I've been on a Dark Souls journey recently. I went from hating the game to loving it, spurred on by its wonderful streaming community, and have almost immediately launched myself into a second playthrough. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the game and its secrets, and if there is any one curiosity I've thought about the most, it's the Estus Flask.
The Estus Flasks is at the heart of Dark Souls. It's your source of health and, in a game as brutal as Dark Souls can be, each sip is worth its weight in gold. It's given to you by the gravely wounded Oscar of Astora, who calls it an "undead favourite", and you see certain enemies using it. But the game doesn't really explain exactly what it is, or how it tastes—And that set my mind racing.
Would something so pretty be a delight to drink? Is it warm? Because it kind of looks like it could be a soup. Oh, but what if it's actually sweet and medicinal like a glorified Calpol. All options I can imagine—but because I like making cocktails, I decided it was an alcoholic beverage.
Come on. You're alone on a battlefield with an almost impossible task ahead of you. You're fighting demons, gods, dragons, and a massive bloomin' butterfly. If I were in that situation with the knowledge that whatever is in front of me is astonishingly powerful and ancient, I'd need a drink. And this is how I came to the conclusion that I needed to work out how to make a tasty Estus Flask cocktail.
The first hurdle was working out a flavour profile. Of course, the Flask looks gold and yellow, almost like a flame in a bottle. This led me to think of citrus and spice, and that medicinal quality of ginger, honey, and lemon tea you drink when you're sick. However, as with all things in Dark Souls, there must be a harshness to the drink too. With fire as such a key theme of the game, of course it had to be genuinely spicy too.
So lemon and chili and ginger become lemon vodka, chilli vodka, and Ginger beer. Simple. The final thing to do then, of course, was asking Twitter if whiskey or rum would be the appropriate shot to take before your final stand on a battlefield. Why? Science of course.
I swear this is a question I need answered for work purposes. You're on a battlefield and you're hit hard. Right now, you feel like a shot of alcohol will spur you on to keep fighting. You have two options, which would you pick before you charge at your enemy once again?January 12, 2022
Though it was very close for most of the vote, whiskey did indeed pull ahead as the last addition of this drink. Is it overkill? Maybe, but I like to think Estus is strong enough to wake you up.
And last but certainly not least, you can add some drama. The real reason I thought to make this a cocktail was because I saw some YouTube thumbnails of creators using cake lustre in drinks to make them swirly and pretty. Add some other props like a cork flask and boom, you've got your Estus. So without further ado, here is how to create your very own flask of the good stuff.
- 7-10 chillies
- Three unwaxed lemons
- Two limes
- Vodka—Use something cheap, you're experimenting after all
- Scotch whiskey—Single grain preferably
- Aromatic bitters
- Ginger beer
- Edible gold lustre—normally found in cake shops or online.
- Step one should be completed at least two days in advance but ideally four or five days before. Cut up the chillis roughly and peel the skin off of the lemons and limes. Place them in two different airtight containers, and then distribute the vodka you want to infuse with flavour between them. I used a 70cl bottle of cheap vodka and distributed it ⅓ to the chillies, and ⅔ to lemon-lime vodka. Put it in a cupboard or to the side for a few days, and there is no harm in opening it up occasionally to check how it's smelling.
- In a shaker with ice, combine a shot of whiskey, a shot of lemon-lime vodka, and half a shot of the chilli vodka, and a couple drops of aromatic bitters. Shake well, and then strain into the glass (or flask) of your choice.
- Top up with ice-cold ginger beer. I used half about 115ml (half a can of ginger beer) but you can add as much or as little as you like to taste.
- Stir in a touch of edible gold lustre. This is what will really make it look like an Estus Flask. And, then finally, enjoy!
There is a ton of customisation possible with this recipe. Though I did a poll on Twitter which voted for whiskey, spiced rum would also be a great replacement in my opinion. Additionally, adding some of the lime or lemon juice to the drink when adding the spirits to the shaker would be a nice touch if you want some extra tartness.
And I'm happy to say, I think I nailed this. The burn of the ginger beer melds nicely with the spice of the vodka, though that's a personal preference. The lemon and chilli vodka are actually really nice on their own too and will go splendidly in other drinks down the line. And just a touch of bitters deepens the drink with its additional spices. I think after all that hard work, I've earned a drink, so thank goodness I have one at the ready.
Be warned, this cocktail really sneaks up on you. The heat is a good way to remind you to not down the whole thing at once, because I could barely tell it was alcoholic on my first sip. It certainly lit a bonfire in me—maybe I could take Ornstein and Smough barehanded next time. Nope, that's the drink talking. Be careful, and of course, drink responsibly.