The bobber twitched and her heart sunk. Duh, it’s a sea bass. It’s always just a sea bass. It was meant to be a spring of true escapism. An end to all her consumerist impulses and the rat race. But now they come knocking. Reminding her about the loan and so, so many errands. And just as politely, they manipulate her into replanting flowers… for five hours. For five stars. For the pursuit of every damn item in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. And just like that, she mixes a cocktail based on a conspiracy theory.
Meet Isabelle, a canine starlet of the Animal Crossing IP. She works at my island’s Resident Services, making daily announcements and taking complaints on the villagers’ sense of fashion. And she toils 24/7! Now check out that drink on her desk. A mysterious iced beverage has split the community and caused riots all over, as the Drys and the Wets fought… no, wait. That’s Prohibition, not Animal Crossing. But the theory that Isabelle loves booze has sparked some funny discussions and fan art.
Okay, what does that mean, Isabelle? Are you a happy drunk?
Let’s rewind a bit. It all started with Vacation Juice, an item from last year’s game, which looked like some blue curaçao tropical cocktail. Nintendo never said the drink was spiked, but a number of fans embraced this. And now, Isabelle is back with another enigma in a glass. What is she having? Some scoff that it’s just barley tea, others vouch for iced coffee, while a lucky few have witnessed Isabelle explaining “whisky vs whiskey” on trains in Japan. A coincidence, really?
I choose to believe. I believe my girl Belle knows her whisk(e)y.
So how did I go about mixing this tribute cocktail?
Whisky forward! I’d bet that Isabelle drinks it on the rocks, but I got creative with a classic Boulevardier cocktail. Actually, the deep red-ish colour of the game’s drink set that course. I tweaked the proportions to lean heavily on whisky, as that’s (allegedly) Isabelle’s jam. Normally, you’d go for bourbon or rye, but a Japanese whisky seemed so topical. And it just works! The bitterness of Campari isn’t universally loved, but a smaller measure doesn’t overpower other flavours. A hint of sweetness from the vermouth, and we’ve blended all the characteristics of Isabelle.
Getting cute with garnishes. I’d hoped to pick some wild cherry blossoms, but I missed it… and it started snowing. In May. What the heck. I don’t even time travel. Anyway, a lemon peel rose worked nicely and actually reminded me of Isabelle. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of blooms and harvest here.
My “quarantini” cabinet was already stocked with some goods, courtesy of Nook’s Cranny bootlegging branch. … You didn’t hear about it from me.
60 ml (2 oz) Tenjaku Japanese Whisky
15 ml (0.5 oz) Campari
15 ml (0.5 oz) Sweet Vermouth
Garnish: Lemon peel
- Suspend your disbelief about Isabelle’s drinking.
- Pre-chill a rocks glass and a mixing glass in the freezer.
- Pour the cocktail ingredients into the mixing glass. Add some ice cubes and stir until cold. Ideally, practise stirring with a bar spoon; move it around the edge and avoid hitting the ice.
- Fill the rocks glass halfway with ice. I’d use one large block for less dilution, but we’re committed to Isabelle’s presentation here.
- Strain the cocktail into the rocks glass, using a julep strainer.
- Use a sharp tool to create a long lemon peel. Personally, a Y-peeler gives me great control and little pith. Peel diagonally, holding down the peel and rolling the citrus in your hand.
- Roll the peel into a rose and pierce it with a cocktail stick.
- Spend some Nook Miles on a comfy chair. Sit back and enjoy!
Suggested Sipping Soundtrack:
New Horizons OST performed remotely!
Surf rock is your first-class ticket to a tropical island.
Anyhoo, I figured my Animal Crossing island needs a little speakeasy. So I’m off to catalog some items and experiment with a recipe for the Vacation Juice. Or a mixture that Bree is carrying there… Stay tuned.
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I’d love to hear your ideas for geeky cocktails! ^_^