Purchased Goods, Jan 28 2011

As you may have gathered over the years, Impulse Control isn’t exactly one of my strong points.

Worked from home this morning, then headed in around 10:30. Well, I transfer downtown…

A few weeks ago our friends Cameron and Anita, who write the lovely Married…With Dinner website, had us over. After dinner, they asked if we would like some sort of digestiv. Not being one to demur such pleasantries, we agreed post-haste. Interestingly, they had an Amaro I hadn’t tried before called Amaro Meletti. It was mildly bitter and tasted of Saffron, Anise, and some floral elements. We were immediately taken with it, whereupon we discovered they had imported it, suitcase wise, from out of state. Unclear if it was available here, I sent a note to a few friends in the liquor trade, who weren’t entirely sure if it was still available. Fortunately, one Michael Lazar, of Left Coast Libations fame, took it upon himself to comment on the blog that it was available and sitting on the shelf at Cask Store in downtown San Francisco.

Clearly a lunch time field trip was in order, as there is nothing I like to do more on my lunch hour than hang out in a bar or liquor store and geek out about spirits, cocktails, and cocktail books. No, really.

Anyway, today provided a happy coincidence, but, as I mentioned, Impulse Control: Not my strong suit. Chatting with Amy Murray about her current faves in the Scotch category, this 15 year old Mortlach from Murray McDavid came up. I’m a fan of many of Murray McDavid’s offererings, this sounded intriguing. 15 years old, finished in Rum Barrels. Plus, getting to know Speyside and Lowlands is my current assignment to myself! Win!

Lately, I’ve also been drinking a lot of vermouth and soda. No, really. Kind of sitting January out on the hard liquor front, Vermouth (or Madeira) and soda (or tonic) is a nice change of pace. I’ve been missing having Punt e Mes around the house, but I didn’t feel like I could justify it until I finished my bottle of Carpano Antica. Well, Carpano Antica, you are history, and Punt e Mes, you are back in the Flannestad household.

I am a coffee nerd, or geek, or something. About a million years ago, I briefly worked for a coffee roaster as an espresso jerk and coffee delivery slave. The only real upside to that back breaking job was that we got free coffee. And I always smelled like freshly roasted coffee beans. Apparently that smell is appealing to a certain segment of the female population aka Mrs. Flannestad. Anyway, Four Barrel is my current favorite roaster in town, one of the few that resists the Peet’s and Starbuck’s culture of “deep roasting”.

Lagunitas Beer. Mrs. Flannestad’s lately been on a bit of a Bridgeport Hop Czar binge. I like that beer, but we’ve had six packs for the last few weeks. Lagunitas is a great brewery in Petaluma, CA and we shall see if Lagunitas Maximus meets with her approval. It appears to be some sort of Double IPA.

Finally, I was out of cocktail cherries. The Luxardo Cherries in syrup are the bomb.

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 2010, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura)
1/2 Liqueur glass Chartreuse. (1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse)
1/2 Liqueur Glass Benedictine. (1/2 oz Benedictine)
1 Liqueur Glass Calvados or Apple Brandy. (1 oz Calvados Montreuil)
Shake well (I stirred) and strain into cocktail glass.

“And if you close the door, the night could last forever.”

For some reason, the Widow’s Kiss Cocktail reminds me of the song, “After Hours” by the Velvet Underground.

As written, half Calvados and half liqueurs, it is rather sickly sweet. I have re-jiggered the ratios somewhat, a common tactic, and still find it too sweet for me. You could take them down to a quarter oz each, and I would be much happier.

Another tactic, sometimes taken, is to add some citrus to the drink, to balance out the intense sweetness of the Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs. That gets a bit far from the origins of the drink for me, but it also works and is tasty.

By the way, this is a drink, in my opinion, which should be made with Calvados. American Apple Brandies just don’t have the weight or interest to carry the drink. (Well, unless you choose to add some citrus, in which case American Apple Brandy will probably be fine. But then you’re just making an Herbal Jack Rose.)

I’m ambivalent about the Widow’s Kiss. It is a really good drink, and one of the best cocktail names of all times, but it is also far too sweet.

I suppose, properly, it is an after dinner, (Or After Hours?) digestive type cocktail, and enjoying it with coffee might be one way of coping with its extreme sweetness.

Otherwise, drying out the proportions works, though then it heads towards boozy-landia, basically being just a cold glass of Calvados.

Another treatment might be to take a Stinger type strategy, and serve it over crushed ice.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Widow’s Dream Cocktail

Widow’s Dream Cocktail
1 Egg
1 Liqueur Glass Benedictine.
Shake well. Strain into medium size glass, and fill glass with cream.

Interestingly, Hugo Ensslin’s version of the Widow’s Dream, from “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, is as follows:

Widow’s Dream Cocktail
1 Drink Benedictine
1 cold fresh Egg
Fill up with Cream

Use a Cocktail Glass.

No mention of shaking at all, putting this in a category of drinks, rather like the Golden Slipper, that seems largely to have gone out of fashion by the Twentieth Century, the pousse cafe with a whole unbroken egg or egg yolk floating in it.

Like the Golden Slipper, I thought I would give it a try in the Old School manner, though I won’t use a whole egg in it.

Widow’s Dream Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Benedictine
1 Egg Yolk
1 oz Sweet Cream, softly whipped
Grated Nutmeg

Add Benedictine to glass, float in egg yolk. Layer cream on top and grate nutmeg over.

Well, it is kind of appealing looking, Sun and Clounds kind of thing. Not even entirely unpleasant to drink, though definitely go for a small-ish Chicken, or even quail, egg.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.