Pussyhat, Pussyhat, I Love You
Vigorously dry shake ingredients for 30 seconds, then add ice and shake for an additional 25 seconds.
Garnish with Crème de Noyaux meringue (recipe below). If you’ve no time to mess with meringue, garnish with grated nutmeg.
Saying this weekend will be busy in Washington, DC is an understatement. Between the inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday and the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, a wave of humanity is crashing into the city and emotions will be running high.
Inspired by the Women’s March, The Pussyhat Project was launched both to provide people attending the march, “a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard,” and to, “provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights.” It basically consists of volunteers knitting pink winter hats with cat ears, then giving them to their friends, coworkers or strangers who plan to attend the march. Here’s the one my friend Liz made for me:
This week’s drink is in honor of the Women’s March, The Pussyhat Project, and every woman or girl, whether transgender or cisgender, who’s ever been groped, threatened, followed, ogled, catcalled, attacked, humiliated or not promoted or hired due to her gender.
It’s based on the recipe for a Pink Squirrel, a drink invented in 1941 at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee, which consisted of Crème de Noyaux, Crème de Cacao and vanilla ice cream. Most people are familiar with Crème de Cacao, a chocolate-flavored liqueur, but Crème de Noyaux is more obscure. So much so, in fact, that I could only find one liquor store in the DC Metro Area that carried it, Ace Beverage.
A 19th century French liqueur, Crème de Noyaux is made from infusing a base spirit with the kernels from apricot, peach and/or cherry pits, then adding simple syrup. It was traditionally dyed pink with carmine, a natural dye made by grinding up cochineal insects. While many domestic Crème de Noyaux, such as Bols, are lackluster, Tempus Fugit Crème de Noyaux, which uses apricot kernels, cherry pits, bitter almonds, and other botanicals, tastes of marzipan and has a bitter finish that keeps things interesting.
While the Pink Squirrel was all sweetness and comfort, kind of like women are sometimes expected to be, my cocktail has a bite derived from tequila reposado and isn’t as sweet or heavy as the original, as I nix the ice cream and use half & half and egg whites (making it a flip) to give it creaminess and body.
Finally, I’ve made a meringue garnish using 5 egg whites and 2 ounces of Crème de Noyaux. Beat them with your stand or hand mixer until stiff peaks begin to form, then transfer them into a Ziploc bag. Cut a small hole across one corner of the bag, then pipe the meringue onto the surface of your freshly-shaken cocktails in a circular motion (like you’re making a three-dimensional poo emoji), making two pussyhat ears that will have all of your friends purring. This is the first time I’ve made meringue, and, in my experimentation to get the correct shade of pink, I over-beat the whites. The photo at left below illustrates how the whites looked when I should have stopped, and the photo at right shows how the whites go from smooth to bubbly as they cross the line into over-beaten territory.
Still, even though I over-beat my meringue, I was able to make some cute pussyhat ears with it. Perhaps you can mix up a batch for your sign-making or knitting party? Or maybe it will be a nice way to decompress after this weekend, because no matter where you live or what you believe, the coming years are going to be a bumpy ride.
Crème de Noyaux meringue
5 egg whites
2 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Noyaux
Start with a clean, dry stand mixer. Fat is the enemy of meringue, so when you separate the egg whites, ensure that no yolks make it into your mixer. Beat on a high setting until medium peaks form. This is the stage at which the whites hold a solid, but still soft, peak, with a tip that will fold over, but not onto, itself. Gently add the Crème de Noyaux and beat until stiff peaks form.