When I first created this I called it “A la recherche-cocktail” but “Proustian” seemed simpler somehow. Although it isn’t Proust himself that drinks linden blossom tea and eats madeleines in that well-known scene; it’s the narrator(who may or may not be called Marcel).
Linden blossom tea and Madeleines are just about what most people know of the suit(people often think that it starts with that scene; it doesn’t) and that it is long. No one talks about how funny he is. Or how it will change your life.
So when creating this cocktail I was always going to include linden blossom; I like floral cocktails in general, linden blossom leaves are readily available at health food shops or a very well-stocked tea shop( the french do love their “tisane”). I was once served a shortbread with a cocktail at The Dorchester in London and the concept has stayed with me; I decided to do the same here but with madeleines instead. I make my own usually, the small kind, but that’s not necessary. If you can buy nice small ones at the bakers then go for it(on this occasion I asked someone else to buy some on the way and ended up with the big kind; I should have been more specific. They taste just as nice but don’t photograph as well).
As base spirits I used a combination of gin(the french are obsessed with all things english and there are several references to the infamous “Jockey club” in the suit) and calvados(thinking about Normandy, the french seaside and all that). The madeleines contain lemon zest but I did add a dash or two of orange bitters(Reagan’s No.6).
Linden blossom syrup;
Make a strong brew with 2,5 dl of water and a 3 tablespoons of leaves. Follow instruction on packaging when it comes to temperature but don’t worry if you let it steep for 10 minutes; unlike ordinary black tea this won’t become to bitter. Take out the linden blossom leaves and bring the brew to the boil and then add 3 dl of caster sugar and let it simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Shouldn’t take more then a minute or so. Let cool before pouring into a clean bottle. Will last in the fridge about 2 weeks.
There are other ways to go about making this syrup; if you find linden blossom tea in bags then just bring equal amounts of water and sugar to the boil and let it simmer, with the bags mixed in, for around 10 minutes( around 1 bag per 1,5 dl water). Then it’s easy to pick the bags out. Linden blossom does’t have the strongest taste so they might need to stew the whole time(with black tea you only need a few minutes and this should never be attempted with green tea as high temperatures will release the bitterness).
Proustian-cocktail; yields 1 drink
3,5 cl London Dry gin
1,5, cl Calvados
1,5 cl linden blossom syrup
1 dash orange bitters
2 small madeleines
- Stir ingredients in an ice filled stirring glass until well chilled.
- Pour into the glass.
- Serve with the little cakes in the side. Enjoy responsibly.
This is the only cocktail I’ve only ever come across that makes use of linden blossom(and I’ve looked I tell you!). Which is a shame; it’s got a nice green herbaceousness to it that I imagine would work well in a number a combinations, for shame I haven’t really explored it much either. I have made like a gin fizz with this syrup instead of plain sugar and that was nice but no more then that. Will make a note to experiment and hope that I don’t read anything truly spectacular in the next few months and get distracted.
In regards to Proust I’ve tried to convince everyone I know (and many people I have never met) to read him already and I’ve vowed not to be bully this year, so I won’t go on again.(Do give the suit a chance. If you need a soft start then begin with “Let Proust change your life” by Alain de Botton).