Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Polly & Bogart's Secret Shared

A couple of weeks ago I made a promise to one of my many cyberfriends; I know Evelyne through the Irish Business Womens Forum aka IBW. Like many people I am quite partial to the odd drop of wine which is where my friend comes in; Through The Grape Vine is an on-line wine merchant specialising in fine wines, personal and corporate gifts, personalised wines, hampers and all manner of sumptuous gifts.

Just browsing through the site makes me want to whip out my credit card and place an order immediately. Sadly; for me this is not to be recommended as my social calendar is whirling out of control. With two weddings and two significant birthday's to celebrate; plus the cost of accommodation, travel and presents it's very much a case of budget cut back's this month!

That said perhaps I didn't have to drink DG's poor wallet dry last Friday night! (Oh yes, I did!) Having always been a sucker for classic cocktails and a nice venue; I was in my element. Having been invited to Ms T's wedding; which was celebrated at none other than Middleton Park House it was in my interests to be on my best behaviour for the evening. (Speaking of wedding's Through The Grape Vine do wedding packages too!)

Not only did I have to look good, it was important that I felt good too. Dressed in a mixture of classic cream teamed with a striking blue cashmere and silk wrap, matching leather gloves and six inch sateen heels in the same striking blue I looked and felt a million dollars. It would be a shame to spoil this illusion by lifting a pint of the black stuff to my pretty pink lips...

Instead I taught the barman a new cocktail; consisting only of the fruit of the vine, ie brandy and triple sec I figured this would be a safe bet for the evening. Not only did it look elegant; it tasted divine!

1 Measure Cognac
1 Measure Triple Sec
1 Measure Lemon

Very simply this cocktail is shaken not stirred! Just the way James Bond likes it; which is quite fitting considering that the Groom, his junior Best Man and Groom's Man arrived by helicopter!

For anyone who's not familiar with triple sec; this included me until relatively recently, Kieran over at Ice-Cream Ireland recently solved this most elusive of puzzles. According to the Wikipedia link in his article Triple Sec is any orange flavoured alcoholic liqueur. Considering that a Sidecar has been my favourite cocktail since my early twenties I felt a bit of a chump when I discovered this tantalisingly simple fact!

Until Friday I would always have recommended the clear Cointreau, which has a lovely sharp tangy flavour that added little to the drink other than its clarity of flavour. As Middleton Park House is such a classy establishment they prefer my mother's favourite liqueur; Grand Marnier and boy does it make a difference.

Not only does it lend a luscious glow to the finished cocktail, but the flavour is simply divine. What Cointreau adds to this cocktail is sharpness with an over-riding sweetness; Grand Marnier is quite the opposite offering a subtle softness to this classic cocktail. While this may be advantageous in the short term; it certainly makes this drink one for the long night, whereas its slightly less demur sister generally retires after just one or two appearances.

Better still is the fact that there were very few ill effects following a subtle blending with fine white table wines and champagne. My grand-father always swore by sticking to either the grain or the grape; as did my father and with good reason...

For more information on this classic cocktail, which also happened to be one of Humphrey Bogart's favourites why not head over to The Cocktail Spirit for a quick heads-up with Robert Hess?

Meanwhile, my lips are smarting just at the thought of our evening at Ms T's wedding. The food was fabulous, as was the whole production. The venue is romance itself and with a handful of your closest friends I can't imagine anywhere else in the world that I'd want to get married...

Polly Pierce
Vinca Cards Hand-Made Wedding Stationary & Greeting Cards
ps. I've been invited back to exhibit at their next Wedding Expo on February 8th next year!

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