Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Toast to January's Quiet

It has been snowing in Colorado, and I'm off tomorrow to ski over the long weekend.  January--a month so many view as bleak and cheerless--is one of my favorite months in the year.  The hustle of the holidays is over; no huge obligations loom; and it's time to hunker down by the fire with good books and snoozing dogs.   I've been dutifully reading Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot, and finding it disappointing, perhaps because I lived through college in the '80s and my memories of it are much better than his characters'.  (It was brought home to me recently just how long ago that was when a chance acquaintance commented: "You look really good for somebody who graduated in 1985."  We call that a backhanded comment, folks: Nice to know you look OK, given that you've got one foot in the grave.)  So last night I put down the Plot and picked up a Golden Age mystery.  And naturally, I mixed up a Sidecar to drink with it.

The Sidecar surfaces in Agatha Christie novels and only rarely in trendy bars these days.  It takes its name from the little passenger capsule so many motorcycles sported in England in the 1930s, the kind that Lady Mary Wimsey and her pet Communist meant to elope in, during the first chapters of  Dorothy Sayers' Clouds of Witness.  It's a brandy cocktail, which nobody drinks anymore, but it's absolutely delicious.  Here, after much experimentation, is how to make one:

The Wimsey Sidecar

1.5 oz Courvoisier
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and pour into a martini glass--preferably one whose rim has been wiped with a lemon and coated with sugar.  Grab a good dog and a good mystery and settle in while the blizzards howl.

After you drink this, you'll want to be poured into one of those cute little passenger capsules and elope.

Happy New Year from Nessa and Mycroft