Several years ago Dale DeGroff was commissioned by Courvoisier to create a new cocktail featuring their Millennium cognac bottling, which he then called the Millennium Cocktail. He later figured he needed to change the name, as he was very happy with the way the cocktail turned out and he’d hate to see it relegated to the trash heap of millennial merchandise. Later on, he discovered that an out-of-print book called The Roving Bartender, written by Bill Kelly in 1946, had a cocktail called the East India Cocktail that contained the same basic ingredients. Dale’s version has some subtle but important differences that make for a wonderful flavor, and as far as I can tell, he’s still calling it the Millennium (he was last night, at least). It was lovely.
The Millennium Cocktail
Created by Dale DeGroff
1-1/2 ounces Cognac
1-1/2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange curaçao (I used Cointreau)
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Flamed orange twist, for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Shake all the ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a
chilled cocktail glass.
To flame the orange peel, cut a thin, oval slice from the peel of a thick-skinned orange, about 1-1/2 inches by 3/4 inch long. Hold a lit match in one hand, and carefully pick up the peel in the other, “as if holding an eggshell.” Don’t squeeze the peel prematurely. Hold the peel by the side, between thumb and forefinger, skin side facing down, about four inches above the drink. Hold the match between the drink and the peel, closer to the peel. Snap the peel sharply, propelling the orange oil through the lit match and onto the surface of the drink. Be sure to hold the twist far enough from the drink to avoid getting a smoky film on the glass.
This takes a bit of practice. Once you go through a few oranges’ worth, though, you could be on your way to being almost as much of a pro as Pepe and Dale. (Well, let’s not aspire to cocktail godhood just yet, but you can definitely get the hang of it with practice.)