The King’s Waes Hail

The King's Waes Hail

Today’s cocktail was the winner of a cocktail competition under the auspices of The King’s Ginger Liqueur, which took place in 2011 in Napa Valley, a wine region in California. The winner of this competition was Michael Jack Pazdon from SolBar in Calistoga, California. Now this winning drink with the pretty name “The King’s Waes Hail” impresses, however, with an anything but simple recipe which aside from the King’s Ginger relies on matured Calvados, the very special Gin Genevieve, Carpano Antica Formula and self-made Grenadine as well as a complex “Gingersnap Spice-Tincture”. Some of these ingredients require quite an expense in the preparation or acquisition. The spice-tincture alone will cost you two weeks of regular attentiveness, so that plenty of advance planning is also necessary.

In short: when I came across the cocktail that was way too much effort for me. This does not mean that the effort is not worth it. On occasion – and with much more ease – I will certainly try this drink again in its original form. But today I would also like to present a simplified version, which I have seen on serious eats. Initially I was a little bit skeptical whether such a reduced formulation could really deliver a good result, but the outcome completely convinced me. Another reason why I will try it again in the original recipe one day.

The taste is a complex and fresh experience with very interesting spice notes. The The King’s Waes Hail fits in the warm, but also in the cold season. To honor the drink and give it the respect it deserves I will post both the simplified version and the original one (as seen on

The King’s Waes Hail (original recipe):

1 oz Christian Drouin VSOP Calvados
3/4 oz The King’s Ginger
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Formula
1/2 oz egg white
1 dash house-made grenadine (see below)
1 dash Luxardo Maraschino
5 drops Gingersnap Spice Tincture (see below)
5 drops Genevieve Gin

House-made grenadine: Bring 1 part fresh pomegranate juice to just below a simmer then add 1.2 parts granulated sugar, stir until dissolved. Let cool then add rose water to taste. Bottle and refrigerate.

Gingersnap Spice Tincture: 2 Grind 2 tsp. cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 9 black peppercorns. Grate 2 whole nutmegs. Toast gently in a pan, remove and combine with 1 oz. grated ginger and 1 cup over-proof rum in an airtight container. Steep for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain and bottle in a medicine dropper. (as you can see this is quite an effort!)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, aside from the Genevieve and the Gingersnap Spice Tincture, in a mixing glass, dry shake for 10 seconds, add ice, shake hard and double strain into a chilled coupe. Finish with 5 drops Gingersnap Spice Tincture and 5 drops Genevieve on top of foam.

Glass: Coupette or sour-glass

Garnish: dehydrated apple chip, fresh grated nutmeg, rosemary flowers

The King’s Waes Hail (Simplified version for Serious Eats):

1 oz Calvados
¾ oz The King’s Ginger
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz Carpano Antica Formula
½ egg white

Preparation: first dry shake all ingredients in your shaker without ice. Then shake again vigorously with ice and double strain into chilled glass.

Glass: Sour-glass or Coupette

Garnish: Lemon slice on the foam of the drink

Buying Sources: Most of the ingredients listed here can be obtained in liquor stores or online. Those who want to try the original recipe require appropriate spices. Personally I like to buy my spices in Asian Food markets.

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