Sahara Glowing Heart Cocktail

This one came to Baker, and therefore to us, “from the Hands of one Abdullah an Arab Muslim Wizard back of Mahogany at the Mena House Bar, near the Pyramids of Ghizeh, which Are Just South of Cairo, Egypt.” See, this is why I love Charles H. Baker, Jr. What other cocktail book makes you imagine that you’re sipping your preferred tipple next to a pyramid?

According to Baker, “after a brace of Glowing Hearts,” he and “another American ne’er-do-well” stole a whole bunch of camels and tied them up between the Sphinx’s feet. I wouldn’t believe it from anyone but him.

Baker offers two formulas for this drink. I didn’t try the first one, for reasons that will be explained momentarily:

  • 1 pony dry gin (1 oz)
  • 1 pony absinthe (1 oz)
  • 1 pony apricot brandy (1 oz)
  • 1/2 pony grenadine (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

If you think that sounds horrifying, you’re in good company. Even Baker agrees: “To us this drink tastes a bit sweet; also a bit dominated by absinthe or Pernod Veritas.” Hallelujah and praise the Lord—Charles H. Baker, Jr., actually acknowledged that a drink has too much damn absinthe! He proposed this modified formula, which is the one I made, more or less:

  • 1 jigger gin (2 oz Beefeater)
  • 1 pony apricot brandy (1 oz Rothman & Winter)
  • (1 tsp grenadine)
  • Dash absinthe (Kübler)

Rinse a coupe glass with a dash of absinthe. Shake the remaining ingredients with ice (I stirred) and strain into the coupe glass.

Even this “dry” version was rather syrupy. It probably didn’t help that I insisted on adding the grenadine, so that the Glowing Heart would appear to have, well, a glowing heart. I also tried making this with half apricot eau-de-vie and half apricot brandy, but alas, that wasn’t much better.

This might be improved somewhat by using Peychaud’s for color instead of grenadine. Ultimately, though, I think you’d have to add at least one extra ingredient (lemon juice?) and rebalance everything to make this one work.

Sahara Glowing Heart Cocktail: ★★★☆☆ 

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