Hi, Fantasy lovers! For those of you who are cocktail lovers, too, we are starting a new segment: Fantasy Cocktails. This will feature cocktails inspired by fantasy book covers and characters. In honor of next months release of Elise Kova’s Crystal Crowned, finale of the Air Awakens series, we will be kick-starting this venture by crafting a cocktail inspired by each book in the series- 5 total! Our first cocktail pays tribute to the book that started it all: Air Awakens.
This is a vodka-based cocktail with elements of peach, honey, lavender, and green tea. It is inspired not only by the gorgeous cover, but the protagonist Vhalla Yarl. The book cover is a slightly peachy/mauve in color- reminiscent of peaches, honey, and lavender. These ingredients are sweet and delicate, which also embodies the spirit of Vhalla Yarl at the beginning of the book. However, there is more to her than meets the eye- a subtle complexity that emerges. Enter the green tea, which not only plays off the other flavors, but the slight Asian feel of the cover. The green tea actually makes this drink, as it highlights the lavender component, gives it depth, and really brings all the flavors together. Overall, this is a complex, unique, and refreshing drink- just like the book!
The Recipe: Air Awakens Cocktail
- 1.5 oz. Vodka
- 1.5 tsp. Honey-Lavender simple syrup*
- 3 tbsp. homemade peach puree*
- 2 oz. green tea
- 1.5 oz. soda water
Serve over ice. We used a pretty glass for aesthetics, but mason jars work great.
*Recipes below. Can be made in advance. Adjust ratios/sweetness to taste- start small and add more as needed.
Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup: Bring 2/3 cup honey, ½ cup water to boil. Add about 1.5 tbsp. fresh lavender. Let steep for about 25 minutes and strain. Store in refrigerator.
Peach Puree: Peel, de-pit, and slice 5 peaches. Put in blender/food processor. Add juice from a small slice of lemon (about an 1/8) and 1- 2 tbsp. of Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup. Strain. Amount of latter will vary depending on the sweetness of your peaches. Err on the side of the caution as you can adjust sweetness by adding more Honey-Lavender Simple Syrup during the actual drink making process. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
This is truly a drink of trial and error and took several hours to perfect. I know, sometimes being a blogger can be such hard work! However, we (Leia C. and I) were dedicated to starting this particular segment with something spectacular.
Unlike Vhalla Yarl’s powers in Air Awakens, drinks as good as this one don’t just magically appear from air- they are a process and take effort. When I initially conceptualized this drink I knew I wanted something peach flavored to encapsulate the feel of the book and protagonist. However, peaches alone seemed boring and this book is definitely not. I had recently bought a lavender plant and had been reading about infused simple syrups for summer drinks. I’m not a huge fan of sugar in my drinks as it tends to give me headaches, so honey seemed like not only a better option for me, but better complement to the flavors. I made the honey-lavender simple syrup the night before, eventually settling on my own recipe after perusing through a few on the internet. They all differ slightly- but my recommendations are in the recipe above. Just boil some honey and water in a sauce pan, add lavender, steep, and strain.
Now because I’m not a huge fan of overly sweetened drinks, I also decided to go with my own peach puree instead of buying store bought. In addition, it’s summer and peaches are in season, which actually makes this more cost effective. Puree is easy to make, just be careful to put the pits off to the side and not accidently throw them in the blender/food processor with everything else (whoops). The puree itself was lacking color, so I decided to remedy this with some food coloring. I added a little too much and it was pinker than I would have liked, but luckily the green tea brought it to a more acceptable hue. However, I would recommend only adding a touch of color (if using white peaches) or foregoing completely for a less ‘girly’ feel. And don’t be intimated by making your own purees or simple syrups. They are quite easy and well worth the added effort. Drinks are flexible, not a precise art like baking so you can adjust flavors and ratios to personal preference during the mixing process. Plus, these ingredients can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
When making this drink I started with vodka, puree, honey-lavender syrup, and soda water and added a little at time to nail down the ratios. While it was very refreshing- it lacked depth and tasted a little too much like vodka. It needed something and I didn’t want to make it overly sweet. I tried muddling some lavender but it was still off in flavor. I discovered more lavender is not actually better in a drink, but worse. Subtly is key with lavender in cocktails.
After several drinks, we were still scratching our heads trying to figure out the final component it needed. While going over possibilities, tea was suggested. We decided on green tea due to the other flavors and Asian-feel of the cover. After brewing and chilling some we tried it in the next round. After adjusting some ratios- we had found perfection. Unfortunately, this drink is so good that we are not quite sure how we can top this for the next segment. But, we’re definitely up for the challenge!
Posted by: Pamela J.