Courtney Riley Cooper – David Embury

Here is a combination aromatic and Sour type:

1 part Cointreau

1 part lime

1 part dubonnet

4 parts cognac

Shake well with cracked ice

I must confess I chose this drink while cocooning at home on a wet and miserable Sunday afternoon, looking for a drink which was sour based, one that I had all the ingredients at home for to avoid a trip to the great beyond. Having a home bar is a little bit of a novelty, I always used to, until 5-6 years ago when I realised that keeping spirits at home was a terrible idea, as nights out turned to ‘come back to ours, we have a bottle of [insert brand here]’ or ‘I fancy one last drink before we go to bed’, neither of which is ever a good idea. And as my willpower after midnight (and after a few drinks) diminishes somewhat I figured it would be safer just to not keep them at home.

Flipping through Embury I came across this drink, C.R Cooper seems like quite a character, he ran away from home to join the circus at age 16 (yes, actually), became circus manager, left and became a newspaper reporter, joined the Marine Corps and went to France in 1918, came back and started writing non-fiction, including a biography of Annie Oakley (circus friend maybe?) and other catchy titles like “Marijuana, Assassin of Youth”, became a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, and was eventually found dead from an apparent suicide (murder) in a hotel room after investigating German spies in Mexico in 1940. His was not a boring life.

The drink is great, there’s a lot going on inside, you have strong fruity cognac, sour lime, sweet from the Cointreau and a bitter aromatic from the Dubonnet, all of which you can clearly taste in a harmonious balance.

I often wonder about measurements for drinks, recipes always come in nice easy to recreate round numbers, a world of millilitres or ounces depending on what side of the Atlantic you reside, numbers that bartenders can remember and reproduce. I wonder if there’s a better more perfect balance that can be achieved with smaller increments than we see in print, with this drink I don’t care to experiment, the balance seems perfect.