The Wednesday Tipple – Maiden’s Blush, Stilton Crackers, and something to blush about

Maiden's Blush for Game of Thrones cocktail recipes

Our lives and the lives of our friends are currently divided into the Haves and Have Nots: people who paid the extra for HBO, and people who rely on the goodness and charity of those people to invite them over to watch Game of Thrones.

We do not have HBO, but luckily we do have HBO friends both in Williamsburg and The Village, who will lease my husband sofa space so that he can keep up with the shifting political landscape in Westeros. Nudity, non ironic fur-wearing and fighting – it’s just a regular Sunday night in the neighborhood.

Mostly, I drink the cocktails, eat the snacks, and play with the cats.

“I’m pretty sure the bit where the King has gay sex with the brother of the wife wasn’t in the books,” noted one pedant, after a scene so interesting that I put down my drink and my cat toy to give it my full concentration.

Later, in a twist worthy of soap opera, the Queen indicates to the King that she would be up for a threesome with the brother, if that’s what it’s going to take to get some action round here.

Clearly, this was kinda awesome. But the purists around me were not so sure.

“There’s a lot of weird sex in the books,” Jon noted on the way home, “but I don’t know if adding more sex in general, you know, just as something to do, is really worth it.” Hopefully, he was still referring to the episode.

Maiden’s Blush

There are several different versions of recipes for a Maiden’s Blush, not including all the ones you’re thinking of right now that have nothing to do with cocktails. This one comes from the bar of the Ritz Paris, but it’s also totally within the canon to swap out the grenadine for raspberry liquor, and the Pernod for Absinthe. The grenadine gives the drink some sweetness. There are recipes that advocate adding lemon juice rather than a lemon twist, and balancing out the sourness with a tsp of sugar. This is how I like my blushing maidens, so this is the way I make them for lewd fantasy epic television viewing parties.

1 measure gin
½ measure Pernod
Dash grenadine
Twist of lemon
  • Shake the gin, Pernod and grenadine over ice then pour into a cocktail glass
  • Twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils, then drop into the glass

Stilton Walnut Biscuits (Grange disks)

If you’re drinking basically pure gin, you probably want to serve some kind of snack.

I first made these at a cookery school I went to called The Grange. We made them every week as a way to use up scraps of leftover cheese. Sometimes we’d roll the crackers in nuts. Sometimes not. Evidently, we were pretty free spirited.

When I’m making them from scratch, I most usually use a blue cheese, for a good strong flavor. The classic combination of port and stilton is classic for a reason – so in the spirit of not messing with a good thing, here’s a stilton version of Grange Disks

Stilton illustration for game of thrones recipe

1 stick butter (16oz)
About half that weight in cheese (I buy a 12 oz stilton then cut off the rind and it’s usually 8 oz)
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper
1 egg
½ cup chopped nuts – walnuts are lovely here
  • Cream the butter and cheese together for a couple of minutes until combined (if you’re using a hard cheese, grate it first, but stilton crumbles nicely)
  • Add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until the dough looks like crumbs
  • Add 1 tbsp of cold water and mix again until the dough comes together in a big clump
  • Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto it. Bring it together by hand into a ball, then roll into a log
  • Chop the nuts and  spread over a board
  • Mix the egg with a splash of water to make egg wash, and brush the dough all over. Roll the log in the nuts to coat, then put it back on the plastic wrap and wrap it tightly. Chill for at least half an hour. At this stage you can freeze the dough, or keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days
  • Preheat the oven to 350f and line a tray with slip mat or parchment
  • Slice the cookies into 2 cm slices and arrange on the tray. Bake for 20 – 25 mins, depending on how hot your oven really is, whether you have a fan in there, and how thickly you sliced the cookies. Turn the tray half way in case your oven heats unevenly. They should be lightly browned.

If You Can Make That You Can Make This

  • Use sharp cheddar instead of Stilton and serve with celery and chutney
  • Use tallego and add a handful of chopped black olives to the mix
  • Use a combination of Italian cheeses including some parmesan, and add some chopped sun dried tomatoes to the mix
  • Or try a sweet shortbread
  • Or take shortbread to the next level with this millionaires shortbread – from my Husband’s Granny Hannah’s recipe
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