My collection of vintage cookbooks is actually an offshoot of a more general book habit. I’ve been converted recently to the joys of e-book readers, but I still really love the smell and feel of old trade paperbacks. Which is why I found myself browsing through my parents’ books, and picking up a 1970s copy of The Big Sleep. Food, I found, follows me even into my non-cookbook vintage adventures: in Chapter 2, as Philip Marlowe gets drawn into the affairs of the Sternwoods, the aged patriarch of that family tells the P.I., “I used to like my brandy with champagne. The champagne as cold as Valley Forge and about a third of a glass of brandy beneath it.” I was reading my book on the train this weekend (a perfect place for hardboiled crime stories) and was unable to stop thinking about it until I tried it today. It was delicious; I’m still unable to stop thinking on it.
While champagne and brandy might be delicious on their own, I decided to add a few ingredients to make this a little more acceptable to the modern palate. I took inspiration from the classic French 75 cocktail, and added sugar and lemon juice to the hard liquor.
Then just top it up with frigid champagne (or other sparkling wine, since we have the luxury of choice these days). Cheers!
The Big Sleep
1 1/2 oz. cognac
1 tsp sugar (superfine if possible)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
5 oz. sparkling wine (brut champagne or cava, preferably)
1. Pour the brandy, sugar, and lemon juice in a champagne flute and mix gently with a stirrer.
2. Top up with chilled sparkling wine and serve.
Mmm I love the bubbly and cognac! This drink is calling my name. =) Now to only to find someone to help me finish the bottle… LOL
MMM! With the fog hanging over the coast and a breeze chilling us all this would definitely work for me tonight!!
Oh, my, this is a cocktail made to impress! It sounds delectable!!!!
Oh wow, my glass of wine here pales in comparison to this lovely concoction!
Wow. Love you adaptation. It sounds perfect.
I love the inspiration behind this cocktail and the name. I have some cognac in the drinks cupboard. Will be buying some bubbly in the near future (i.e. this weekend) and trying this – but I can tell you now, I know I’m going to like it. Have a great weekend.
this looks great, I’ll have to give it a try sometime! Unrelated, but I was thinking about the recent Oprah Blog link and thought you should make a section of your blog like “As seen on…” You’re starting to get some serious press! 🙂
It’s passed 2am and with this drink I’ll pass out in a second. Haha. Have a great weekend Celia!
I am a cocktail girl through and through, so bring it on. Looks delicious! BTW, have I ever told you that my middle child is a Celia? Favourite name ever.
@Carolyn – Really? So cool! I love having this name…aside from the fact that people seem to be unable to remember that Celia is not Cecelia – I get a lot of Simon & Garfunkel sung to me.
I’m totally loving your reading habit right now. This cocktail is awesome with what I suspect is a high ‘cool’ factor. How can you not be cool with a drink like this? Thanks for sharing! Buzzed 🙂
Love this! I’m utterly obsessed with old-school cocktails – I’d take a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned over fruity martinis any day of the week.
Plus, I have a real soft spot for champagne-based cocktails. Maybe it’s because I always remember Kir Royales being the apero of choice at dinner parties when I was little, which means I will forever believe there is no drink more sophisticated than a Kir Royale. Or maybe it’s because those flutes are just so dang classy.
I’ll have to remember this recipe for the next time I’m in the mood for something with bubbles. 🙂
Ok, I want to drink this right now! Looks delicious for summer on the porch!
I can’t get into the e-book thing, just yet… I love to look at my cookbooks, list through them, and collect them! :))
On another note, I would love to sip on that!! Sounds like a terrific cocktail!