Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Widow's Kiss

No, no, no... this is not about romance. Well, maybe a litte, but it's romance in the sense of nostalgia, rather than ... well ... the other kind. This is a cocktail that dates back to 1895.

An interesting thing about cocktails is that they used to be morning drinks according to Ted Haigh (a.k.a. Dr. Cocktail) in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Did you catch that? Morning drinks: i.e. not meant to be guzzled with reckless abandon on a Friday night. Cocktails were composed of various tonics designed to help you recover from the night before (of guzzling other things with reckless abandon). This particular one is a veritable Ark of the Covenant -- it contains Chartreuse (1605), Bénédictine (1510), Calvados (1554) and the baby of the bunch, Angostura bitters (1870). Each of these on it's own is basically medicine, and each is also in the 40-55% alcohol category, so when you mix them all together, you're not talking Fuzzy Navel.

Personally, I have a particular fondness for tonics of this sort, and keep a bottle of Unicum (see the cross? Medicine!) in my freezer for those occasions when I feel my digestion is out of whack, or I am suffering from some other vintage complaint like catarrh, pleurisy, consumtion, or malaria or whatever.

To whip up a Widow's Kiss, you'll need 1 1/2 oz. Calvados, 3/4 oz. of Chartreuse, 3/4 oz. of Bénédictine, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Put all this medicine in a cocktail shaker with a load of ice, shake away, and strain into any sort of cool glass that strikes your fancy. You can garnish with a cherry if you like, or enjoy your kiss straight up. Your call.

I did not happen to whip this up in the morning as you may (or may not) have guessed by the lighting. This was an evening affair (woo!), inspired by the fact that I stumbled across the recipe today, managed to find Chartreuse across the river in Québec at the SAQ, and got a copy of Billy's Best Bottles 2012 (renewing my interest in wine, precipitating a certain degree of shopping and testing, and leading to the need for a pre-emptive strike on tomorrow morning). :D

Cheers, folks! X! (And be sure to use the toast from the wonderful movie Schultze Gets the Blues: "For medicinal purposes!" -- I use this all the time regardless [shhh...!].)

(Disclaimer: please adhere to recommended dosage, and note that if you don't like freaky weird bitter stuff like olives, Johnny Cash, anchovies, and the odd splash of Unicum from the freezer, please steer clear.)

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