June 15, 2021
One last stop on our month-or-such-of-Maigret, though I can’t imagine we’ll be leaving our Parisian Chief Inspector (the great creation of great writer George Simenon) for long – we’ve had a decent amount of Maigret Cocktail Talks, and let’s hope it won’t be the last. The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien is another good Maigret read, a very interesting one, as Maigret manages to travel to Belgium, back to France, to history, to many secrets, to Armagnac, all by following a shabby traveler and on a hunch switching suitcases.
Maigret took selfish pleasure in his chilly response, but Van Damme sat down at his table anyway.
“You’ve finished? In that case, allow me to offer you a digestif . . . Waiter! Well, what will you have inspector? An old Armagnac?”
He called for the drinks list, and after consultation with the proprietor, chose an 1867 Armagnac, to be served in snifters.
–George Simenon, The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien
November 13, 2015
First: no ducks are actually used in this drink. If you were worried. Second, it’s Friday the 13th, and you have enough to be worried about without worrying about ducks. I mean, it’s a day renowned for bad luck (especially if you’re camping) and all that. However, this drink is sure to balance out any bad luck, so I suggest you make one double quick.
Why is this particular drink lucky? I’m glad you asked. It starts with Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac isn’t as well-known at the level it should be. Distilled once, but aged more than most spirits in barrels, it leans towards warm, full flavors, and is usually made by smaller, family-owned producers who’ve been Armagnac-ing for hundreds of years. Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac is aged in oak for 3 years, and is lovely, with toffee and bread aromas followed up vanilla, oak, and more. It’s well worth sipping solo, but also makes a fairly magnificent base for cocktails.
Especially when added to just a few other key ingredients. Here, the first is Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry (Sherry, by the way, is another ingredient not enough think of for cocktails, though it’s thankfully on the rise). Delicate in color, this Sherry is made by one the preeminent Sherry-making families (they’ve been making fine Sherries since 1835) aged for four years, and is quite dry, but with a light almond aroma, and a nutty taste with just a few fruity hints. It’s also quite nice by itself, with food, but brings an individual note to drinks. And if those two charmers weren’t enough, enter old pal Green Chartreuse. Which also brings a very signature style and flavor to any drink. And a little umph.
All together (plus a tiny bit of simple syrup to round out the edged), this is one seriously swell drink. Rich, layered, elegant (in a way that only certain drinks can be), but still approachable. If you can swing it, change your lucky to the better by tracking down these ingredients and making this before the day ends.
The Lucky Duck
2 ounces Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac
1/2 ounce Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Armagnac, Sherry, Chartreuse, and simple syrup. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Feel lucky.