Ambrosia for Two -- The Rituals

Ambrosia For Two

A warm summer afternoon. A kitchen.

Two men in early middle age make cocktails while their wives consort in the living room.

One man, Brian, consults a bartender guide.

A recipe awaits.

3 oz. brandy (Pierre Ferrand cognac)
3 oz. apple brandy (St. George California Reserve)
Several drops of raspberry syrup (DIY)
Champagne (Martini & Rossi Asti)

Combine the brandies and the syrup with ice; shake. Strain into two pre-chilled wine glasses. Fill each glass with champagne and stir.

Another man, Eric, lurches forward.

Eric: You just put 34 drops of red raspberry syrup in. The recipe says “several drops of raspberry syrup.” Now this is a recipe for 2, so 17 and a half drops per person. I would say that is several, wouldn’t you?

Brian: I would say that is several.

Eric: At what point does “several”— (loses interest) ahh, never mind, it’s pointless…

Brian: Let’s say your definition of several is 5. Are 5 drops of raspberry syrup going to make a dent in the 6 ounces of brandy that are in there?

Eric: If it’s pretty strong raspberry syrup. Is it pretty strong raspberry syrup?

Brian: Would you like to taste it?

Eric: I would.

Eric tastes Brian’s homemade raspberry syrup and approves. Laughter from the living room. Both men turn sharply.

Brian: This is a big drink to start the day off with.

Eric: It is almost 4:00. Cheers.

They clink glasses.

Eric: Man, you look tired.

Brian: This is dangerous. The champagne kills all the alcohol taste that is in there.

Eric: The champagne is a cloaking device. I also note that the raspberry syrup is still invisible, in spite of your 35 drops.

Brian: I’m trying to drink this but it’s so weird.

Eric: You think the syrup is a color thing? This drink does have a beautiful color; it looks like a nice lambic or something. I don’t know a thing about lambics, however. Okay then, it looks like a nice beer. But the problem with this drink is not the raspberry syrup, it’s the champagne. Champagne drinks are problematic for me.

Brian: Yeah, I’m not a huge champagne guy either. Still, I think this needs more of it.

Eric: Of course it does.

Brian finishes off the Ambrosia, smacking his lips ambigiously.

Brian: I like it. I would give it a 5.

Eric: As you know, I tend to roll more negative. I give it a 4 and a half. I don’t hate it; I just think it lacks ambition. What does it need?

Brian: This drink needs to be superchilled. It needs to be cold. (points) That warms up, you’re dead.

Eric: You know what, this is a drink that would be good for a summer afternoon—oh, sorry, that that is what we say about everything!

Brian: Maybe you put dry ice in, so that you keep it cold but you don’t add any water to it.

Eric: Because then it looks like the Munsters.

Brian: Well yes, there is that whole thing that happens.

Eric: What if you put a cinnamon stick in it?

Brian: I think it’s a bad idea.

Eric: What about 3/4 of an apple?

SCORES: Brian 5, Eric 4.5

Eric D. Anderson


Eric D. Anderson came to appreciate cocktails late in life and is trying to make up for lost time. He finds that crafting drinks involves the same precision, creativity, sociability, and ritual as baking—another passion—and believes that it brings people together in the same way. Eric is the director of Way of the Puck, a feature-length documentary about professional air hockey, and the editor of Stories of Quitting (, an online collection of true stories that celebrate giving up. His writing has appeared in AGNI, Painted Bride Quarterly, Perigee, Giant Robot, and Wild Quarterly, among other publications. In his free time he works as a camera operator on commercials and motion pictures.

Always drink responsibly!