“The drink was like water, indeed very like the taste of the draughts they had drunk from the Entwash near the borders of the forest, and yet there was some scent or savour in it which they could not describe; it was faint, but it reminded them of the smell of a distant wood borne from afar by a cool breeze at night. The effect of the draught began at the toes, and rose steadily through every limb, bringing refreshment and vigour as it coursed upwards, right to the tips of the hair… He poured them out two full bowls from a stone jar; but from a different jar. The taste was not the same as it had been the night before: it was earthier and richer, more sustaining and food-like, so to speak.”
–The Two Towers, by JRR Tolkien
As you can see from the quote above, there are at least two different versions of Ent-Draught. I knew that I wanted the drink to be clear, like the waters of the Entwash from which the draught was made, but that’s where I ran into a snafu. To get a clear alcoholic drink, one must distill, which is quite illegal in the US. So i turned the idea on its head, and distilled an herbal infusion instead.
The first version, described as an invigorating drink, with a sense like a breeze from distant woods, what what I decided to tackle first. It gave me a bit of trouble. I though it should have some floral notes, to give a sense of meadows that the wind has traveled over, but also be light and green. It’s good, but could probably be better.
The second version was much easier to formulate. It’s described as being filling, earthy, and rich, so I imagined flavors that would be reminiscent of a damp forest floor. I started with a mixture of black teas, then added some thyme for some mossy green notes, and some heather tips for a slight hint of floral. The peat-smoked barley gives the whole thing a very subtle damp, old feel, in the best way.
The flavor of both draughts is unique, unlike anything I’ve tasted before. They have hints of familiar flavors, but presented in a wholly new way. Despite being dark tea-based brews, the finished draughts are as clear as water. I deem them to be as much of a success as a mere mortal can accomplish.
I can’t promise that it will make you grow, but these Ent-Draughts are a wonderful beverage that will remind you of cool forests and breezes through the Shire…
Prep: 10 minutes Distilling: 45 minutes plus
Makes about 1.5 cups per recipe
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup loose green or white tea leaves
- 1/2 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 mint leaves
- 2 Tbs. chamomile
- 1 Tbs. roses
- lots of ice
- 6 cups water
- 4 tea bags (two earl grey, two other black/Turkish)
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 Tbs. heather tips
- 1 tsp. peat-smoked barley
- lots of ice (at least 6 trays worth…)
The directions are essentially the same for both versions: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan with a lid. Warm slightly. Place a heatproof bowl in the center of the pot; make sure it is tall enough to stay above the water level. Turn the lid of the pot upside down and place it on the pot. This will enable the distilled vapors to run down the lid and collect in the bowl. Cover the lid with ice, and bring to a simmer.