Monday, January 13, 2014

New cocktail! -- but it's got a terrible name

Our master Charles Schumann in American Bar calls it the "Dirty Mother," which has to be among the worst cocktail names ever. Whose mother, and why is she dirty? But the drink is very good.

"Dirty Mother" 

1 ounce (a little less than a jigger) brandy
3/4 ounce (half a jigger) Kahlua

Stir over ice in a highball glass.

That is all. No garnish, no shaking, no topping up with anything else. If you wish to make it a "Dirty White Mother" -- gad, worse and worse, and what pray tell might be a Dirty Black Mother? -- you add 3/4 ounce cream and stir that. Even without it, it is cool, rich, dark, pungent, and elegant. It is also, as a number of drink mixing authorities on the web point out, a variation on the Black (or White) Russian, the Dirty Mother's brandy replacing the Black Russian's vodka. So why is our tipple not called the Russian Mother? And why can I not find any reference to it on such a respectable and thorough site as, not even under its "other name," the Separator?

I think I will make an executive decision and call it the Empress Josephine, for no other reason than that she and her tastes in food are on my mind as I think about a chapter of The Meals of Heaven called "Supper with the Empress Josephine."  Did I tell you I had got on the track of having someone else, even if only briefly, do my research on this topic? That was a peculiar, blind, helpless feeling, and I didn't like it. Besides, all this source did -- very promptly, to be sure -- was find me two quotes from two books on Josephine that I had already read. I am not at all miffed that one of the quotes suggested neither Josephine nor Napoleon cared a whit about food and wine. I plunge on: they must have eaten something ....

My other executive decision is that the Dirty White Mother shall be renamed the Hortense, after Josephine's daughter. Both ladies were said to have been lovely, loved, sweet and kind, and both drinks deserve better names. There. 

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