This drink is complicated and intense. Like Melody.
I’m beginning to suspect that it runs in the family, what with Sarah and her fixation with light trajectories, and Bread Smith with his calculus and chemistry. But Melody has succeeded in each of these endeavors and undertaken yet one more elaborate human invention:
In case you didn’t know, tango is the pinnacle of finesse, the height of sophistication, the epitome of that tantalizing union between indulgence and restraint, like watching Food Network while you do sprints on the treadmill. Or it seems that way to me, since the only dance I’ve mastered is the Harlem Shake:
And unlike much of modern dance, tango allows you to be intimate without worrying about who’s recording you.
I got to experience this all first hand since I was fortunate enough to bartend Melody’s most recent tango extravaganza. And because I was so impressed by both the dancing and Melody’s skill, and not at all because it’s convenient for me to match the words “melody” and “tango,” I’ve decided to devote this drink to her and to the art of elaborate dedication.
Make your concentrated vanilla cointreau by infusing 1/2 cup of cointreau with 1 split vanilla bean for 10 days.
Make port sugar cubes by combining 1/4 cup ruby port (or any kind that’s particularly fruity; we used Bogle’s petite sirah) with 2 cups of sugar, packing tightly in an oven-safe container, scoring into cubes, and baking at 200 degrees for 1 hour. For the most prominent flavor, pour a little extra port on top and let sit overnight until the alcohol evaporates.
Add 1/3 shot of vanilla cointreau to glass and flame briefly. If desired, ignite it with your PASSION!
Add 1/3 shot of elderflower liqueur and two port sugar cubes. Swirl and/or stir, dissolving until color changes.
Top with about 5 ounces of chilled champagne. For the garnish, spend an unreasonable amount of time curling an orange peel into a music note shape and hang on the glass in a way that is both appealing and inconvenient for the drinker – sort of like dancing in heels. (But who wants to tango in sneakers?)
And there you have it!
Bubbly, refreshing, just the right amount of sweetness with floral and citrus vanilla overtones, and it only took a little less than two weeks to put together…!
…With that said, for those of you who want the gist of the flavor without the time investment, here’s a much more convenient version of this recipe:
- Add 1/4 ounce of ruby (or other fruity) port, 1/4 ounce of elderflower liqueur, and 1/2 an ounce of cointreau to a glass.
- Top with champagne.
- Use the time you would’ve spent making the drink to learn actual tango.
And, as always, enjoy!