oolong in Chinese translates as black dragon. I pulled out a few bottles from my embarrassingly large alcohol collection and started tasting different ones against the Noveltea base to the shock and horror of my teetotal housemates, who had chosen that exact moment to come into the kitchen. They soon got into the mood, however, and by the time I was enjoying the result on the roof terrace at sunset, they were green with envy. I’m afraid to say I did rather gloat and glory in it as I watched them sipping at their unappetising mugs of green tea with the tea bags still stewing inside.
The flavours I eventually settled on were mulled winter fruits and Sarsaparilla root. Sarsaparilla has a wonderful, vanilla-like sweetness to a background of earthy, herbal flavours typical of root teas. These flavours were part of my collection of Poetic License gins and gin liqueurs, so the added gin really gave the cocktail an extra kick. Not exactly seasonal for June, but still a cocktail to absolutely whisk you off your feet at any time of year and the tea makes it surprisingly light and refreshing even in hot weather.
What really made it, however, were the finishing touches. Cocktails aren’t cocktails if they don’t look as well as taste spectacular. What was I going to do with what I had available in my lockdown cupboard to achieve that? Like a bolt from the blue, I remembered the fresh chilli I kept in my freezer and the remaining cubes of dark cooking chocolate I had spotted the other day in the baking cupboard. I grated the dark chocolate over the top of the cocktail producing shavings that floated on the surface and then sliced the chilli length-ways down the middle and wedged it on the glass. These were no mere decorations. The dark chocolate means that the initial sweetness is made even more tantalising by the erotic headiness of the bitter cocoa, and the chilli quietly sits on the side infusing the drink so that the longer you take to enjoy it, the spicier it gets. Some drink!
I’m sure you could have a go at making this cocktail with the raw ingredients, but here is what I did:
Black Dragon on Fire cocktail recipe
- 1/3 cup or 86ml (2 parts) Noveltea oolong tea with whisky
- 1/6 cup or 43ml (1 part) Poetic License sarsaparilla gin liqueur
- 1/6 cup or 43ml (1 part) Poetic License fireside gin infused with mulled winter fruit
- 1 fresh chilli to garnish (I stuck mine back in the freezer afterwards for alcohol infused curries in the future)
- 1 cube of dark chocolate to shave on top
You can now find the ingredients via our new gourmet shop.