Martinis. I started drinking martinis many years ago and thought I knew a thing or two about them. Then I got a job at Outdoor Life and met Jim Carmichel, who can accurately be described as a demigod of gin. I’d give you his martini recipe, but I’m afraid he’d gut me like a boar the next time I visited his home in Tennessee. Suffice it to say that if you start with really cold Tanqueray gin—keep it in the freezer—and add just a dash of vermouth, one ice cube, a teaspoon of olive brine and a teaspoon of water—that you won’t go too far wrong.
Kirshwasser. German for “cherry water” this brandy is often known simply as kirsh. It originates from the southern part of German, a place with a rich hunting tradition and a rich tradition for turning fruit into flammable liquid. It’s potent stuff. My daughter and I toasted with a glass of kirsh last Thanksgiving after we killed a deer together at our family’s farm in northern Michigan. (Given that she had just turned seven, I did most of the drinking.) I’m not sure there’s a better way to cut the cold.
Vodka. During a bear hunt two years ago in B.C., I shared camp with a gentleman from Finland, who turned out to be one of the most cheerful and enjoyable companions I’ve ever hunted with. Each evening, no matter whether someone got and animal or not, he initiated a toast with a shot of vodka—he preferred Finlandia, which he naturally insisted was the best—and wished us good health and good hunting.
This October, and for the rest of hunting season, I wish the same for you.