XLV, XLV, hm. How does this work again? Subtract 32, divide by 9, multiply by … uh, wait, that’s not right. Oh, oh, I see. It’s 45. 45?! Geez, whodathunk. The theme this month, chosen by the boffins at Cocktail Virgin, is tea (tisanes included). Pip pip!
With a month or so to go before Cook & Brown opens, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cocktail menu. So when I’m mixing drinks at home, I often have an eye out for drinks that might play well on the menu, both immediately upon opening and also months down the road. To reiterate, the remit at Cook & Brown will be to source our ingredients locally when possible and to cook (and mix) with a seasonal focus. So if I’m going to play with tea, it should be local tea. That in mind, I returned to a farmers market vendor I’ve mentioned here before, Farmacy Herbs. A couple of their teas had promise, but for my purposes I chose the Unwind Your Mind blend, of chamomile, catnip, and lemon balm. One purpose of a good cocktail is to relieve stress and banish the worries of the day, and I thought a relaxing tea might help.
I figured I’d add a little local honey and because they’re available right now, Meyer lemons. I shook it and topped it off with a little Q Tonic to make a refreshing twist on the ol’ Gin and Tonic. Not seasonal to dead of winter, sure, but should be lovely in the hotter months. Gotta think ahead, y’know. For the actual C&B menu, I’ll probably use the tonic from a local soda brand, Yacht Club, instead of Q. And eventually, I’d like to play with a house-made tonic.
Blackstone G & T
- 2 oz tea-infused gin
- 3/4 oz. Meyer lemon juice (will probably use regular lemon in summer)
- 3/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and water heated on the stove)
Shake over ice, strain into ice-filled chimney glass. Top with tonic water.
DISCLAIMER: I am no longer a part of Cook and Brown.
With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time to plan for festive cocktailing! Mrs. Bitters has already started prepping our locavore Thanksgiving (there’s a story behind it being locavore, but you’ll have to wait for it), so now’s the time for me to plan my approach. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet. I know I want to get some Calvados and make a batch of sage simple syrup, so that I can mix up the Apple Sage Old Fashioned I created for the autumn issue of Edible Rhody (still on the stands, so if you’re local, grab a copy–it’s the one with the cranberry bog on front).
For my second drink, I’m still working my brain on it. In Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, Malt Adovocate editor John Hansell edited a small advertising supplement on whiskeys. Included was a piece on cocktails by Gary Regan, or gaz regan as he apparently prefers to be called these days. Old gaz included four cocktails in the piece, one of which I think I’ll adapt for Thanksgiving. Here’s the gaz version:
- 1-1/2 oz. scotch
- 3/4 oz. B&B liqueur
- 1/4 oz. absinthe
- 1 lemon twist, for garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
As gaz discusses in his piece, scotch marries well with anise flavors, and we definitely found that to be the case here.
Earlier this year, I picked up a bunch of anise hyssop from a local herbalist. Back then, I used it in a variation of the New Orleans classic cocktail, the Vieux Carre. On Saturday, when we were at the market, we stopped by the Farmacy table to pick up some local honey for Thanksgiving baking. They happened to have as well some small jars of honey infused with the anise hyssop. I immediately started thinking about cocktail applications and eagerly bought a jar. I might do a variation on the Babbling Brook. Or, I might do a scotch Sazerac instead, with a syrup made from the hyssop honey. I don’t think I’ll go wrong either way.
How about you? What Thanksgiving-themed drinks are you planning to mix this year? Do you have special Thanksgiving snacks that pair well with cocktails? Sound off in the comments!
Recently, I received samples for review of House Spirits Distillery‘s Aviation Gin and Krogstad Aquavit. I’ve bought several bottles of Aviation over the last couple of years. I like it, even though it’s considered a “New Western”-style gin–meaning it de-emphasizes juniper to focus on other botanicals. Now, I like a juniper-forward gin. I always have a 1.75L bottle of Beefeater to keep on hand and threaten the cats with, and to my mind there’s no better martini than one made 3 parts Beefeater to 1 part vermouth. But I also like tripping through other styles of gin, and Aviation’s no exception.
The Krogstad, though, is new to me, and to be honest, so is aquavit as a spirits category. I can’t really judge the Krogstad except on its own merits, since I’ve never sampled its competitors. I really like it, though. It carries notes of anise and caraway right at the front, and it’s very tasty. I’m looking forward to what some might consider an unconventional use for it. I have a recipe for home-cured salmon, and where this recipe calls for Pernod, I’m planning to use Krogstad in its place. Yummy, yeah?
UPDATED with photo by Jennifer Hess
But I’m not here today to review the products or speak of charcuterie. I’m here for cocktails, and I have a doozy that I whipped up to showcase these spirits. I call this the Mah Nà Mah Nà. If you want to know why, you’ll have to buy me a drink and I’ll tell you. This quaff, though, is a botanical bomb, all the more reason to love it.
Mah Nà Mah Nà
- 1 oz. Aviation gin
- 3/4 oz. Krogstad aquavit
- 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse
- lemon twist, for garnish
Shake it over ice like Animal, strain it into Miss Piggy’s slipper, and enjoy.
Hey, folks. My fall 2009 column for Edible Rhody magazine is now online. As a reminder …
The focus of the column is on using seasonal, local ingredients in cocktails. Each column will have two recipes–one that I mix and one from a local bartender. Trust me, my focus will always be on classical techniques and interesting spirits.
So, now you can see whether I made good on that promise. First, though, the stunning cover:
Who knew there were cranberry bogs in Rhode Island? I didn’t! Now, the column (if you want to read the text without squinting, click here):
Photo for the article is by local photographer Chip Riegel, and boy did I have fun mixing drinks for a photoshoot at 9am.
Apple Sage Old-Fashioned
For this drink, I was inspired by traditional Thanksgiving flavors, particularly apple and sage stuffing.
- 2 ounces Calvados apple brandy
- 1/2 ounce sage simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters (when I made this at home, I used Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters, which were superb in this, but aren’t for sale in Rhody as far as I know)
- Apple slice, for garnish
Build in an old-fashioned glass over ice. Add garnish.
Sage Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. When sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Add sage leaves and stir. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a jar (discard sage leaves) and refrigerate. Will keep for one month.
photograph by the ever-loyal Jennifer Hess
Pippin’s Pear of Aces
This drink is by Providence bartender Bonnie Siharath. At the time of writing, she was at Chinese Laundry, but that restaurant closed just a week before this issue was released. I have not yet followed up to see where she’s landed. The food at Chinese Laundry was inspired by the tastes of East Asia, and this drink follows that theme.
- 1/2 fresh pear
- 1/2 stick of cinnamon
- 1 ounce Wokka Sake vodka
- 1 ounce Gray Goose pear vodka
- 1 ounce Asian pear nectar
- 1/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- pear slice, for garnish
Gently muddle pear and cinnamon in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodkas, nectar, and lime juice. Shake well and strain through a tea strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
Tonight at Thursday Drink Night, in the Mixo chat room, we’re hosting Allison Evanow, founder of Square One, and bartender H. Joseph Ehrmann, to discuss Botanical, the latest offering from Square One.
Here’s a great recipe that uses this spirit.
- 3/4 oz. Square One Botanical
- 3/4 oz. Cointreau
- 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes absinthe or Herbsaint
- stemless cherry, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Add garnish.
(Disclaimer: Square One sent me a sample bottle of Botanical.)
Hey! It’s another edition of Mixology Monday, and having sat out August’s entry on vodka cocktails, I decided to get back in the game this month with September’s theme, Dizzy Dairy. Led by group manager Chris Amirault (who this very evening is leading a cocktail class at Providence’s La Laiterie–go Chris!), the eGullet team chose a dairy theme, interpreted broadly as anything you’d find in the dairy section of your local supermarket–milk, cream, eggs, soy milk, cheese, whey, curds, whatever.
Now, I’ve had a bottle of Kahlua Coffee Cream sitting around for a few weeks now–a sample bottle that I received for review purposes. Kahlua Coffee Cream is a limited-edition product that will soon be released for the holidays. The bottle describes it as Kahlua’s coffee liqueur blended with cream. I could have simply built a cocktail on that cream component, but I decided that would be cheating and planned to add my own dairy-case ingredient. More on that in a bit.
So starting with the Kahlua Coffee Cream, I figured I’d be going for a dessert drink. I’m sure that wasn’t necessary, but one thing I’ve never done around here is blog about dessert cocktails. The BarSmarts guys are pretty strong in advocating that bartenders have well-made dessert beverages to serve to restaurant patrons, and who’m I to argue with those gentlemen?
My final inspiration here was Papa Clarke’s article in this weekend’s Chronicle about chocolate in cocktails. The very point of his piece runs contrary to what I’m doing, I’m afraid. His object was to show that chocolate need not be ghettoized as a sweet ingredient, and of course that’s just where I’ve relegated it. Chocolate in cocktails is more new territory for me, and so I’d rather blend for sweet than savory on my first go-around.
So it goes.
A couple of ingredient notes. I decided to make this drink a flip, in part to sort of approximate the flavors of ice cream, and in part because I don’t make many flips. So of course my other dairy-case component is a whole egg. Also, I pulled this together very much at the last minute today. I wasn’t even sure what I was building until I started building it. So while the Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters might have been a logical choice for this drink, I still haven’t picked up a bottle.
Micky Ficky Flip
- 2 oz. amber rum (I used Mount Gay Eclipse)
- 1 oz. Kahlua Coffee Cream
- 1 tsp. cinnamon syrup
- 2 dashes whiskey barrel bitters
- 1 tsp. cocoa powder
- 1 whole egg
- ground red chipotle, for rimming the glass
Add rum, Kahlua Coffee Cream, cinnamon syrup, bitters, cocoa powder, and egg to shaker. Dry-shake without ice to blend all ingredients. Add ice to shaker and shake again. Coat half the rim of a cocktail glass with chipotle. Strain cocktail into glass.
- 1 stick canela Mexican cinnamon
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water