Archive for the Cocktails Category

Making Spirits Bright: Tales of the Toddy

Posted in Cocktails, Eat, Imbibe, Recipe, Tastings with tags , , , , , , , , on 11 December, 2009 by la fille

Last night I was lucky enough to attend Tales of the Toddy at the W on Poydras Street, and darned if the event didn’t warm my cockles just a little.

For y’all who don’t know, Tales of the Toddy (put on by Tales of the Cocktail and the New Orleans Culinary and Cocktail Preservation Society) was a giant cocktail party designed to ring in the holiday season and give local bartenders a venue to show off their winter-suitable creations. Proceeds also went to benefit the New Orleans Musician’s Assistance Foundation, which is, of course, a good thing.

Here are the bartenders who were there:

Arnaud’s French 75 • Chris Hannah

Carousel Bar • Marvin Allen

Coquette • Cole Newton

Crescent City School of Bartending •  Stahili Glover

Cure • Rhiannon Enlil

Cure • Neal Bodenheimer

Domenica • Michael Glassberg

Dos Jefes • Talia Neal

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse • Tiffany Soles

Ritz Carlton • Daniel Victory

Whiskey Blue • Lisa Nahay

Pernod Ricard USA • Chris Patino

Iris Restaurant • Sharon Floyd

And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails author • Wayne Curtis

And the chefs:

a Mano • Chefs Joshua Smith and Adolfo Garcia

Arnaud’s • Chef Tommy Di Giovanni

Boucherie • Chef Nathanial Zimet

Creole Creamery • Chef Bryan Gilmore

Cure • Chef Jason McCullar

Jackson Restaurant • Chef John Bolderson

La Cote Brassierie • Chef Chuck Subra

Pelican Club • Chef Richard Hughes

Squeal Barbeque • Brendan, Patrick and Eugene “Gene” Young

Tomatillo’s • Alaina Stokke

ZOE • Chef Chris Brown

Royal House Oyster Bar

Now,  I will admit that I didn’t take notes last night, so unfortunately I won’t be able to provide detailed descriptions of most of the drinks. I was on a lady-date with my friend Tattoo, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, and figured quality time trumped bloggy time. We did have a blast, if that makes up for my lack of studiousness.

Most of the cocktail sponsors were blatantly obvious– there were a LOT of drinks made with Absolut vodka, Hendrick’s gin, and Sazerac rye. Now, I don’t consider myself a vodka fan (although I will admit to a Salty Dog or two if I’m at a dive bar and the weather is warm) but both of my favorite cocktails last night turned out to be vodka-based.

The big surprise of the evening was The Stubborn Mule by Marvin Allen of the Carousel Bar consisting of Absolut vanilla, Absolut 100, Fentiman’s ginger beer, and lime. Now this sounds pretty tasty and refreshing, so Tattoo and I bellied up and got one, but when he handed us our cups, the drinks were warm. We looked at each other, first with surprise, then with incredulity, because the prospect of warm vodka appealed to neither of us. Never ones to back down from a cocktail, though, we took our first hesitant sips, and lo, it was good. Mostly lime at the front, with some mild ginger coming out. After eating taking a bite of spicy food, however, the vanilla really shone through, and we each contemplated getting another round.

We couldn’t do that, though– there was too much else to drink! Warm cocktails with tea and Nocello (Lisa Nahay of Whiskey Blue‘s Mad Hatter’s Toddy), cold ones with rye, pear liqueur, Averna, and celery bitters (Neal Bodenheimer of Cure’s Axis of Everything), and punches with gin and absinthe (Rhiannon Enlil of Cure).

Stahili Glover’s Grey Pear proved to be the hands-down favorite of several people I spoke with, and I am inclined to agree. It straddled the line between refreshing and comforting, so it’d be just as good on a hot afternoon in July as it was on a cold December evening. Fruity and unctuous, but not cloying, I’m still fantasizing about it this morning.

Mr. Glover is from the Crescent City School of Bartending and was gracious enough to share his recipe, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post.

Of course, if the planners of the event had only provided booze, they would have ended up with a lot of sloppy people in sparkly clothes on their hands, so they rounded up representatives of some of the city’s best restaurants to provide some sustenance. Duck empanadas from Jason McCullar at Cure and some truly delish pulled pork and corn grits from Squeal Barbeque stood out in particular as good comfort food on a chilly night. Tattoo and I finished things off with pear sorbet and ginger ice cream from Chef Bryan Gilmore of Creole Creamery.

After having our fill of goodies, we found ourselves considerably jollier than when we arrived, and capped off the night with a walk through the winter wonderland that is Fulton Street in December.

Not enough alcohol had been imbibed that we tried to catch the fake snow on our tongues, but I’ll admit the thought did cross my mind. (photo via)

Grey Pear

by Stahili Glover

INGREDIENTS

1 oz. Grey Goose La Poire vodka

1 tsp. honey

2 dashes vanilla extract

3 oz. peach nectar

pear slice for garnish

RECIPE

1. Mix vodka and honey in a mixing glass with one pear slice, add 2 dashes vanilla extract, a little ice, and shake for 30 seconds.

2. Pour into a large rocks or collins glass, top with 3 oz. peach nectar, and garnish with a pear slice.

Beautiful and delicious!

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A Little More Ojen

Posted in Cocktails, Imbibe, Photos with tags on 13 July, 2009 by la fille

3682522049_2d39814312This is an older version of an Ojen bottle, found in a Katrina-ravaged building. Pretty lovely, I must say. For a photo of the newest/last ever bottle in which Ojen was packaged  and some more info on the drink itself, here’s my original post on the subject.

A Brief History of Ojen

(photo by Brother O’Mara)

Cocktail Recipe: Tequila-Cucumber Highball

Posted in Cocktails, Imbibe, Photos, Recipe with tags , , , on 18 June, 2009 by la fille

june09-03

(photo by lafille)

While it’s fun fun fun to try all kinds of different cocktails at bars, when it comes to mixing at home, I tend not to vary a whole lot. This spring and summer, for example, has been mainly Dark and Stormys, Mint Juleps, and Margaritas.

Now I’ve got another refreshing libation to add to my summertime repertoire.

Thanks to Rhiannon at Cure, I’ve been introduced to the deliciosity of cucumber cocktails and now I can’t stop making my version of her version of Dale DeGroff’s Anejo Highball. DeGroff’s original didn’t contain cucumber, but Rhiannon adapted it to include some, and the thing I came up with in the kitchen today, while not exactly what she made me, is utterly delightful. If it didn’t contain a heady dose of Cuervo, I’d be drinking it constantly. As it is, I’ll try to limit it to cocktail hour.

Plus our garden is overrun with cucumbers and I’m delighted to find something to do with all of them!

Tequila-Cucumber Highball à lafille

2-3 inch hunk of cucumber, chopped
Juice from ½ a lime
½ oz. simple syrup
1 ½ oz. tequila
1 oz. soda water

Muddle cucumber, lime juice, and simple syrup in glass. Pack with ice, top with tequila and soda. Drink on the front porch.

Birthday Treats

Posted in Beer, Cocktails, Eat, Imbibe, Photos, Recipe, Sweets with tags , , , , , on 29 May, 2009 by la fille

Yesterday Brother O’Mara had a birthday, and for said birthday, I decided to jump on the bandwagon (albeit rather late) and make some cupcakes. They’ve been super-trendy for ages, but until now I’d only eaten and not baked them. I decided on a couple recipes from my favorite magazine, Imbibe: Chocolate Stout (I used Young’s) and Coconut Tequila, both of which turned out so incredibly well that we had to take them all to work this morning so we wouldn’t eat only cupcakes all weekend.

Recipes below the photos.

may09-01

Chocolate, beer, sugar, and cream cheese. Yes please.

may09-05

Though they were already cool by the time they hit the windowsill, it’s still pretty idyllic, no?

may09-03

This is the presentation to which Brother O’Mara came home.

MAKE THEM FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES TODAY!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 24

INGREDIENTS

12 oz. stout beer (they called for Guinness, I used Young’s)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

3/4 c. sour cream

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish

2 1/2 c. sugar

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

for the frosting:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar (I used less and got a more liquidy frosting)

RECIPE

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beer, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.

2. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet beer mixture.

3. Divide batter among 24 buttered or papered muffin tins and bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender.

4. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream, then slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar.

5. After cupcakes have cooled, top each one with a heap of frosting and a dusting of cocoa.

from the Nov/Dec 2006 issue

may09-06

Coco Loco Tequila Cupcakes

makes 24

INGREDIENTS

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

large pinch of salt

1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

1 tsp. coconut extract

1/4 c. tequila (I used what was on hand, Cuervo Gold)

1/2 c. buttermilk (I didn’t have any so substituted 1/2 c. milk mixed with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar — gross, but it works)

1 c. shredded sweetened coconut

for the frosting

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp. tequila

2 tsp. coconut extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

shredded sweetened coconut for garnish

RECIPE

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition.

2. Add coconut milk, ginger, and coconut extract and beat for one minute at high speed. In a measuring pitcher, stir together tequila and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in three batches to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture in two batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing well after each addition. Fold in the shredded coconut.

3. Fill each cupcake tin (you buttered or papered them, right?) about three-fourths full with batter and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

4. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat cream cheese on high speed until smooth. With mixer on high, slowly add coconut milk, tequila, and coconut extract. Continue beating until thoroughly combined and smooth, about five minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating on high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

5. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

from the May/June 2009 issue

may09-04

(all photos by lafille)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER O’MARA!

Public Service Announcement

Posted in Cocktails, Imbibe, Words on 15 April, 2009 by la fille

Someone has purchased the last 6 bottles of Ojen at Martin Metairie. So if you still haven’t found any, don’t go there.

Friday Night Food- Hitting the Ground Running

Posted in Cocktails, Eat, Entrees, Imbibe, Restaurants, Sweets, Words with tags , , , , on 12 April, 2009 by la fille

I picked up mon pere (henceforth to be known as Cap’n Will, as per his request) from the airport early Friday evening and met Brother O’Mara back home for a cocktail before dinner. The Cap’n put down his bags while we opened a bottle of Spanish white wine and chilled out for a few minutes. Soon enough though, the call of the city became too much for our bellies to ignore and we headed over to the first place on Papa’s food to-do list, the Parkway Tavern.

I’ve extolled upon Parkway’s virtues before, so I’ll cut right to the chase. As always, the po’boys were terrific. Cap’n Will had the Surf’n’Turf–roast beef and fried shrimp on the same sandwich— Brother O’Mara had hot ham and cheese, and I had the barbecued beef, all dressed. Papa was super-pleased, and Yours Truly may have found her new favorite sandwich. Their barbecue sauce is fantastic: thick and sweet and a little spicy and oh-so-messy–just the way it should be.

In a modern day Good Friday miracle, my clothing managed to remain unsoiled by barbecue and we headed over to visit our friends at the New Orleans Creative Glass Institute to watch some rock and roll glassblowing for a few minutes. They have free demos semi-regularly, and I strongly urge y’all to drop by some Friday night and take a look. They are doing some truly beautiful work over there.

After digesting our sammiches a little bit, we walked over to Angelo Brocato, the Italian pastry and gelato shop on North Carrollton.

brocato3

This is a perennial favorite for Brother O’Mara and I, and all visitors are required to partake in its confectionary joys. Usually Brother O’Mara gets a pastry while I go for gelato, but we were all three feeling the ice cream that evening: Stracciatella (Italian chocolate chip), mint chocolate chip, and Sicilian pistachio, to be precise. All three were terrific, but I specifically loved the pistachio–it was much less sweet than any other pistachio ice cream or gelato I’ve had, even the pistachio-almond they serve alongside it at Brocato. Sometimes sweet things can be too much for me, so it’s always exciting to find a dessert that combines sweet with savory, salty, spicy, or sour. Sicilian pistachio definitely brings a little salty to the table.

Feeling not-quite-uncomfortably stuffed, we headed home for a nightcap. The menfolk had fun comparing Herbsaint with Ojen and making cocktails thereof, whilst I enjoyed a Dark and Stormy with Regatta Ginger Beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

Cap’n Will was immensely pleased with the gastronomic delights of the evening, and we made it an early night in order to prepare both mentally and physically for the epicurean olympics in store for us on Saturday.

Nom.

Cocktail Ephemera

Posted in Cocktails, Ephemera, Imbibe with tags on 8 April, 2009 by la fille

1134ramos-saloon

Caption: THE FAMOUS “H.C. RAMOS*GIN FIZZ SALOON”–NEW ORLEANS

From an article about the history of the gin fizz at the Chanticleer Society’s website.