In the 1980s, lawn darts were a popular fixture at parks, parties, and backyard barbecues. The game is a lot like horseshoes, except players score points by lobbing jumbo-sized metal darts in the air and hoping they land in a hoop. Of course, all great works of art have a dark side, and for the game of lawn darts it was the 23,000 pounds of force they came down with, particularly when the landing zone was a person’s head. After an eight year period that notched 6,100 injuries, lawn darts were banned by the United States Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Fortunately, the lawn dart drink—published in the excellent PDT cocktail book thirteen years after the ban—offers all the grassy fragrances and sun soaked tingles of a game of lawn darts, but without the...well...head trauma. The gin and tequila mix surprisingly well, while the bell pepper completely takes hold of the nose, creating an exciting and instantly noticeable vegetal effect. Meanwhile, Green Chartreuse works perfectly as the sweetener, performing its usual magic on the juniper notes of gin and the sweet fragrances of tequila.
We’ve mixed this drink with both green and red bell peppers, enjoying it thoroughly each time. During the muddling process, the color of the pepper will infuse into the drink. Green goes better with the theme—and the Chartreuse—but don’t let that stop you; red tastes excellent too. The original recipe calls for agave syrup, which we don’t like much and don’t keep around. If you like agave, simply swap out the simple syrup for an equal portion. The recipe calls for blanco tequila, which makes sense with the summer theme, but we could see it working with reposado tequila too. The juniper really does sing with the pepper, so opt for something punchy like Junipero or Death’s Door if you’ve got it. Otherwise, a good London dry will work fine. Serve when the sun is shining bright, or when the excitement of summer creeps in.