Food & Drink

The Extremely Boozy Absinthe Cocktail Worthy of the Extremely Tough Randyll Tarly

Davos Seaworth / Youtube & Matthew Kelly / Supercall

When it comes to Game of Thrones, no character is safe. In this series, writer and bartender Chris Vola crafts a cocktail and then pours one out for the major deaths in every episode of season 7 of Game of Thrones.

In a show full of steely-eyed, hardened souls, Randyll Tarly may have been the biggest hard-ass of them all. The Lord of Horn Hill was one of the most feared and respected military minds in recent Westerosi history, handing the Baratheon army its only major defeat during Robert’s Rebellion, commanding a large portion of the victorious forces at the Battle of the Blackwater, and laying waste to Highgarden and his former liege lords, the Tyrells (well, he did in the books, at least).

But the discipline he demanded of his soldiers (flogging, anyone?) was nothing compared to the expectations he had for his own children. When Randyll saw that his eldest child Samwell preferred reading and eating to killing animals and humans, he shipped poor Sam off to the Wall to become wildling fodder, and named Dickon, his younger, manlier son—and Jaime Lannister look-alike—his successor.

But power can seduce even the most principled men, no matter what they might preach. And in a move uncharacteristic of the stringent values he’d been instilling in his heir for decades, Randyll sided with Cersei to supplant Lady Olenna as Warden of the South, a decision that almost immediately led to his own demise and the end of his chosen male line, before the first sultry Dickon fan fictions had even begun to take shape.

Even in defeat, Lord Tarly’s constitution remained unshakable. Staring up at Drogon’s flame-spewing jowls illuminated by the setting sun, the prolific deerstalker stoically grasped his equally-screwed son’s arm and acknowledged that the tables had turned; the hunters had become the hunted.

Another famed outdoorsman, Ernest Hemingway, allegedly invented the Death in the Afternoon after a botched fishing expedition in the 1920s. The cocktail is simple yet ostensibly brutal: a blend of absinthe and Champagne best suited for those champion imbibers with the toughest of gullets. Its bitter, anise-flavored overtones might cause the drinker to mimic Lord Tarly’s signature perma-scowl, while its decadent, sparkling finish evokes the fertile lands surrounding Horn Hill and the lavishly decorated castle Randyll shared with his surprisingly warm-hearted wife and daughter.

Hemingway recommended drinking “three to five of these,” which sounds extremely excessive, but probably doesn’t come close to the amount of alcohol that Sam will need to work through the mixed emotions of finding out his closest male relatives just got turned into fertilizer.

Death in the Afternoon

1 oz absinthe
Champagne, to top

Pour absinthe into a Champagne flute or a stemmed cocktail glass.
Top with iced Champagne until sufficiently milky.
Sip slowly.