Of all the things you can bring home with you from your Alaska cruise: photographs, souvenirs, new friends, memories and tales of adventure; you can now add cocktail recipe to the list. The bartenders at Norwegian Cruise Line have crafted a new cocktail to complement the Alaska cruises, and they are happy to share the recipe with you. Be sure to try it while on board. The new Northern Lights cocktail is a refreshing blend of gin, lime juice, soft drink and fresh mint. The gin and the mint have cooling properties, much like the fresh, clear waters of Alaska. The name is a nod to the mysterious Northern Lights of the polar north. The taste is invigorating after a long day exploring the sights.
Northern Lights is a takeoff on the classic gimlet cocktail, made with equal parts gin and lime juice. Like the Northern Lights cocktail, you might say that the gimlet was also born at sea. As the story goes, the gimlet is named for British Royal Navy Surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette. At the turn of the 19th century, Gimlette sought a way to stave off scurvy in the Navy ranks. Sailors needed their daily supply of vitamin C. As a remedy, Gimlette served lime juice. But the only way to assure that sailors would drink it was by mixing it with gin. Thus, the gimlet was born.
When Norwegian bartenders sought a name for their new cocktail, they wanted something to identify the drink with Alaska. The solution seemed obvious…Northern Lights. Many visitors to Alaska hope to catch a glimpse of the mysterious phenomenon, some even have it on their bucket list. If there's a drink to complement the experience, even better.
According to the Northern Lights Centre, in Canada's far north Yukon Territory, the Northern Lights, or "aurora borealis," are "the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the earth's atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere." The phenomenon is seen above the earth's magnetic poles. The most common colors are green and pink, but don't be surprised to see shades of red, yellow, green, blue and violet. The color depends on which gas in the atmosphere the sun's particles are colliding with. The phenomenon is different every night. The Centre further says, "The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow."
Indigenous tribes once believe that the lights were the reflections of torches and campfires lit by the gods. In Medieval times, the lights were seen as warnings of coming war or famine. The Inuit of Alaska believed the lights were the spirits of the animals that they hunted: seals, salmon, deer and whales. Today, those lucky enough to see the lights, and perhaps check an item off their bucket list, might see the lights as the perfect occasion to order a Northern Lights cocktail.
1 ½ oz. Hendricks Gin
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
4 mint leaves
Top with lemon-lime soda
Garnish: lime wheel, thinly sliced with mandolin, and mint spring
Add ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with plenty of ice. Garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.