It seems as if I'm on the never ending search for the perfect cocktail. I have yet to truly find "the one", if indeed it exists, but I must say that the journey to finding it at the very least is more than a little fun. Recipe testing cocktails has got to be one of my most favorite things, and like recipes for cookies, cakes or whatever, the variety is astounding. I love an authentic, cocktail recipe as it seems that these are the ones that capture the essence of a place. I may never get to visit a particular locale but at least I can pretend for a little while. I can sip the perfect Sazerac from New Orleans, the bourbony Mint Julep from Kentucky, or the veddy (insert English accent), proper Pimms Cup from the UK, and feel an instant almost tangible connection.
These three lovely drinks in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day are in my mind unique and really not at all currently "en vogue". It's these attributes that make them, to me, all the more appealing. No green beer, (blech) or Irish Coffee's for me this year. I'm branching out, going rogue or in this case old fashioned and homey. The first of these drinks, the Black Velvet, I recall having years ago at a neighborhood pub and while I initially thought the idea of combining champagne and stout beer abhorrent, by the time I'd finished the drink my thinking had changed. Significantly. If you have trouble downing stout on it's own, but really want to give it ago, I suggest you give it a try.
I've an old Irish cookery book that has the recipe for this drink, the Blas Meala. Surprisingly the Internet is quiet with regard to the origins of this old fashioned Celtic drink, but I made it this afternoon and was so surprised at how lovely it is. If anyone has information on it I'd love to be enlightened! It's best described as a big, glass of orange creamsicle, with a little toasty crunch on top. Yum. I had a hard time deciding if I should drink it or eat it with a spoon, then decided it didn't matter as I just need to consume it, pronto.
Finally and by no means least, Irish Cream Liqueur. Recipes for this abound, but after a few trials and errors I adapted one that I preferred particularly well. Once you make your own, you will never buy it from the store again. The taste is rich, creamy and really fresh. This recipe makes a fair amount, but I am sure that you will be able to find a friend or two to take some off your hands. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
My favorite way to imbibe this, other than straight in a glass is over ice cream, or in coffee or in buttercream icing or on the rocks or on crepes or... You get the idea.