Michael Pedecine, the head bartender at Gabriel Kreuther, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, created this cocktail in honor of Valentine’s Day.
It’s an advanced riff on a Between the Sheets, a cocktail that, like this one, splits its base between cognac and rum, adding orange liqueur and lemon juice into the mix. In his variation, Pedecine calls upon a dark pot-still rum, rather than the light rum his inspiration uses, to stand up to the intensely flavored alchermes he includes, which, he says, plays beautifully with the vanilla and spice notes of the cognac. He adds pinot noir grape juice for its balancing acidity, which also serves to bolster the cognac’s fruity notes.
Alchermes dates back to the eighth century, when it was renowned for its healing properties and was thought to be especially effective in healing the heart, says Pedecine. The modern version is spiced and herbaceous, slightly medicinal yet bright. The ancient healing elixir, he says, would have been prepared with gold flakes or crushed pearls. To mimic that, “I’ve included a touch of Luster Dust for whimsy but also to harken back to the magical nature of alcharmes,” he says.
The cocktail represents “a perfect celebration of love, health and better days ahead,” says Pedecine. Let’s all raise a glass to that.