(Or the true story of how the dog interjected himself into this project.)
We have been trying harder to test one drink per week – a challenging feat, as our days off don’t always line up. On the Sunday the Blue Paradise rolled around our friend H was due for a visit. She is not a cocktail girl but we decided to roll forward with our plan nevertheless.
First we sampled the Parfait Amour, the fourth in our collection of blue-tinged spirits, and were rather surprised to find it very floral in nature.
I expected it to boast a tropical essence, closer to a blue curacao, but it was reminiscent of a violette liqueur, only subtler.
Once mixed, our version of the Blue Paradise was much darker in color that the photo in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. This is not the first time our drink has differed from the image in the book. We posit two theories: either the ingredients in use vary (our Parfait Amour is blue, though there may be clear versions on the market); or the cocktails in the images are mock-ups meant to represent the final product. D, who does all the photography for this project, has often lamented the difficulty of photographing shaken cocktails. Usually we are not overly bothered by these aesthetic questions, but when our version is dramatically different from the illustration it does leave us questioning the recipe.
On the palate the Blue Paradise is intense. It is boozy yet fruity and subtly sweet. The name is a mystery and a conundrum. While “blue paradise” conjures images of the tropics, the experience is evocative of calvados and warming winter potables. It is a good drink for lovers of hard spirit, close enough to the base liquor to be recognizable but different enough to warrant the status of cocktail. It was not a great drink for cocktail novice H, who found it daunting and overly strong. But she loved the cherry garnish and was a great sport, playing into our game. When D questioned, “Is this the taste of the French Tropics?!” H replied, “Gambling table in Monaco. Suit at bar at beach.” I think D might have some competition for one-liners.
As with every cocktail we take detailed minutes with the intention of writing a post at a later date. On this particular evening we left the house after the tasting to visit some friends and came home to discover that the dog had eaten our notes. He is a jealous mutt, at least 50% fiend. Good thing he is 100% adorable.
Our tasting notes, therefore, are all from memory. If we were at all vague blame it on the dog, he ate my homework…
- 2 ounces cognac (we cheated and used brandy here)
- 1 ounce Dubonnet Rouge
- 4 dashes Parfait Amour
- Shake with ice. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.