I’m couchsurfing again, this time in Rouen, France, where I’m staying in the fantastically decorated home of Jeremy and Christelle. Their house is full of interesting items that lead to the constant question, “Where did you find this?”
I really enjoy meeting and staying with locals using couchsurfing.com. The experiences are always so much more engaging (and less transactional) than services like airbnb where money is the key motivator. Couchsurfing nearly always gives you a memorable experience as your trip is as much about the people you meet, as the place you’ve visited.
As we sit around their kitchen table chatting, Jeremy introduces me to Liqueur 44, a local liqueur recipe that has been a social lubricant enjoyed by the French for years. It’s strong, sweet, and like so many things in their home, it’s also interesting to just look at.
I took a tentative sip of the drink, knowing its potential to knock my head off, such is its alcoholic strength. Across the table, Christelle smiled as I reacted to the feeling of the drink as it melted into me.
Jeremy explained the simple recipe, and at some point, I will make it, if only to break it out and serve it to people so I can watch their reaction as they take their first sip. It’s easy enough to make, but you need to leave it for several weeks to allow all the flavors to come out and find one another.
Why not try making it yourself? Here’s what you’ll need…
1 litre of Calvados, which is an apple brandy from Normandy, France. (If you can’t get that then maybe some other kind of apple brandy would do?)
1 large organic orange (organic to avoid the chemicals)
44 grams of sugar
44 coffee beans
Pierce the coffee beans and nutmeg into the orange, then mix all of the ingredients together in a large jar. Store the jar in a cool dark place for 44 days, or longer. At an appropriate time take it out and serve it to people while making up your own tale about the relevance of the number 44. I couldn’t find any background information about that, so I think the more unbelievable your tale is, the better the drink will be.
Good luck, and if you do make it, please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.