|The White Gold Tower|
Drink recipes? IN the game? It's Skyrim! And it's Alcohol! Resistance is futile. Lucky you!
This post is the first in a series of all three drinks.
Lexi and I always put a great deal of thought and research into comestibles we redact from fictional sources. We're obsessed with canon, and The White Gold Tower was no exception. Our goals for coming up with the Bee & Barb drinks were to create concoctions that are delicious and yet still embody the spirit of both the game while sticking religiously to the drink's in-game description.
We started with the verbatim in-game description, from Talen-Jei himself:
...we have the White Gold Tower, which is heavy cream with a layer of blended mead, lavender, and Dragon's Tongue on top.This is a drink which sounds sweet, smooth, floral, and elegant. I had visions of the ancient, somewhat mysterious nobility of the extinct Ayleids, as embodied by the slender spire rising pale and proud above the walls of the Imperial City.
The ingredients seemed straightforward enough, with at least three of them readily available in the real world (mead, lavender, and heavy cream).
Rustling up some Dragon's Tongue proved to be the first challenge. What is it, and is there any comparable analog in the real world? As it turns out, there are a couple of plants named Dragon's Tongue out there. One of them is an heirloom bean, the other a house plant of questionable edibility. The bean is edible, but neither plant actually looks anything like the plant found while wandering the wilds of the Skyrim universe. Rather than the tiny flowers found on real Dragon's Tongue plants, the Skyrim Dragon's Tongue is a tall, orchid-like affair.
|Dragon's Tongue, Skyrim. Image: Bethesda Game Studios, via the Elder Scrolls Wiki.|
For the lavender, we debated a few options: lavender-flavored syrup, lavender-infused simple syrup, or lavender-infused vodka. Lexi picked up a pre-made lavender syrup, but it tasted too much like soap. In the end I decided to make a lavender-infused simple syrup (because drinks shouldn't leave bits of lavender in your teeth), per the following recipe:
Lavender Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp dried culinary lavender
Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a near-boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat. When cooled, strain into a clean jar or other lidded container and refrigerate.
As for mead, there are several brands on the market, each with different qualities. I picked up a Sky River semi-sweet mead. An initial taste test left me thinking that, while not as cloyingly sweet as some meads can be, the drink needed a much stronger honey flavor, and the Sky River was too light. So I suggested that Lexi pick up a bottle of Chaucer's. She also found some dark mead by Hidden Legend Winery so we could mix and match (Talen-Jei does say it's made with "blended mead", after all).
Talen-Jei describes the drink as being heavy cream with the mead and lavender floated on top, but Lexi and I suspected that the lighter lipids in the cream would layer the drink the opposite way, with the cream on top and the mead on the bottom. Initial mixes showed some immediate issues: the cream must be heavy cream (36% milkfat), because a lighter cream, half-and-half, or whole milk will curdle right away, leaving the drink a sweet, clumpy, clotted disgusting mess.
|DON'T CROSS THE CREAMS!!|
After a few botched attempts, we had the brilliant idea of doing a float over the back of a spoon. The result was infinitely more appetizing:
|Heavy cream float on light mead|
White Gold Tower
1 part mead (all one brand, or a mix of brands)
1 part lavender simple syrup
Heavy cream (traditional 36%)
Pour the meads into the glass, letting them mix on their own (if you're using more than one mead).
Pour in the lavender syrup.
Invert a metal teaspoon over the liquid, bracing the tip against the side of the glass; slowly pour the cream over the back of the spoon until it's formed a layer in the mead about 1/4" to 1/2" deep.
Float the orchid carefully on the top.
The White Gold Tower is a golden, creamy drink, with silky textures and a shimmery, amber look to it. It's very, very sweet, best taken in small amounts, as a dessert drink or a shot. It's also quite strong.
|With time, the layers of mead, cream, and lavender will swirl and settle beautifully.|