For half of my life, there was a four year gap between Olympic years. Since the 1994 Winter games, there have been some sort of Olympics every two years. They alternate, with the Summer games coming up in Rio in 2016, and the next Winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. However, at one point there was a 1,500 year gap between games. In 393 A.D., a Roman emperor haled all pagan rituals, including the ancient Greek Olympics. It was not until physical fitness enthusiast Baron Pierre de Coubertin visited Athens in the late 19th century that the Modern Olympic Games began. That same city, Athens, hosted the first games in 1896. The symbols we know and love today were still in a state of flux, but the ancient games became a new symbol for international cooperation and competition. Countries were able to send their best amateur athletes to compete for recognition and medals. The rings were first flown over the 1920 games in Antwerp. Four years later, the official motto of the games, Citius Altius Fortius ("Faster, Higher, Stronger" in Latin) was adopted.
Jason Littrell is no amateur bartender. He may have had humble beginnings, but he has become well known though his relentless enthusiasm and ability to craft a fine cocktail. The fact that he has developed the phrase "hockey drunk" makes me a little happy, since I am a huge hockey enthusiast. He now runs a global hospitality consultancy called Critical Mass, so he must be doing something right. His Citius Altius Fortius cocktail was inspired by the global nature of the games, drawing liquors from around the world. It shows that they, too, can all come together in one place to create something that is greater than the sum of the parts.
Citius Altius Fortius (by Jason Littrell)
2 oz./ 60 mL Bluecoat Gin (United States)
.5 oz./ 7 mL Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth (France)
.5 oz./ 7 mL Martini and Rossi Rosso Vermouth (Italy)
2 ds. Bitter Truth Orange Bitters (Germany)
1 tsp./ 5 mL Kubler Absinthe (Switzerland)
1 tsp./ 5 mL Crown Royal Whisky (Canada)
1 tsp./ 5 mL simple syrup
Garnish: Half an Orange Wheel
Pour all of the ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into the cocktail glass, garnish with the orange and serve.
Absinthe, in all of its forms, has a distinct flavor. This is the first thing that hit my palate when I took a sip. It quickly washes away into the gin and vermouth, but that first flavor experience creates a love/hate relationship. I am a fan of it, so I enjoyed this cocktail. Especially when followed by an American, floral gin. I used a couple of different liquors (Absente absinthe from France and Aviation gin), but I am confident the flavor profile is similar. This is something I would certainly make again, enjoying the international cooperation that we so rarely get to see. Not just once every two years.