Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Would Yeats Drink?

Last night, I was enjoying myself at The Hideout, a new cocktail den in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, when I was introduced to a man in the liquor trade who, by way of greeting, reached into his pocket and pulled out a small white bottle of something called Coole Swan.

This, it turned out, is a new dairy liqueur out of Ireland; it was launched in the U.S. at the start of this year. It is made from "Fresh double cream from Ireland's richest dairylands, Single Malt Irish Whiskey tempered with soft charcoal-filtered spirit and...velvety-smooth chocolate, Madagascan vanilla and rich, dark cocoa from Cote d'Ivoire." Land! I will never cease to marvel to what ends mankind will go to create a new way to liquor up.

Now, I'm not a dairy liqueur man. I'm just not. But I appreciate that the Coole Swan people are trying to give a good name to what has had a bad name for so long, due to Baileys Irish Cream. And I'll admit that the stuff, for what it is, is good. It's got real depth, and after the creamy, chocolatey stuff has glided down your throat, that single malt is waiting for you in the center of the brew, leaving a nice tingly burn at the back of your throat. I can see myself in the future enjoying some winter cocktails of which this is a component.

The name is also endearing, if a bit much. It's a spin on Irish poet William Butler Yeats' famous poem, "The Wild Swans at Coole," which I recall studying and failing to understand in college. So one can feel grandly literary while tippling.

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