The Widow’s Kiss


The ‘Widow’s Kiss’ is one of those cocktails, like the ‘Last Word’, which should be as famous as the Martini. It’s good on levels that are difficult to describe, but it is a beautiful, winding road of a cocktail. Noted cocktail author Ted Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, credits George Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks, from 1895, with first publishing a recipe for this drink. The traditional recipe is:

  • 1 1/2oz calvados
  • 3/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

My version tweaks every ingredient but the Bénédictine. My friend and distilling mentor Ken Wortz of Kymar Farm Distillery in Charlotteville, NY makes an extraordinary, award-winning aged apple brandy inspired by traditional French calvados and I used that. (To his everlasting credit, it was Ken who introduced me to calvados. I’m not sure I can ever repay the favor…) For the Chartreuse, I subbed in Green, because that’s what I had on hand. Given it’s boldness, I dialed the volume back just a hair. And finally, I used the otherworldly Riemerschmid bitters made from actual Angostura bark.

So here is my version:

  • 45ml of Kymar Aged Apple Brandy
  • 20ml of Green Chartreuse
  • 20ml of Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes of Riemerschmid bitters.

Stirred with ice and strained into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.



Categories Cocktails, recipes

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