Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day! To celebrate we’ve got a special interview with author and “Cocktail Whisperer” Warren Bobrow all about rum!
1. How did you get involved with the world of cocktails and spirits?
Originally I trained to be a chef- This was back in the mid-1980’S- before recorded time really. I owned and founded a fresh pasta biz down In Charleston, SC- I lost it in Hurricane Hugo in 1989. I had bartended a few times while working as a cook- And it seemed like a good job for someone like myself who has the ‘Gift of Gab’… Fast forward past a 20-year career in banking- Back to my 50th birthday- when I went over to the Ryland Inn, located in NJ- and asked for a job as a bartender. Chris James, the Bar Manager told me he didn’t need a bartender, but he did need a bar back (not a glamorous job) and I was hired. But I had been writing about spirits, wine and food for a couple years- but I really had no idea just how hard it was! Physical Labor! Long Hours! Not Pretty! I held on for a year- and built my chops. How many cocktail writers do you know who worked as a bartender? Very few- and fewer still started at the bottom and worked their way up.
If there is a flavor that most exemplifies aromatics of the British countryside- it would be the profusion of herbs and flowers that bloom along the thorny hedgerows lining the narrow pathways. Of course, to experience this in real life would mean a trip to Great Britain. IF, you were able to accomplish this trip, a leisurely bicycle ride would be necessary to gain the entire experience of sipping Seedlip. Why a bicycle ride you may ask? To be able to smell the air as you rode down any given country path, brushing your arms against the herbs and flowers, releasing their perfume.
Whether you’re hosting a soiree, brunching with friends, or planning a romantic dinner, these three alluring alcohol and cannabis-infused libations by guest contributors (and epicureans) Elise McRoberts, Rabib Rafiq, and Jason Eisner will set the tone for the occasion. Since mixing cannabis and alcohol can be synergistically intoxicating, it’s wise to consume responsibly and control your dose. Some recipes call for cannabis-infused liquors and tincture, which can be difficult to find yet simple to make at home. To help, reference this recipe for Green Dragon, break out your Magical Butter machine or pick up a copy of Warren Bobrow’s Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonicswhere you can dive a little deeper into the sea of D.I.Y. cannabis tinctures. Now who’s ready for a drink?
Back in time- way before Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded on the Weehawken Cliffs, defending his perceived honor- the young officer served under General George Washington. He was posted to the winter headquarters of the Continental Army in Morristown, NJ. It was in this quaint village that Hamilton met with the young Betsy Schuyler. He made his intentions clear- and married her. All would have been well and good if it wasn’t for the vast quantities of potent fermented spirits that were poured down the gullet from dawn to dusk rendering even the stoutest gentlemen into a blithering idiot by late afternoon.
For many, Labor Day weekend signals the last hurrah. The end of summer. The beginning of fall. The start of a new school year. For the rest of us, it signals another reason to drink.
Thankfully, author and cocktail maestro Warren Bobrow, a good friend of The Fresh Toast, has created a cocktail that will give summer a proper sendoff, along with your sobriety.
The cocktail, which Bobrow calls “Syncopation,” is anything but sweet. If you didn’t get the memo, we are done with sweet summer drinks. “Our palates call out for depth, balance and flavor,” says Bobrow. “With a little help, it will be fall in the glass.”
2 oz Mezan XO Jamaican rum
4 oz coconut water
2-3 dashes Peychaud bitters – bright red in color
Coconut water ice (frozen coconut water)
Add coconut water ice to a tall glass
Add coconut water
Pour Mezan over the top
Slap mint (to release the fragrant oils) and garnish
If you drink a few too many of these, Bobrow has just the cure — New Orleans style. It’s a milk punch that could not be quicker to pull together. Here’s what you do: mix together equal parts brandy, simple syrup, vanilla, heavy cream, milk, ice, and nutmeg. Shake. Serve. And then remember that your hangover is proof that you lived up the last days of summer like someone who was never going to see the sun again.
I’ve always admired the craft spirits entrepreneur. The person who does something with his or her hands that doesn’t involve pushing a pencil across a desk for their entire career. Distilling is one of those fine arts. It’s possible to be a great distiller but to lose focus on the art of business. A micro-distiller must be more than just a distiller- they must be focused on sales, marketing, science, art, customer service and of course, just putting the time in doing what they love.
Jersey Spirits Distilling Company, located in typically “Jersey-style” commercial office park set just a few miles from thundering routes 46 and 80. They are hand distilling tasty, award winning spirits one drop at a time. Founded in 2005 by a tight group of passionate Jersey residents, this Jersey-centric distillery may not be on everybody’s radar just yet. But don’t let that stop you from discovering something that is quite delicious and surprisingly well made. From the gleaming tasting room with a little history of distilling in New Jersey on the walls to the tenaciously designed distillery, this is an extremely impressive operation. They are a distillery mind you, their license says that no food is prepared here aside from some Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers-a cheese driven compliment to their communicative spirits.
It’s Iowa and Corn Means Craft — Cedar Ridge Distilling: Whiskey
Grandpa Melvin’s Hands (Leica M8)
It takes more than great ingredients to make craft whiskey. It takes patience and time, that is for certain. But most importantly, after all the bills are paid- whiskey takes great passion. You cannot make quality whiskey in mere hours, although some manipulators of spirits say that they can. I unequivocally disagree and believe that craft spirits take on their own unique personalities according to the particular desire of the distiller. The production of craft spirits takes years to develop their own deeply textured flavors.
There is that little thing that they call the Angel’s Share. That’s the stuff that you cannot sell, because it has evaporated. Not generally a fine place to be if you are in the business of bottling expensive craft whiskey- or any craft spirit for that matter. Each drop costs something and it’s a shame when it evaporates to only be enjoyed by the: ‘Angels!’ Depending on many variables, this Angel’s Share can be pretty expensive or just about right.