Netflix’s “The Witcher” (which dropped Dec. 20) is racking up the views, and I am here for it. Helmed by Henry Cavill (aka Superman), this show is fantastical, complex, and incredibly fun to watch. Those of you who remember my Game of Thrones cocktail series know I loooove a themed cocktail (especially one that’s character-driven), so I present to you the White Wolf, a riff on a Manhattan cocktail named after the monster-bounty-hunter, Geralt of Rivia, a.k.a. The Witcher.
Let’s talk about Henry Cavill
I had never heard of Henry Cavill before I started watching The Witcher. (I know, I know, I must live under a rock.) But in my defense, from 2012-2015, when he was Superman, I was busy birthing babies and raising newborns. I legit pretty much never left the house, much less actually saw a movie that wasn’t animated.)
BTW, Henry Cavill is the Witcher. He took a character that a lesser actor would have made laughably ridiculous, but with him it just works. I don’t even know who else was up for the role, but casting hit a home run. He’s the ideal (and quite difficult-to-pull-off) combination of broody, earnest, menacing, and endearing. Side note: if you haven’t seen Sand Castle on Netflix, that British boy Cavill can drawl like the best of them.
In the Witcher, despite most often oscillating between murmuring “hmm” and muttering perfectly-timed expletives, Cavill has entirely transformed into Geralt, and as a viewer, that is so cool to watch. Even with (oft-filthy) snow-white hair and amber eyes, he’s not bad to look at, either. So there’s definitely that going for it.
What the heck is the Witcher, anyway?
The Witcher began as a series of books by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. Geralt is a mutant saddled with the task of making a living by killing monsters. These books inspired a video game series (into which I delved just a bit into the sub/redddit world and quickly realized I was way over my head). So essentially, there are three ways to get your Witcher fix. Pick your poison.
So you said there’s a cocktail, amiright?
A Manhattan is one of my absolute favorite cocktails, and despite this classic being well, a classic, it’s entirely riffable. I subbed Earl Grey-and-vanilla infused rye whiskey for the spirit and added orange bitters to complement the sweet vermouth. It’s a warm, potent sipper for an ominous night spent hunting monsters.
This cocktail is everything Geralt: strong, spicy, and a touch sweet (while Geralt doesn’t exactly have a heart of gold, its certainly bronze-ish). Toss a coin to your witcher and brew one up today (because you’re surely not going to want to wait until 2021 when the next season drops).
The White Wolf
The Witcher-inspired cocktail The White Wolf is strong, spicy, and a touch sweet.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1- inch piece of vanilla bean split
- 1 bag of Earl Grey tea or a teaspoon of Earl Grey tea leaves
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Angostura Orange bitters
- orange twist
- brandied cherries
In a jar, combine the vanilla bean, rye and tea.
Shake vigorously to infuse, cover, and let sit for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Place ice in a cocktail shaker.
Add the infused rye, vermouth and bitters.
Rub the orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass.
Shake the drink and strain into the glass.
Garnish with orange peel and cherries.
Stay tuned for more Witcher cocktails in the coming weeks, because I am on a roll…