Mr. Bingley’s Cocktail, or…You are what you drink.
By Linda Beutler
Now anyone who knows me well will tell you my unrepentantly lust-filled forays into Jane Austen Fan Fiction are in some part fueled by the occasional infusion of quantities of champagne and sparkling wine from countries other than France. (It has recently been posited that three glasses a day prevent Alzheimer’s disease—I am taking no chances this isn’t true.) They will further report I have researched champagne cocktails with a passion usually reserved for collectors of Star Wars paraphernalia or bacon recipes. But here we will not dwell upon the Hugo, the French 75, the Epiphany, or the Raymond Massey. No, let us consider instead the cocktail most aptly seen in the hands of the leaseholder of Netherfield Park, “Seeing Angels”.
In a cocktail shaker ½ full of ice add:
• 1 oz. of London Gin, preferably Boodles or any brand with a silly name.
• 1 oz. of ginger syrup, because, as stated in the title, Mr. Bingley is what he drinks.
• Crush and macerate in a mortar 4 fresh ripe pitted dark sweet cherries (preferably Bing* cherries, as if it needs saying); add to the cocktail shaker.
• Juice of one half of a lemon (No one appears to want a Bingley that is too sweet, if comments at the Meryton Literary Society’s A Happy Assembly are any indication.)
Shake vigourously and strain into a capacious champagne flute (6 ounces at least, 8 ounces is best). I would be neglectful not to mention glassware for serving champagne are supposed to resemble Marie Antoinette’s breasts. Now, whether using a flute or a saucer, one must think her endowments oddly shaped, to say the least. During the Regency era in England, both styles of glassware were used for champagne, so make of that what you will.
Fill the flute with champagne to nearly the rim, and garnish with a pitted and partly split dark cherry.
Once you’ve downed a couple of these, you will be “Seeing Angels” everywhere!
*Bing cherries were developed about half a mile from Linda Beutler’s home, at the site of the old Lewelling Orchards of Milwaukie, Oregon, in around 1875. In England, dark sweet cherries were grown by order of King Henry VIII, who tasted them in Flanders.