Where does inspiration come from? Great question. Anyone have anything here, because I have no clue. I am equally flummoxed when it comes to where inspiration hides when it does not come, which happens way more often. When pretty much anything consequential happens in my life, I go on a journey to find the root cause. Good news or bad, I end up walking backwards through decisions and circumstances trying to figure out just what happened. When the outcome became fait accompli with the rest of us just going through the motions. So in the spirit of foregone conclusions that may very well be wrong, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Golden Dream.
This lovely little after dinner cocktail has been recognized by the International Bartender’s Association as a “Contemporary Classic”, which is important because they don’t add every flash in the pan drink or variation to their lists. I found several recipes of varying concentrations, but we are exploring the officially recognized version today. The original was created in the 1960’s by Raimundo Alvarez in my old stomping grounds of Miami and dedicated to actress Joan Crawford for reasons that have been lost to time. Maybe it was meant to be stirred with a wire hanger or something, I simply cannot say.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of gloriously golden Galliano L’autentico, 1 ounce of your favorite orange liqueur, I went with Ferrand Dry Curacao; 1 ounce of fresh squeezed orange juice and 1/2 an ounce of heavy cream. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” till your tins are well chilled. Double strain into a fancy modified Nick & Nora and garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel.
Well, isn’t that lovely? A delightfully complex alcoholic creamsicle for your after dinner pleasure. Definitely a dessert drink in the same vein as the Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel or a Brandy Alexander, but perhaps, more interesting than those classics. The addition of Galliano to the orange cream base brings a really lovely vanilla top note with a hint of spice. Sure it is a bit sweet, but it has got layers. Does that make it an orange creamsicle tiramisu in a glass? Of course not, don’t be silly; but isn’t it lovely.
So, how did I end up drinking a reasonably obscure contemporary classic? Easy, I was emulating Angela Lansbury, to the best of my ability. “How?” you ask. Well, I haven’t felt particularly well for the last couple of days and found myself unable to sleep last night, so I decided to watch Kenneth Branagh’s new take on Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, as one does, obviously. I enjoyed it well enough. I like the direction he is taking with a more complex Poirot and the more completely fleshed out characters, but I hated the look of the film. The design is stunning, truly beautiful, but it was clearly mostly shot in a studio with computers standing in for the beauty of Egypt and I kept finding myself taken out of the action as I noticed the CGI and the impossibly bright backgrounds. So what does that have to do with the drink? I’m getting there.
All of that computer generated grandeur gave me a craving for the earlier, shot entirely on location version starring most anyone who won an Oscar during the 70’s. This morning I cranked it up on one of the extra monitors and let it play in the background so I could marvel at real honest to goodness sunrises and sunsets over the Nile and the temple at Abu Simbel. It is a beautiful film, wonderfully acted and terribly dated with its less than flattering caricature portrayals of anyone not born in a colonizing nation. What can I say, it was made in a less civilized time, as was I, but I have enjoyed the benefit of growth, while it has been locked in a time capsule since 1972. About halfway through, Angela Lansbury’s character takes to the bar for the comfort found in a stirred cocktail known as the “Golden Sepik” that she says was “named after the god of the ancient city of “Crocodilopolis”.”
Naturally, I wanted to try this “most extraordinary concoction of native fruit juices” and went in search of a recipe. Alas, it was not to be, the drink was created for the film. However, it does resemble this drink in the glass. They both have “Golden” in the name and I can imagine that this one would be remarkably refreshing, served ice cold on the deck of the Karnak as the Nile rolls slowly by. Would it help solve a convoluted locked room mystery where every person has both motive and opportunity? Probably not, but that is not really our concern. We are pursuing the great case of how I came to make this particular drink on this evening and the simple answer is, insomnia. Was the insomnia brought on by a recent medication change, stress from not feeling well, the generalized anxiety of living in the first quarter of the 21st century? I just don’t know, but I am pretty sure I’m going to need another drink before tackling those questions. I’ll go make one, you stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane my friends.