Yes, this cocktail has an odd name. No, I do not know the widow for whom the drink is named. No one does. The Widow's Kiss first appeared in a 1895 book from George Kappeler, an esteemed New York City bartender. Many thanks to the Alley Cat Lounge in Savannah for introducing me to this liquid smooch.
1.5 ounces apple brandy or applejack
.75 ounces yellow Chartreuse
.75 ounces Benedictine DOM
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the solemn grace of a famous widow such as Jackie Kennedy, and strain into a chilled glass. Luxardo cherry garnish optional.
The Widow's Kiss is a well balanced mix of power and sweetness. Using apple brandy instead of applejack (Laird's makes both, and you can compare apples to apples) gives you a stronger apple flavor. I recommend using yellow Chartreuse, a component of cocktails such as the Alaska and the Cloister, because it's less likely to overwhelm the Widow's Kiss. If you want to use green Chartreuse, a part of cocktails such as the Last Word or the Bijou, use no more than .5 ounces because it's higher proof. There is no real substitute for the Benedictine DOM, a part of my original Whiskey Queen.
Are you curious about the Widow's Kiss? Curiosity may kill the proverbial cat, but the Widow's Kiss won't make someone a widow or widower. She loved once, and your liver will love her.