From what my Facebook feed tells me, summer is already in the air for many of you Americans. For me, it’s hit a balmy 45 degrees F two days in a row and I’m ready to cartwheel down the sidewalk in short shorts even though the sidewalk’s still encrusted with shin-high piles of dirtsnow on either side.

While walking the dogs this morning in nothing but a heavy wool coat (wheee!) I noticed that construction has finally started on a new SAQ that’ll be located a full 1 2/3 blocks closer to us than the SAQ that’s currently closest to us. Even better, the new one is clearly too big to be a SAQ Express, which means maybe they’ll carry something other than wine and Jack Daniel’s.

(The different kinds of SAQs (government-run liquor stores) up here in Quebec are SAQ Express (bodega), SAQ Depot (warehouse) SAQ Signature and SAQ Selection (the difference being?). It’s kinda like Gap, BabyGap, etc.)

Anyway, this is good because as I’ve said lately, what reduced amount of cocktailing I’ve been doing has been confined to those liquors I already have in the cupboard. Yes, I am lazy and a miser, but if you take away one of those obstacles to my leaving the house and purchasing more al-kee-hall — i.e., the booze now lives on a shelf a whole 100 seconds closer to me! — I’ll relent.

Exhibit A: Here’s a cocktail I would’ve never seen coming nor given a second glance. Three liquors, all of which we had in the house. It’s intended to be served as a layered drink. That and the fact that it’s 1 1/2 ounces total means to me that it’s more of a shot than a cocktail, but we tried it both ways (layered and mixed) and approve either preparation. It’s on the sweet side, but not as sweet as you might think. For some reason I can’t contemplate this cocktail without also wishing I had a smoking jacket to don while partaking. (See mixed-into-a-cocktail-glass photo below to see what I mean. It’s begging for a fireplace and a pipe!)

The Savoy Hotel

1/2 ounce brandy

1/2 ounce Benedictine

1/2 ounce dark creme de cacao

Pour the three ingredients, in order, into a shot glass. Hold a spoon upside-down over the mouth of the glass as you pour (hitting the backside of the spoon, then the glass) to get the layering effect. Note that the middle and top layers are very similar in color and so you may have to stare hard to actually see whether you’ve achieved a good and proper layer between them. Alternatively, shake all three ingredients over ice in a shaker and strain into a cocktail glass. In which case, garnish with a lemon twist for a little brightness.

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