In our Drink! issue, in the piece on stocking a home bar, I included a bottle of something called Parfait Amour. It’s a purple liqueur flavoured with a blend of oranges, vanilla, rose petals and almond. If your experience of liqueurs has until now been limited to Kahlua, Bailey’s and Triple Sec, prepare to be dazzled. Parfait Amour was popular in the 19th century and has a peculiar yet delightful floral flavour. Tastes have changed and it has fallen out of favour and as a result in many parts of the country it can be difficult to find.
But not in Saskatchewan. For reasons unknown to me, our province’s liquor stores are well-stocked with this regal beverage.
And that’s a good thing because it’s an essential ingredient in this cocktail….
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz orange juice
1/4 oz parfait amour
Shake well with ice. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
The Jupiter dates to 1923 when it appeared in Harry McElhone’s, Harry of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. According to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, one must be sure to measure the ingredients carefully as the parfait amour can easily overpower any drink. Haigh describes its effect on a cocktail this way:
Who would have thought this demure cordial would be so bossy? Parfait Amour, like the more flagrant absinthe and pastis, would, with a heavy pour, absolutely take over a drink — and not in a good way. I love the stuff, but then I know it’s a machine gun; I don’t aim it just anywhere and I squeeze the trigger very, very carefully.
But then, considering that the name translates as Perfect Love, is it any wonder that a mere drop would be so potent?