Today is generally set aside in our culture to hang out with friends eating finger foods and sort of casually watching a game that most of us don’t really care who wins one way or the other. That’s just the way it is, no team in the league has a majority share of the fans. Of course, this year, most of us aren’t watching the game with friends, at least not in person, we’ve still got the finger foods though and we will, almost certainly, have a thirst. So, won’t you please join me as we stand and make the Chanticleer.
This is an early 20th century cocktail inspired by Edmond Rostand’s 1910 play “Chanticler”. The drink was created for its opening in London, according to A.S. Crockett’s “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book” published in 1935. The name goes back farther than that though, way farther. Chanticleer is the name of the rooster in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written in 1390. Specifically from the Nun’s Priest’s Tale. I had forgotten that the Nun even had her own priest, but I did vaguely remember the rooster that the fox flattered into giving an example of his beautiful song. When he closed his eyes to crow, the fox snapped his jaws onto his neck and began to run away, chased by the other farm animals. The rooster then tells the fox that he is so clever and fast that he should taunt the dogs chasing him, to show his superiority. When the fox does this, the rooster quickly escapes and flies up into a tree, refusing to come down no matter how the fox complimented him. The moral of the story is to be wary of flatterers, which I suppose is a good lesson for those on a pilgrimage, especially coming from a personal priest. So there you go, our cocktail for the big game day is named for a French rooster from the Canterbury Tales. Let’s make it and see how things tie in.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of gin, I went with New Amsterdam; 1 1/2 ounces of Extra Dry Vermouth, I went with Noilly Prat; 1/2 an ounce of Cointreau or orange curaÃ§ao and 1/2 an ounce of egg white or aquafaba. Add ice and shake well to the beat of Howling Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster“. When your tins are well-chilled, break them open and strain from one to the other, discard the ice and go again for a dry shake. After 30 seconds or so pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with an expressed orange peel.
That is nice, simple, well-balanced and lovely. It is a little on the dry side, but that’s by design. I have seen versions of this that skip the egg white and dry shake, but I think the creamy mouthfeel really adds something here. I’m not sure this would be an everyday goto drink for me, but it is definitely something to fill out the menu, besides how many drinks can you tie back to Chaucer in the 14th century?
This isn’t for profit or commercial in any way, in fact, I have noticed that I actually spend quite a bit to make these posts possible, so in that light am I allowed to say I look forward to watching the Super Bowl with the family this afternoon? We can have a Super Bowl party as long as no one is making any money off it, I think. If there is a cover charge it has to be a gathering to celebrate the Superb Owl, which, honestly, doesn’t even make my top five of owls. The Artisan Owl, is my favorite, thanks for asking. Anyway, we are going to watch the game this afternoon. I don’t really care who wins. This is only the second year for the Chiefs, but I am already tired of seeing them. Nothing against the team, I like them, when they aren’t playing the Titans, at least not in the playoffs, we seem, to be pretty good at beating them during the regular season. My issue is actually with Mahomes, who I am sure is a great guy. The thing is, State Farm has carpet bombed us for two solid seasons with him and that Rodgers guy from Green Bay, who I am sure is also lovely. I sort of hoped that State Farm would get their wet dream matchup so maybe they would finally move on, but the Pack dropped the ball again.Seriously, If you have watched any non-Chiefs football game all season, you have already seen way too much of Mahomes smiling face. I wish him well, I just need a little less of him in my Sundays. On the flip side of the coin, I like the Bucs. I do. I grew up in central Florida and was a fan even when they had those orange creamsicle jerseys. We had season tickets to the USFL team the Tampa Bay Bandits, who flashed in the pan, before leaving the fans with a taste for red, grey and black uniforms, which the Bucs would thankfully adopt some years later in their transition from creampuffs of the seas to badass pirates of the gridiron. There is only one problem with rooting for the Bucs, Tom Brady. Yep, that guy. He’s still playing, still making it look easy, even with a different team, still being smug and all that. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great player and appears to be mostly human, probably, but haven’t we seen enough of him? Not just in the Super Bowl, but in general? Seriously, he already has more rings than he has fingers on his throwing hand. Would seven finally be enough? If we just give it to him will he finally leave? So, I’ve got no one to root for in this particular Super Bowl, just like usual. As the Blackbird said in the original “Chanticler”:
“My eye is merely roguish. I am here to look on, you know, without taking sides in the artist spirit, that’s all.”The Blackbird in Rostand’s Chanticler
So yeah, that Chanticleer thing is apt. This afternoon we get to see a couple of incredibly talented roosters strut about the barnyard, to a chorus of flattery from the commentators. Who will extol the virtues of one while deriding the other until the wind changes direction, which it will…often. What’s the over/under on how many times we will switch between “crowning achievement of a storied career” and the “passing of the torch to a new generation” narratives? Now that I think about it, is rooting for the fox an option? You know I do have a soft spot in my heart for the guys in the trenches, so hopefully the defense can get a couple of decent bites at the roosters today, maybe ruffle some tail feathers. That’d be fun to watch. So whether you are rooting for the old guy or the kid, enjoy watching the cocks crow, between the commercials, cause that’s the real show for most of the fans today. Personally, I just hope both teams have a good time. I’ll be over here with the snacks, having a drink. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.