The Ecstasy of Gold

October 2020

Where the love of mixology and good music combine

Ah, Metallica…my favorite heavy metal band of all time.  I still remember the first time a friend of mine put the cassette of “Kill ‘Em All” in the tape deck.  It’s one of those transformative moments of youth; raw emotion let loose, and it just got my heart pumping like nothing before it.  So, without, further ado, I present a cocktail done to honor a band that has meant so much to me over the years.   


The Ecstasy of Gold

Flavor Profile: Bitter Herbal Honey with Mint




2 oz Blackened Whiskey

2 oz Dansk Mjod Viking Blod Mead

1 oz Fernet-Branca

1/4 oz Amaro Nino

1/4 oz Simple Syrup

6 dashes of smoky bitters




Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice.  Stir for approximately 30 seconds.  Strain and serve into a small rocks glass (neat), or a large rocks glass with a large block of ice.  Smoke the rocks glass (optional).     






My Take:


Metallica’s collaboration with the late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, Blackened Whiskey, has received a mixed reception in the whiskey hive-mind. I happen to like it; though how much subsonic bass waves contribute to its flavor profile is something I have a hard time buying into. However, Blackened does make an excellent base for a cocktail. I wanted to combine this whiskey with other spirits native to the places of birth of some of the band members. For drummer Lars Ulrich, we have an excellent mead from Denmark. For lead guitarist and San Francisco native Kirk Hammett, I selected Fernet-Branca and Amaro Nino. While not native to San Francisco, both of these polarizing spirits are very popular in that city. The mead plays well with the sweet Blackened whiskey which preps the cocktail for the herbal/bitter bomb of Fernet/Amaro. Fernet can dominate a cocktail, but the whiskey/mead marriage tames the herbal bitterness enough to be very enjoyable. I still wanted a bit more kick, and found it by adding smoky, salty bitters. Finally, I bring the entire cocktail together with a little simple syrup. Like a rock band, the whole is greater than the individual parts. Go the extra mile and smoke the glass with your favorite wood chips for even more complexity.           


Music Pairing:


Your favorite Metallica song or album, of course.  It’s impossible for me to choose just one song from so many greats so I won’t try.  I would keep it old school with something from “Ride the Lighting” or “Master of Puppets”.  Cheers!