“How could two women be more different than the beautiful languid Carolina girl and this swift handsome girl from Utica, best Dutch stock? One thing was sure. Each was to be courted, loved, drunk with, with bourbon. I should have stuck with bourbon.”—Walker Percy (from Bourbon, Neat)
The whisky they drank that evening (two big bottles of it) is important. Otherwise, it would be hard to account for what followed. Perhaps without it there would never have been a café. For the liquor of Miss Amelia has a special quality of its own. It is clean and sharp on the tongue, but once down a man it glows inside him for a long time afterward. And that is not all. It is known that if a message is written with lemon juice on a clean sheet of paper there will be no sign of it. But if the paper is held for a moment to the fire then the letters turn brown and the meaning becomes clear. Imagine that the whisky is the fire and that the message is that which is known only in the soul of a man — then the worth of Miss Amelia’s liquor can be understood.
from Cure, New Orleans The Cure: While Varnelli Amaro Sibilla is no longer used as an antimalarial drug, its high concentrations of gentian, a bitter herb, and quinine, an alkaloid found naturally in cinchona-tree bark, may still reduce fever, curb pain, and ease digestion.
The Ingredients 11/2 oz Rittenhouse bonded rye 1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina aperitif wine 1/4 oz Varnelli Amaro Sibilla 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir 40 revolutions and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
“I really don’t think bourbon belongs on the table during a meal. It just destroys your tongue. So drink it on its own, as its own course. Maybe put some water in it. Let the proof change. Let the flavor change. Don’t rush things.”—Sean Brock, chef & owner of Husk