Mortal Sins

Today I drove up to Indianapolis to find a liquor supermart that I'd seen advertised in The Star. I keyed the address into my Garmin, and the nice electronic lady took me right to it (not that it was hard to find otherwise).

Boy, is Kahn's some place. Not as large as the party store in Louisville that I've gone to, but all liquor, save for a few boxes of pretzels and crackers.

I found my Mandarine Napoleon, my Littlet blanc (which, when the sales guy repeated it, I realized I'd been mispronouncing like a Midwestern rube), kirschwasser, pear brandy, and most important, the elusive Parfait Amour. That was the first thing I saw on the shelf, just about. And in such a large bottle. I have enough purple vanilla tasting stuff to last me for years. I didn't find kummel, which the sales guy hadn't heard of, or Maraschino liqueur; the less competent sales guy thought I meant a bottle of cherries.

When I got home I tried shots of everything but the Lillet (wasn't cold yet) to see what I'd been missing all these years. The Parfait Amour (I bought the Marie Brizard brand) is supposedly made from Spanish oranges, but I just taste vanilla. If I hadn't read 'oranges' on the bottle I never would have guessed. And what's the purple color all about?

The Mandarine Napoleon (minus the accent here) packs a punch. It's the most potent orange liqueur I've drunk, I think (maybe Campari is stronger if you put it in the same category). I coughed a time or time two sipping it. I like it thought (at $32 or more a bottle, I should).

The two brandies were very different. The pear brandy is a German brand, from the 'Black Forest'. It seemed lightweight on my tongue, not very substantial, though I could taste the pear. A good mixer or to use in baking, but not something I'd sip as an after-dinner drink.

The cherry brandy is a French brand and seemed to fill my mouth with flavor more than the pear, I could feel it on my palate. It had more body and would make a better after-dinner drink with coffee. Spike some maraschino cherry juice with it, and who needs the liqueur?

And how much did I spend? Well, if the damn bag of seasoned pretzels hadn't been so expensive... Rosa, who went along for the ride, didn't like them that much actually. Five bottles of liquor, well, over $100, under $200. I'm thinking of all those children in China who can't find Parfait Amour. The amount I spent might be a mortal sin, even for Catholics, let alone us Episcopalians. But then I went to Whole Foods and bought healthy stuff to eat, so now I feel better.