Brandy Champerelle – Recipe below from Jerry Thomas ‘The Bon Vivants Companion’

Use small wineglass 

One-third brandy.

One-third curacao.

One-third bitters. 

THIS is a delicious French cafe drink.

About a year ago I came across a drink called a Trinidad sour, this used Angostura bitters as its main spiritous ingredient, I was intrigued. It was as punchy as I expected, but it worked incredibly well. We played around with the ingredients swapping the rye whisky for rum, and lemon for lime and our Bolivar Sour was born, which with some grated nutmeg on top is my favourite drink on the list by a country mile.

The Brandy Champerelle is similar, but punchier. It doesn’t make an appearance in the first printing in 1862, but does show up in the 1887 version, with a different recipe, swapping the bitters for Benedictine, and with only a dash of bitters. It also shows up in the section on ‘Fancy Drinks’ just after the Pousse Cafes, drinks with lots of different liqueurs layered carefully and consumed as much for there visual effect as for the taste, imagine a well made B52 shot. The earlier recipe with Benedictine appears much more in this mold and it makes me wonder if perhaps it’s a typo. There’s an earlier error on the same page, a pousse café comes with the instructions to ‘mix well’ despite the preceding drink state ‘in making a pousse of any kind the greatest care should be observed to keep all the ingredients separate’, the earlier edition even includes instructions and a diagram on how to achieve this.

If it is a typo, it’s a serendipitous one, I’m not sure if the inventor of the Trinidad sour used this as inspiration for his drink, it’s a highly unusual style, and genius that Jerry Thomas can unfortunately not be praised for (being long dead by the time this edition was printed).

Unlike the proceeding pousse café’s I went off script and shook the hell out of it, its not a pousse cafe after all. I knew that the combination would work, and the fancy drinks chapter has a lot of other shaken drinks so why not. And it did work, I added some fresh nutmeg on top and enjoyed this sip by sip. My Bolivar Sour tempers the bitters a little more with lime juice so the Champerelle isn’t quite as user friendly, but still well worth an experiment as it is a delicious French cafe drink.