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Melkor's Ghost at the Vault at Pfaff's

By now, all that holiday reveling has undoubtedly led to mulled wine and eggnog fatigue. At the Vault at Pfaff's, Greenwich Village's sexy, subterranean, circa-1850s watering hole, a festive libation of another variety awaits in the form of Melkor's Ghost.When glancing over the ingredients of this snowy beauty -- white Armagnac, crème de cocoa, crème de banana, heavy cream -- there is the fear it might be cloying, too syrupy to savor after gorging on, say, homemade iced butter cookies. Fret not: thanks to the Armagnac's elegant backbone, it's soft and balanced, with subtle velvety notes of chocolate and banana in each sip.

"A lot of pre-Prohibition drinks used liqueurs ever so slightly. It works," assures Frank Caiafa, the Vault at Pfaff's beverage director, who created Melkor's Ghost as a riff on the classic White Russian-esque Banshee. The floral Armagnac gives the cocktail a smooth heft and unearths an appealing, "undefined taste," he points out. "If you make this with vodka, it's just not the same."

When hanging the last of the ornaments on the tree, with Bing Crosby crooning in the background, this is the gluttonous concoction you want in hand.

Melkor's Ghost
1 oz. Delord Armagnac Blanche
1 oz. Marie Brizard White Crème de Cocoa
1 oz. Marie Brizard Crème de Banana
1 oz. heavy cream

Add all ingredients to ice-filled mixing glass. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Using a microplane, top with finely shaved, dark chocolate curls for garnish.

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