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Scotch to Start, Bacon for Dessert


photograpy by Frankie Frankeny

I’m a big fan of liqueurs, and an even bigger fan of food photographer Frankie Frankeny, so when she invited me to an “Amber Tasting Lab” at her SoMa studio last Monday, I was there—along with a few dozen of the city’s best bartenders and pastry chefs. They were making samples of cocktails and desserts they’ve created using Macallan Amber: a liqueur made from Macallan single malt scotch, flavored with pecan and maple.

If you’re thinking yum, hold that thought. The smooth scotch liqueur melds particularly well with other ingredients—like pear nectar (in a drink created by Eric Schreiber of Chaya), cayenne pepper (in a brilliant creation called “Notte Piccante” from Perbacco bartender Daniel Chase), and especially in an after-dinner drink they serve at Jardinière called the “Maple Nut Kiss,” an alluring combo of hazelnut, nutmeg and orange. The recipe follows.


Amber is a particularly food-friendly liqueur as well, as pastry chefs like Elizabeth Falkner and Kimmel Kingston proved with a range of gut-busting desserts. The participants voted on their favorite, and the clear winner was the Fifth Floor’s “Bacon-Scented Brioche Bread Pudding” (shown here), a heady mix of salty, sweet and savory, topped off with pistachio and crème fraiche, that knocked my socks off. Folks, do not try this at home. You’ll have much better luck with the drink below

Maple Nut Kiss

1 1/4 ounces Macallan Amber
3 ounces hazelnut milk (available at Whole Foods)
splash of cream (optional, for extra richness)
fresh whole nutmeg
fresh orange for zesting

Either foam the hazelnut milk (and cream, if using) with an espresso machine, or warm it on the stovetop or microwave until hot but not boiling. Add MacCallan Amber and stir. Pour into a small wine glass or champagne flute. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and a bit of orange zest.