Today at The Drunkard’s Almanac we’ll be preparing to mix a modern take on an old classic, the Grasshopper cocktail, In honor of National Triglycerides Day on March 28. Sure, we could write about Serf’s Emancipation Day in Tibet or the first flight of a seaplane in 1910 as inspiration for drink. But neither of those provide an opportunity to embody both the poison and the cure in a single concoction.
Of course, we’re not doctors and we didn’t consult any cardiologists about triglycerides. But if you would like to thumb your nose at the world of blood lipids, at least for a moment, we have the path.
National Triglycerides Day
Just as a quick refresher, triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that’s floating around in your blood Speaking simply, they’re what food you eat becomes when it doesn’t get used as energy right away. You need them for a variety of reasons, but this is a case in which too much of a good thing is not a better thing. Triglyceride levels along with cholesterol levels are important health metrics.
All kinds of maladies may be related to high triglycerides, so the National Day was enacted to remind people to understand their triglyceride level and remind them to get it checked now and then. Of course, it also becomes an opportunity for your doctor to recommend healthy things to do. Things like eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains are certainly there. So is exercise, though the jury is out on the benefits of lugging bags of ice or extended cocktail shaking.
We might hope that alcohol will simply act as a solvent to remove triglycerides, but to our dismay that’s not the case. If it were we’d probably just recommend Frank Sinatra’s favorite drink, the 3-2-1. The unfortunate reality is that too much alcohol is associated with elevated triglycerides. Sure, there are guidelines, but we can’t say that a Lipitor chaser following a drink will clear things up. Nonetheless, sometimes we’re here to thumb our noses at medical wisdom.
That’s why in honor of National Triglyceride Day we’re going to mix up a variation of a cocktail that adds a scoop of vanilla ice cream to its customary measure of heavy cream. That’s right, fat on fat, a lipid assault on your very being. But one that sure tastes great.
The Grasshopper Cocktail
The Grasshopper emerged sometime in the early to mid-20th century as a sweet, mint flavored cocktail usually served after dinner. According to David Wondrich’s The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, its two alcoholic ingredients of crème de menthe and crème de cacao first met up around 1908. That was when San Francisco bartender Bill Boothby named it the Grasshopper and described it as a layered shot in his book World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them.
But it has changed a lot since then. Exactly how or when the Grasshopper evolved to include cream. New Orleans legend says it happened there in 1928. Wondrich reports that written records point to the American Midwest following World War II, but nobody seems to know anything more precise.
The drink became popular in the 1950s as some folks abandoned whiskey heavy drinks for something lighter and sweeter, but in general that ill-advised trend died out.
The Grasshopper remained popular longest in the American Midwest, where it also became common to substitute ice cream for plain cream. But hey, what do you expect in a region where jello molds constitute a food group?
This is why, if you feel like thumbing your nose at National Triglyceride Day we advise doing it in style, with a drink that brings both cream and ice cream to the party and then augments the whole thing with some Fernet Branca.
The recipe we present today is that of Bartender and author Jeffrey Morganthaler. He developed this version at Pepe le Moko in Portland, which has since closed.
- Blender or food processor
- 1½ oz Creme de Menthe Prefereably green.
- 1½ oz Creme de Cacao Preferably white.
- 1 tsp Fernet Branca
- 1½ oz Half and Half or Cream
- 1 scoop Vanilla ice cream
- ½ cup Crushed ice
- Garnish: Mint sprig
- Add all ingredients to blender.
- Blend until smooth
- Pour into glass and garnish with mint sprig.