A Boozy Case of Syllabub

Despite my general success in the kitchen, I've had my fair share of epic fails. Usually, I did something wrong. Then again, I could also look at it as the kitchen gods keeping me on my toes and (maybe) curb my domestic ego.

But when it's bad, it's really bad, and I will be the first to call it and dump my sorry efforts into the trash or down the sink. I may be out of joint at first, but always afterwards I'll laugh at myself and much of the time my family laughs along with me.

In fact, I remember plenty of times when that has happened. And they make some of the best memories.

At that time, I was a recent Nigella Lawson convert. She just had style and a certain panache. I couldn't get enough of her smokey-eyed glimpses into the camera and her slightly husky voice. She made elegant cooking seem easy, and it didn't matter that most of her dishes weren't quite right for me. Nigella just made me want to roast Cornish hens and dress up couscous with pomegranate seeds. For Christmas. (Yeah, I really did.)

But in this particular instance, far removed from any holiday, I tried an amaretto syllabub. Understated elegance and perfect for an at-home with friends, yes?

Now, one thing I've noticed is that Nigella likes her booze. The way she waxed poetic over amaretto had me sold, even if I didn't usually use it in my desserts. Besides, liqueurs are just the lightweight cousins of the harder stuff, right?

I had to double the recipe to cover my family and guest. I've never made it before but I've certainly whipped cream...

Fancy glass. Crumbled almond cookies. Whipped cream and amaretto. More cookie crumbs. Beautiful. I was so proud.

Teens scurried off with desserts while adults retired to the living room. We dug into our little dishes.

One bite. Then two. I thought a dragon took up residence in my stomach and breathed fire up my throat.

Hmm. Spoon number three. My belly churned. If I couldn't eat this, then surely no one else could.

My friends were too kind and made valiant efforts, but they were just poking at their desserts too. I whisked the nearly full dishes away. Don't eat the syllabub, I yelled down the stairs. Unfortunately, the older, having already downed the entirety, was on his bed nursing a very strong bout of nausea.

How could I have made such a hair-brained mistake? What kind of mom gets their kid drunk on syllabub?

Poor thing.

Frankly, I didn't know anything about liqueurs or how boozy they actually could be. It was a simple case of if the recipe called for it...

So, if you're unaccustomed with cooking with liqueur, always start on conservative side of the suggested measure, and especially proceed with caution if you're doubling the recipe. And maybe think twice before serving a boozy dessert to kids.

In the end, I found out that almond extract works much better for this particular amaretto novice.


  1. Hahahaha.
    Regina, bravo to you for having a great sense of humor and for sharing your kitchen fails, As for Nigella Lawson—can you say hot mess. Glad to know, I am not the only person who believed liqueurs were milder than the hard stuff. LOL.

    To be honest your kitchen fails are few. I have been on the receiving end of many of your dishes and deserts and the majority of them are always primo.

    Until next time, stay humble and keep spilling the tea.

    Cheers. Linda

    1. How lovely to have an appreciative audience in the kitchen and in the blogosphere! You're a game one, for sure!


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