When it comes to cocktails, nothing says “decadence” more than the Widow’s Kiss. It is sweet, and herbal, and incredibly boozy. If you make your drinks big, beware! It’s a perfect cocktail for kicking back by a fire on a cold autumn night and sipping slowly.
The consensus is that this drink was invented by George Kappeler for his 1895 book Modern American Drinks. At least, that seems to be the first mention of it. While it was one of many drinks that largely disappeared from the cocktail landscape during Prohibition, cocktail historians like Ted Haigh have helped bring it back to people’s attention. It’s a good thing, too, because this combination of apple brandy and herbal liqueurs really hits the spot.
If you don’t have calvados, you can use applejack as a simpler, less expensive substitute. They’re not quite the same, but they’re close enough that it’ll work. My recommendation, though, is to get a decent bottle of the French apple brandy. It’s also excellent for drinking neat!
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.