So my friend Laura Bergerol and I have launched a book club for members of the Press Club of New Orleans. Every month, we meet at the American Sector and mull over a book that speaks to us as photographers and journalists.
And every month, it seems, I'll be drinking a Pink Squirrel to fuel my end of the conversation.
Like other retro drinks on the American Sector list, the Pink Squirrel has its origins in the World War II era. The legend is that it was created at Bryant's in Milwaukee, which became a cocktail lounge around 1938.
If you like ordering drinks with products you wouldn't stock at home, then the Pink Squirrel is for you. It calls for equal parts chocolate liqueur and Crème de Noyaux, which is becoming increasingly harder to find.
Crème de Noyaux is traditionally made from stone fruits - brandy-steeped pits from peaches, apricots and cherries, which give the liqueur a bitter almond taste.
You won't find many recipes that call for it (the rare, pre-Prohibition Old Etonian comes to mind) and besides, you get a very similar (some say richer) flavor from amaretto. It's no surprise that some brands that used to make Crème de Noyaux now offer amaretto instead.
What amaretto doesn't give you, though, is the lipstick-red tint that's essential to the Pink Squirrel. Bols, one of the remaining big brands to bottle Crème de Noyaux, stays true to this coloring.
Together with the chocolate liqueur and a long splash of heavy cream, the Pink Squirrel comes out frothy and blush-colored, in a syrup-striped glass.
Sweet? You bet. It's an almond-cherry-chocolate shake, really, with a zip of alcohol; a monthly indulgence that I've come to associate with friends and a good book.
American Sector at the National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine Street, 528.1940.
ThePress Club of New Orleans' Book Club will meet Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at the American Sector. November's title is "Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Historic Churches and Sanctuaries" by Deborah Burst.
Check out Laura Bergerol's gorgeous work here.
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