Some days, you just want easy. Usually those are days when things have not been easy, otherwise. This is one of those days. This is one of those drinks. So in the spirit of nearly minimum effort, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Widow’s Kiss.
This is an old drink. It was created by George Kappeler at New York’s Holland House Hotel in the 1890’s and included in his “Modern American Drinks” when it was published in 1895. It really came into its own five years later when Harry Johnson included it in his famous “Bartender’s Manual“. This classic cocktail has been called “the most evocative drink ever”. That sets the bar pretty high, so I am very curious to see what makes this simple concoction so praiseworthy.
Grab your mixing pitcher and pop in 1 ounce of apple brandy, I went with Laird’s Bottled in Bond; 1/2 an ounce of Benedictine DOM, 1/2 an ounce of Yellow Chartreuse, 1/4 ounce of cold water to bring that proof down a bit and 2 stabs of angostura bitters. Toss in 4-5 artisanal ice cubes and give things a good stir to the beat of Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” for old times sake. It’s funny how things change, when I watched the video today I was enamored with all the huge blocks of nearly clear ice. I suppose middle aged me has different priorities than teenaged me. Oh well. When well chilled strain into a chilled coupe, this is a low volume recipe so you can use one of your smaller ones and garnish by floating a freshly slapped mint leaf on top.
That is lovely. It is easy to see why this one has been on the menus pretty consistently for over a century. It is booze forward, but smooth. Herbal in the most wonderful way with apple, mint and even a medicinal sort of eucalyptus thing on the end. There is a lot of depth and complexity going on in this one. It is certainly evocative. I am not sure of what, though. A kiss? Maybe. Walking through an alpine meadow? Perhaps. The last time you drank a Widow’s Kiss? Almost certainly. There is enough complexity here that if you take the time to savor this one, it is definitely going to remind you of something.
There you go, an easy drink that goes down smooth to help you shake off the dust of a challenging day. Maybe your day was all blue skies and everything came up roses, as they say, this is still a good drink for you. It is, most likely, true that there is no relationship whatsoever between how your day went and the quality of measured spirits mixed and served. That is where belief comes in. If you truly believe that a couple of sips of this magic elixir will make you feel better, it probably will. That’s how faith works. That is also why you have to be careful what you choose to believe in, faith can cloud things. On the flip side, not believing has its own pitfalls. Ain’t nothing easy, except this drink. I believe I will have another. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.