Inspiration can strike at any moment, and in the most unusual ways, if you let it. Dutch puzzle designer Wil Strijbos created his wonderful Angel Box based on an extraordinary stroll he took one day while visiting Helsinki. I was inspired as well to create something unusual and interesting to toast this richly romantic box. I settled on a recipe from the genius Boston bartenders Fred Yarm which is featured in his under-the-radar cocktail book, Drunk and Told (his follow up to Drink and Tell). The drink is a sophisticated modern take on the classic Chrysanthemum cocktail, which substitutes dry madeira for the dry vermouth and balances the Benedictine with a bit of cherry liqueur. He named it after the 1977 hit single from Alan O’Day, but only because he didn’t know about the Angel Box at the time. This drink is a beauty, and warms to you if you appreciate it and recognize it when you see it. Here’s to life’s unexpected moments of inspiration. Cheers!


Undercover Angel by Fred Yarm

2 oz Sercial Madeira (I used Bual, which is sweet and nothing like dry Sercial, and likely changes the drink completely, but I still found it delicious here)

¾ oz Benedictine

¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino

1 dash St George Absinthe (I used Vieux Pontarlier)


For more about the heavenly Angel Box see:

Boxes and Booze: Touched by an Angel