To get inspired for the Hitchcock Sweater Re-fashion Contest, I invited a few of the usual suspects over for a ladies evening of crafting, cocktails and general bad behavior. Since we're running with the Hitchcock theme I wanted to make a drink from a film absolutely infused in alcohol, North by Northwest runs a close second in the drinking binge category, but Notorious my favorite. Ingrid Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, a disgraced alcoholic tramp with a heart of gold who agrees to spy on Nazi ex-pats living in Brazil. Along the way she falls madly in love with the dashing but coy US agent, Max Devlin played by Carey Grant. There is a LOT of drinking in this movie and most of it is fancy champaign. While I adore the bubbly on it's own, I also love to add it to a mixed drink.
Notorious the Cocktail is a delicious combination of Brandy and Pear juice with a shot of lemon/ginger syrup and a delicate champaign sabayon sauce floating on top. The sauce and syrup takes a bit of prep work ahead of time but the ingredients can be left to chill up to a day before serving.
Sabayon is a cousin to the Italian chilled dessert zabaglione. Bascially you are beating up egg yolks and and wine into a light froth over a low heat. The results are dreamy as long as you don't over cook the eggs!
I was introduced to sabayon during my brief kitchen stint at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. It was a great way for us to use up left over champaign, and super versatile being tasty served hot, room temperature or even frozen, pairing well with fresh fruit and cookies. These days there is no such thing as "left over champaign" but such is the life of a master criminal.
You'll notice from the photo that I went for the cheap ingredients- If I could afford the good stuff I'd use it, but this is a damn fine drink no matter what. Make sure you get a dry wine, everything else is so sweet, you'll want a bit of a contrast.
2-4 cups Brandy (depending on guest count)
1 bottle dry champaign
1 bottle Pear juice
2 cups sugar
6 egg yolks
2 knobs fresh ginger root
We'll break down the recipe in three steps: ginger syrup, sabayon sauce and drink assembly.
To make the Ginger Syrup:
With a vegetable peeler or small paring knife, take off the outer skin of the ginger root. Cut the roots into 8 smaller chunks and drop into pot on stove. Add one and 2/3 cups sugar and 1 cup water and the juice of one lemon. Let this simmer for about 45 minutes on low heat. You can always add a bit more water if it looks like you are cooking off too much liquid. Let mix cool completely. You can strain out the ginger now or just before serving. The longer the infusion the spicier the drink. Left over syrup goes great in coffee, or added to a muffin mix.
To make Sabayon Sauce:
Separate six eggs, save the whites for another tasty dish like meringues. Put the yolks in a stainless steel or other heat inductive bowl. Add 1/3 cup sugar and one cup champaign. Beat vigorously on the stove over a pot of boiling water. You'll want to keep a close eye on your sauce, mixing constantly for about five minutes while it cooks. The temperature should never get too hot to touch. You'll know you're done when the sabayon has tripled in size and has a light frothy shine. If the mix is too sweet you can add a squeeze of lemon.
Take your sauce off the heat and set bowl into larger bowl that has been filled with ice water. Continue whisking until sabayon has cooled to room temperature. You can now chill until ready to serve, sabayon will hold it's beautiful shape for at least a day.
Combine two shots Brandy with two shots Pear juice and splash of Ginger syrup in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain mix and pour into martini glass. Dollop 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of Sabayon Sauce on top and garnish with lemon zest. Your guests will be thrilled! Be warned though, these delicious drinks pack a whallop and if you aren't careful you'll look like this the next morning...