The very promising ALBERTINE requests equal parts Cointreau, Yellow Chartreuse, and kirsch (cherry brandy), with a dash of maraschino bitters. This is unusual combination of strong-willed liquors—each is capable of dominating its own drink—and we are curious to see if each ingredient will try to play well with others. Then again it could be a street fight.
After thorough digging we only came across one company—Park Avenue Provisions—that makes maraschino bitters these days. Cherry bitters are more available, but we don’t have any of that either, so we agree to just add Luxardo maraschino liqueur instead, even though it makes us nervous to be adding even more sweet to a sweet-looking recipe.
For some reason this drink asks to be shaken first, and then stirred. I’m not so sure what this is about since this is drink that would normally just be stirred. Brian gives it the old college try, however, first with a hearty shake, then a half-assed rotation of the shaker tin as a stir before pouring the pink sparkly out into a lovely coupe glass. The lime garnish is very green and looks like a small pickle.
.75 oz. Cointreau
.75 oz. yellow chartreuse
.75 oz. kirsch (Clear Creek)
1 dash maraschino bitters (we just used Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
Shake, stir, pour, and dress with lime peel.
Eric: Hmm. Color of urine.
Brian: It’s uriny with a slug in it.
Eric: Uriny with a gherkin. It’s a little too sweet for my taste. But still good.
Brian hands Beefcake a small taster of yellow chartreuse, which he proceeds to pour down the front of his shirt.
Eric: Beefcake just poured some yellow chartreuse down his shirt.
Brian: Not often you hear that.
Eric: If you got this drink at a bar would it seem legit to you? I’m wondering if your impression of the drink is being skewed by the fact that it’s being made by us…
Beefcake: Sure, I like this.
Brian: But if you had the ingredients at home would you be like, “You know what? Tonight’s an Albertine night!”
Beefcake: No, I wouldn’t.
Everybody heads into the living room.
Brian: We need a female’s representation.
Amanda: I like it; it’s just very faint. It could be a little bolder.
Brian: Faint! A whole glass of faint.
Eric: Impressive, because everything in there is booze.
Amanda: It’s kind of syrupy too.
I guess that’s what happens when you have four sweet liquors colliding in the same drink. Brian wonders if substituting Green Chartreuse would make the cocktail stand up and say hello. The green version is 110 proof, as opposed to the milder yellow version, which is only 80. I like the logic: When in doubt double down on the booze. When asked about a name for this variation of the ALBERTINE, he responds without pausing. “The Uncle Albert,” he says, of course.
Eric: (laughs) The Uncle Albert!
Beefcake: He’s moving in…
Brian: Dammit! He’s at the door!
Eric: Everybody pretend you’re asleep!
Brian: He’s got that steamer trunk. Why does he still have that steamer trunk?
SCORES: Brian 6 ½, Eric 7, Beefcake 6.8, Amanda abstains
Personally, I think the ALBERTINE could benefit from some actual bitters to help tamp down its syrupy sweetness. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle and revisit this cocktail in the future—even though I liked this more than Brian and Beefcake, I agree that the idea of this drink outperformed the drink itself. Maybe it needs a little more cherry fire to rise up out of the herbally sweet goo—how about a full ounce of kirsch? While we are discussing this, Brian whips up a stronger, greener Uncle Albert and the results are inconclusive: Brian thinks it’s better, Beefcake thinks it’s about the same, and I think it’s worse.