Labour Day is looming. School’s back in session. Summer is winding down. And while the lifestyle mags in my grocery store are recommending flamboyant coolers for the long weekend, trotting out their endless variations on the mojito, the sangria, the margarita, I rebel.

The waning of the warm season always leaves me a bit moody.

Tonight, I need something safer than a Basil Cucumber Rickey, a Black Pepper and Strawberry Rum Frappé. Something leaning just a tad to the sad side.

Something a little blue….

Blue Angel
1/2 oz brandy
1/2 oz blue curaçao
1/2 oz Parfait Amour
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz cream
Shake well with ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.

Bring this out at a cocktail party and expect more than a few comments on the colour. That powder blue is achieved through the admixture of Parfait Amour, blue curaçao and cream.

We covered Parfait Amour in an earlier column but blue curaçao is worth a mention because it’s an often maligned liqueur — and perhaps with some reason. Even though it is merely an orange-flavoured spirit not unlike triple sec or Cointreau, whenever I’ve hauled it out for use in drinks, anyone who samples it refers to it as something along the lines of florescent Kool-aid or windshield washer fluid. Certainly, I’ve always felt it has a more astringent or artificial flavour than some of its cousin spirits. But I can’t say if it’s actually the chemical dye offending my tongue or if it’s rather the taste-centres in my brain revolting at the prospect of having to process something coloured such an unnatural shade.

Certainly, between the curaçao and the lemon juice, there lurks in this cocktail a certain amount of tang. But thanks to the cream’s mellowing influence, what could have been an unpleasantly tart cocktail is smoothed out and becomes dreamlike. The citrus becomes a distant flavour. The Parfait Amour’s floral notes become faint. In fact, there is something rather insubstantial about the Blue Angel. As though it’s merely a cocktail ghost, trapped by proton throwers and reconstituted in a glass. A fitting drink for a dying season.

Farewell, summer 2010. I feel like I barely got to know you.