In looking up drinks to try using the bitters that I had procured in my trip to Vancouver, BC, and while I was in still in holiday mode, I was cruising the internet looking at recipes and came across an drink made with orange juice, orange bitters and curacao along with both dry and sweet vermouth and gin. Being in full holiday mode and awaiting the arrival of Christmas, my brain translated the drink as Santa’s Whiskers – Curled and I thought, what a fun thing to try as a virgin make-over during the holiday!
Turns out I was experiencing a dyslexic moment, as the true name of the drink is Satan’s Whiskers – Curled. Oops.
Not to be daunted by misspelling, I gamely converted the drink into a virgin creation substituting curaçao for curaçao syrup which I had picked up (but is also simple enough to make with some orange rinds, simple syrup and blue food colouring), white grape juice for the dry vermouth and a blend of apple juice, lemon juice and water for the sweet vermouth. The idea for the substitution was based on cooking substitutions for alcohol which if you are interested you can find here.
The result was a fun blue drink, with a nice flavour complex and no name! Without the 2 oz of alcohol, the drink is not as “wicked” as the original and needed a name that fit the new flavour of the beverage.
- 1 oz juniper and lemon tea (see below)
- 1 oz Apple Lemon Blend (see below)
- 1 oz white grape juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1 oz curaçao syrup (or for do it yourself check here)
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Blend all ingredients in a mixer with ice and shake well. Strain into a old-fashioned glass and serve with a twist of orange. Or serve over shaved ice in a tall glass for an elegant and modern look.
This drink received positive reviews from young and old while we were on holidays. Everyone found the beverage tasty and commented on the nice blend of flavours. The addition of the Juniper tea enhances the drink flavour, however the cinnamon was the prevalent flavour and I may reduce the cinnamon by half or less (break the stick into a smaller bit). Depending on what tea you choose to use this drink will vary slightly in flavour.
This drink really relies on the blend of flavours, I tried it again later but didn’t have any white grape juice available, the mix didn’t have as much power and presence.
If you wish to keep this drink less complex, omit the tea. The drink will change in flavour only slightly, but who’s to know but you?
Kid-o-metre 5/5 This drink was enjoyed by my daughters and the adults.
Taste: 4.4/5 This drink can be made with or without the juniper tea, and either way it’s enjoyable.. just different.
Simplicity: 3/5 If you can find curaçao it is slightly easier, but making the juniper tea increases the difficulty of this drink.
Ingredient finding: 2/5 juniper berries, specialty tea and specialty syrups… all need to be shipped in or pick them up on a trip to a specialty store.
Gin Flavouring – Juniper Tea Recipe
To replace gin I wanted a infusion or tea that included a blend of flavours. Gin is normally predominantly juniper, but includes such botanicals as orange and lemon peel, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica and coriander among others. According to ginvodka.org there are usually from six to ten flavouring agents (or botanicals) in the gin making process. So for a replacement I chose a tea, and instead of a simple juniper berry tea I chose a tea from DavidsTea called Detox which has juniper, lemongrass, ginger in it’s flavour profile and added about 2 Tbsp juniper berries, cinnamon and a few cardamon pods to the mix.
3 tsp juniper/lemongrass based tea (detox or other variety)
2 Tbps juniper berries (dried)
4 cardamon pods
1-1/2 cinnamon stick
Brew all ingredients for half hour in hot water, strain and cool. Store until needed.
Apple Lemon Blend
Knowing someone who knew the taste of vermouth is very helpful in making a replacement. The description of what to replace sweet vermouth from the website mentioned above include apple juice or a blend of lemon juice and water. I worked out a recipe that my taste tester says is very “vermouthy”.
6 oz apple juice
2 oz water
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Blend ingredients and chill until needed.
I am a big fan of this virgin version of the drink and look forward to serving this to friends in the future. How does it compare to the original Satan’s Whiskers? Mild, very mild, I would guess.