I was in New Orleans recently and in case you didn’t already know this, New Orleans is a town that loves cocktails. On drink menus here you’ll find classics like the sazerac and the mint julep next to the usual collection of cosmos and appletinis. You’ll find ramos gin fizz and the hurricane, and probably a brandy milk punch, too.
Whenever I visit New Orleans, at least one sazerac is mandatory. On this trip, I also tried absinthe for the first time -- at The Old Absinthe House, which seemed appropriate. I also discovered a great old drink that is my current new favorite: the sidecar (cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice).
So I’ve been thinking about cocktails more than usual lately and perusing scads of bartender recipes for other lost gems, and I discovered something I cannot believe I have missed up till now:
The Belly Dancer cocktail.
Yes, there is such a thing and before we go any further, let me give credit where it’s due. I found the recipe at a site called Alex Cocktail Recipes and it describes the drink as tasting like a “liquid Turkish delight.” Of course I was intrigued.
The recipe calls for two measures vodka, two measures chamberyzette or other strawberry liqueur, and one measure rose syrup. I thought the rose syrup would be the tricky ingredient to find, but I found it easily at my local Middle Eastern grocer. I could not find a strawberry liqueur, however, so I substituted a cherry liqueur and hoped for the best.
Add the ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake until the shaker feels cold, and pour into a martini glass. (As you can see from the photo, I substituted an aperitif glass.)
I wanted to love this drink. I really did. But there was something about the strong floral aroma that just didn’t sit well with me. Would it have been better if I had found a strawberry liqueur? Maybe, but I doubt it. For me, a belly dance-inspired drink should be sweet and spicy (cinnamon?) not sweet and flowery. So I’m going to continue my search, or maybe come up with a concoction of my own.
If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!