The Oregon Trail
For the longest time I thought Oregon was more inland… somewhere more in the Idaho area, for some reason. I just couldn’t imagine it on the coast. At least I didn’t think it was an island, right?
What I *was* fairly sure of was that lots of people traveled to Oregon in the wagoneering days of the mid-1800s (back when you could die from a broken arm–way to scare kids, folks!). This knowledge came from the old computer game The Oregon Trail where you had to safely get your family from point A to point B in 200 or so days with very little money (even by the standards of the time) and a whole passel of children who liked to wander off as well as being accident-prone.
I got a refresher on this game when I found it on my cell phone. It’s been updated somewhat–more activities requiring coordination rather than just guess-work problem solving skills, but it’s still the same game I remember playing during “College for Kids” (gifted program in elementary school: one day a week we’d go to a college campus and get to take special, fun classes, like programming the triangular “turtle” of an Apple IIc to make pretty pictures on the screen).
But I digress.
Despite my earlier misconceptions, Oregon is actually on the West Coast of the US and became our 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Man, can you imagine the other states’ reactions?
“You gave Oregon statehood for Valentine’s Day, what did you get me? A lousy tax break? Harumph!”
But I digress. Again.
Let’s just get to the drink, shall we?
The Oregon Trail
1/2 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Apple Brandy
1 oz Cola
Combine alcohols over ice and shake briskly. Pour in the cola and swirl to chill before straining the finished drink into a chilled cocktail glass.
Turns out, in addition to having lots of breweries and wineries and growing tons of hops, potatoes, apples and pears, Oregon is big in the hazelnut world–90+% of the countries hazelnuts right in the Pacific NW! Go Oregon! So, of course, I’m thinking ‘hello, Frangelico,’ and Applejack hasn’t been used in a while. The soda ensures that tasty caramel color, which I would imagine was what that trail looked like much of the time (though probably not as tasty as this drink!). Your first sip might remind you a bit of a rich root beer float, with just a kick from the apple brandy.
Did you know that today, October 1, isÃ‚Â National Sake Day?
I’ve got some pear sake on the bar and decided to give it a go in the Oregon Trail, in place of the Applejack. It’s not bad! Compared the the original, it’s a bit smoother (according to my helper-taster, Todd) with an almost unctuous mouth-feel. There’s the little tang of sake at the end, making it a somewhat complex taste but definitely satisfying.
If you’re feeling a little cross-cultural, why not give it a try and tell me what you think?