It’s not often you come across a cocktail that so successfully combines six liqueurs, and especially not one that does so with equal measurements. I somehow graced over this daring conglomeration on my first … ok, 50th time through The Gentleman’s Companion Vol. II, but I sure am glad I found it.
I would expect this to be a grandfather’s specialty – the drink he pulls out every year for Christmas or Thanksgiving, offering it to everyone, who in turn politely decline, much to his delight. His wrinkled hands would pour each liqueur with a steadiness reserved for just this occasion. And he would strain so delicately that the pastis formed a marble-like mosaic on the surface, coalescing into a spiral cloud a few moments later.
La Zaragozana’s Ne Plus Ultra
- 1/2oz apricot brandy
- 1/2oz Benedictine
- 1/2oz Chartreuse
- 1/2oz Cointreau
- 1/2oz cognac
- 1/2oz creme de cacao
- 1 dash pastis
Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From: The Gentleman’s Companion Volume II: The Exotic Drinking Book, Charles H. Baker, Jr.
You get hints of all the liqueurs as each sip manages to find every taste bud on your tongue. It’s very sweet, but in a good “sipping Chartreuse” kind of way. You’re left with a clean, slick-mouthed feeling that is quite welcoming. The Benedictine just hovers there at the end, too. Nice.
Lemon Peel or No?
Baker’s recipe calls for no garnish, but I was searching for something to cut into the sweetness just a little bit. Could the crisp aroma of lemon oil trick my palette without interrupting the flavors? Perhaps. The verdict is still out. I’m wary of actually adding some acidity to this drink, but maybe a hint would be worth it. Give it a try and let me know what you think!