A somewhat novel variation of the Brandy Cocktail, in that it is one of the few cocktails using port wine is the

Betsy Ross – David Embury

1 part Curacao

2 parts Port

6 parts Brandy (preferably Fundador)

1 dash Angostura to each drink

Stir with large cubes of ice. A twist of lemon over each glass

Betsy Ross is credited with presenting the first American flag to the then General, George Washington. Like many things in history the truth seems a little murkier. It’s a story repeated on stamps and landmarks around the US, but a story whose entirety rests on writings by her grandson over a hundred years after the fact, with nothing from around the time to back it up. Betsy was a flag maker, although her actual input to the making of the stars and stripes seems to stop at maybe changing the shape of the stars from 6 points to 5.

A lot of cocktail ‘history’ I suspect is formed the same way. In an age before email, the internet or camera phones, and on a subject which generally involves the person passing the knowledge to imbibe, I suspect the bulk of origin stories, and recipes are well and truly lost to time. You only need to look at how the Cosmopolitan emerged to see a modern-day version of Chinese recipe whispers, and that was in the 80’s.

When compared to a drink like the Lafayette, or the Netherland, where the ingredients make sense when matching to the name, this is also little incongruous as I can’t see any relationship between ingredients from the Caribbean, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela, and the legend behind the creation of the stars and stripes. I suspect, and I’ve been guilty of this on many an occasion, that the drink was invented and when pressed for a name, voila.

The drink itself is great. And its one of those drinks where the lemon oils on top make the drink, lending a lovely balance to the sweetness of the Curacao and Port. It’s a little on the sweet side, but easy to drink and a long way from being too sweet.