Klaus has been extremely busy over the past two weeks. Yesterday he traveled to Philadelphia to visit the birthplace of our nation. He also paused to enjoy a lovely visit at the location where one of his favorite liquors was created.
That liquor would have to be named Snap. USDA Certified Organic Snap is Klaus’s favorite Schnapps-like slurp that tastes like the Old Country.
Klaus made quite a hit down in Philly. He got inspired for a drink that he created using ingredients as historic as the city. No, it wouldn’t be bathtub gin and juice or applejack and cola… It would be something delicious, savory, sweet and haunting- all at the same time. But what could that be?
The combination of Templeton Rye Whiskey and Snap with a couple dashes of Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, and finished with a mere splash of Atsby Amberthorn Vermouth is spinning around in my brain. Or was it Klaus’s brain. Whosever brain it was, I certainly am impressed with the balance of flavors. They all work and build on each other in a most beguiling fashion. Templeton Rye is known as the good stuff. Long a favorite of Al Capone who served Templeton in his speakeasies, this rye is soft in the mouth and has a lovely finish of cinnamon, clove and spices. It mixes well with others, especially the ginger snap sensibility of the Snap liquor. Eighty Proof is still eighty proof and Snap certainly delivers in the deep down body heating category. Klaus loves Snap because he has a sweet tooth. Or so he told me, but I couldn’t understand him – because he spoke in German. Did I tell you that Klaus is not an orphan? Yes! Klaus is a Greibel Gnome. I’m not sure how old, thinking the 1930’s still is correct. No, they don’t make Klaus any longer- so you cannot become Klaus, sorry. That honor is reserved for my little ceramic friend and myself. Klaus has a kind heart and he is liked by most. That is the greatest honor. When Klaus and I traveled back from France in September, I put him and my cameras inside the carry on. I went through the radio-meter just fine. Looking back on the TV monitor as the little guy went through the x-ray detector, I could see his little outline and the outline of my Leica cameras. But suddenly all was not ok. There were two French policemen with sub-machine guns looking at me. They alternately looked at me- then at Klaus. Or just the outline of Klaus was visible. A very businesslike woman wearing a bullet-proof vest touched my arm and directed me towards a curtain. They wanted to look at my carryon closer. What could I say?
The sub-machine gun toting men filed in with my carry-on. They opened it. Looked around inside and they pulled out my Leica cameras, socks, some shampoos and soaps. Then they began to remove the towel that surrounded Klaus. (He was frightened for once) They unwrapped him bruskly. The one sub-machine gun carrying man said to the other, “Amelie”. Then other said to the policewoman, “Amelie,” who turned to the other gun-toting policeman, “Amelie,” then to me. I smiled. We all spoke the same language.
I love the cocktail named the Manhattan. My friend Chris James who is the head bartender at the Ryland Inn located in Whitehouse, NJ puts up with a lot from me. When I bring Klaus he is more understanding. Klaus seems to like looking out over the room and it brings a smile to his little ceramic face. Chris taught me how to make a Manhattan. Truth is, no one taught me to do anything. I sort of learned on my own by watching others. Yes I mangled it and will mangle it again… And again. Sorry Chris, I know you try so hard to teach me.
Klaus understands too. Now finely twisted on Templeton Rye, Snap, Atsby Vermouth and Bitter Truth Bitters, he isn’t saying much. He’s smiling deeply inside because he knows the secret of life. I’m not sure how he knows this, but what I will say is that he knows. And what about the cocktail?
Ah the cocktail. I must name it after Amelie…
The Amelie Cocktail
2 oz. Snap (USDA Certified Organic)
½ oz. Templeton Rye
½ oz. Atsby Amberthorn Vermouth
Four shakes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Take a glass or metal mixing vessel
A few handfuls of good ice (preferably made from Mavea filtered water)
Stir with a long bar spoon (carefully) for about 10 seconds to chill, but not dilute the drink
Pour into a short rocks glass and toast Klaus!