We'd been drinking cocktails at the bar after dinner at Laguna Beach's Broadway restaurant, and I thought I was being a smart-ass, challenging one of OC's best bartenders to make a drink with a relatively rare ingredient that doesn't mix well.
“Make me a cocktail with Calvados,” I said to bar manager Gabrielle
Dion. Nothing daunted, she got down the Calvados, yellow Chartreuse,
and Benedictine, and measured the liquors into a stirring cup; she added
ice, then stirred until the drink was properly diluted, strained it
into a Champagne saucer, added bitters, and pressed citrus rind onto
it while I gawped in awe.
Calvados, yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine? Any of those three would be
a flavor punch upside the head, meant to be drunk as digestifs, helping
a stereotypically huge and rich French dinner down, but together they
complemented each other well. The reaction from other patrons at the bar
was immediate; after I let people take a straw's worth of the cocktail,
at least one other order for a Widow's Kiss went in.
This will teach me to throw down a challenge to someone who's better at making cocktails than I am at ordering them.