Some drinks are social in nature and have the power to create strong bonds and memories. Where I come from, we have one such drink, and I guarantee it will make a vivid impression on you, your friends and your guests. In Leysin, a small ski resort nestled in the Swiss French speaking Alps, we love to finish a jolly meal at home or at a restaurant with a Café Abricotine (Apricot Coffee). Don’t be fooled by the fruity etymology, this combo provides a double whammy, helping you digest your meal while giving you the motivation to put your skis back on, move on to the pub or to the club.
You will need the following in order to begin:
Ingredients and equipment
1 espresso or coffee
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 glass of Abricotine (apricot brandy with 40% alcohol. The most common brand is called Morand)
Once equipped, proceed as follows:
Spoon three teaspoons of sugar into the coffee and like a James Bond martini DO NOT stir. Instead, let the sugar settle at the bottom of the cup while you gently sip and enjoy your coffee. Once you reach the layer of sugar, take your glass of Abricotine and empty it into the coffee cup. Then take your teaspoon, and dip it into the cup so that it comes back up with some sugar and brandy in it. Then take your lighter and light the spoon. Once a blue flame appears, gently lower the spoon below the surface of the brandy in order to ignite it. Stay in this position for a while. Once you have steady combustion, dip your spoon in again to get some more sugar. Repeat this motion until all the sugar has caramelized.
Then comes the tricky part. Put the lighter and the spoon aside. While the brandy is still burning in the cup, pour it back into the glass. Then put the flame out with the palm of your hand. It is important to keep your hand as flat as possible when you put it on the rim of the glass. This action will create a vacuum and the suction will enable the glass to stick to your palm. Enjoy this strange feeling for a while, move your hand up and down or in circles if you want show off. Stay like this until all the other drinkers are at the same stage. Once everyone is ready, use your free hand to gently release the vacuum. Once the glass comes loose, bring it to your nose, inhale the vapours and then it’s bottoms up, drink the contents of your glass and feel the effects of the double whammy of caffeine and brandy.
The most delicate part is when you put your hand onto the glass to put out the flame. The rim of the glass should not be too wide and should easily fit into your palm. If not, you might end up with a few burns, ouch! Once you have mastered this technique, the most daring of you might enjoy trying the suction effect on other parts of the body, such as your forearm or biceps. If you are bald, your forehead can be used to really make an impression, just try not to burn your eyelashes . If you are in the mood for something crazier, try using your butt cheek, but only if you are as hairless as a baby. Who knows, you might come up with a new trick each time!
In any case, a Café Abricotine is bound to leave a lasting memory on you and your posse! Proceed with pleasure and with care!
By Gabriel Hourcade