Alexander's Brandy

One day last week the recipe called for Metaxa, a Greek brandy. (Yes, I know that Alexander was officially Macedonian, not Greek, and never the twain shall get along.) I couldn't find it on my last liquor buying spree, but I located it today, in a dusty tall tapered bottle. I've never been a big brandy drinker, so buying it was a big step.

Metaxa, according to wikipedia, is another Colonel Sanders concoction, brandy blended with Muscat wine and various secret herbs and spices and aged in oak for various lengths of time. I'm sure the bottle I bought came from the accelerated aging cask.

The recipe called for Metaxa, orange juice, lime juice, and limoncello. I wasn't bowled over. It tasted like orange juice with a kick. Might not be bad with or for breakfast, but nevertheless not a good before-dinner quaff.

So I got to thinking, I bet I could make a sidecar with this stuff. My calendar hasn't gotten to sidecars yet (martinis are upcoming), but I knew the basics. I read up on sidecars, and found out that the proportions of brandy to cointreau (which I don't have on hand; I used Grand Marinier) range from a sweet sidecar (equal parts brandy, orange stuff, and lemon juice) to a really dry one (8 to 2 to 1).

I'd already had one drink made with this stuff and was feeling the effects. I didn't want 8 more parts of it in the middle of the afternoon or I'd be ready for bed. So I used roughly a 4 to 2 to 1 mix. I didn't want to fool with juicing a lemon just for this, so I used a splash of limoncello.

This time you could taste the brandy, which is the whole point. It wasn't bad. I got a bit of an anise flavor from somewhere. Metaxa, the parent company, also makes ouzo (which I loathe; I hope this calendar doesn't have any ouzo recipes), so maybe they cut costs and toss a common secret ingredient in both. Rose leaves are said to be added to the Metaxa brew, so maybe I was tasting those.

Last, I went looking for other Metaxa recipes, and found one called "Crispy Crunch": equal parts Metaxa, Frangelico, Kahlua, and Creme de Cacao. I liked this best; Frangelico's always been one of my favorites anyway. You're supposed to pour it into shooters, but I'm sipping it. A frat guy drink, but it's good, as long as you're not diabetic. I've always considered myself a frat boy at heart.