I've been deeply immersed in crime fiction this week, so it seemed like a natural fit that for tonight's entry, I'd make myself a Godfather.

Not that it's all that aptly named: fiction's most famous godfather, Don Vito Corleone, favored wine and overly fussy aperitifs over this lovely blended cocktail. He probably would have looked at it as either too lowbrow (with its foundation of whisky) or too girly (with the sweetener of Amaretto, however distinctly Italian). But there is something distinctly Mafioso about it, something redolent of oak-paneled rooms and deep corruption. You might not be able to see Michael drinking it before he orders his own brother killed, but you can see some second-tier South Jersey underboss having one while he's checking the union hall for listening devices.

Despite its extremely simple makeup -- one part whisky to one part Amaretto -- the Godfather is a perennial candidate for "Stump the Bartender" games, as most bar staff know the combination but not the name. (A variant made with vodka instead of whiskey is known as the "Godmother", or the "Just Drink Plain Amaretto", as I like to call it.) And how does it go down? Smooooooooooooooooth, is how. Despite the way the Amaretto undercuts the bitter bite of the whiskey, it's not a gulping drink; it should be attacked in short swallows, just enough to let the almond flavor get on your lips but not enough to let it get on top of you: it's all liquor and can deceive you as to its potency. I used Black Bush whiskey for this one (a highly recommended little blend put out by the good people at Bushmills) and Bols Amaretto (like most flavored liqueurs, brand doesn't much matter here, and you're just as well off with old reliable Bols as you are paying five bucks a bottle more for DiSaronno's marketing expenses). This one's handy, easy to make, reliable, and just fine for sipping in a jazz club, feeling swanky at home, or planning a tri-state cigarette truck hijacking spree. Godfathers: the cocktail you can't refuse!

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Drained away...