Beekman 1802 and KLAUS!

GARTENDING: BLAME IT ON RIO

 

 

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” –Albert Einstein

 

I wanted to lead off this week’s adventure with this quote from the Beekman Boys Facebook page.  If you didn’t know, The Beekman 1802 Boys just won the Amazing Race on television.  I don’t normally watch flashy reality shows but this one was much different.  The characters were everyone types from all over the country except for one couple.  The Beekman Boys.  My friends, Brent and Josh.

I started writing for them after they did a book signing at Williams-Sonoma in Short Hills, NJ.  I introduced myself as a cocktail mixologist/author and they asked me if I’d like to write for them.

The rest is lovely histories for myself and of course my alter-ego/gnome, Klaus, the Soused Gnome.

Perhaps you’ve seen his fan page on Facebook?

He’s a good little guy who brings a smile to most.  And this brings me back to the initial quote, “You have to learn the rules of the game.”  I’ve discovered that if I can make just one person smile and share in the passion that is Klaus, then I’m truly a success.  Certainly within Klaus’s tiny ceramic heart he is living a dream.

I often wonder what his life was like before I acquired him?  I wonder if his former owners brought him around the world?

We’ve been to many places together in the past few months, Oregon, France, Ohio-twice, the Kentucky Derby, Charleston and of course New York. It’s been busy for the little guy.  Even with all this traveling, he still stays very thirsty.

Klaus loves New York City and he loves going to new and exciting cocktail bars.  One of these is named Milk & Honey.  It used to be way downtown.  Now- the coming weeks are ahead of us and with the rush to the New Year, Milk & Honey will soon be open.  The new address is 30 East 23rd Street in NYC.  It’s no longer in a tough neighborhood- you will feel comfortable visiting this new temple to the cocktailian arts because it’s located in a fabulous shopping district of Manhattan!

Avuá Cachaça invited Klaus to the soon-to-be-reopened Milk & Honey for the pre-launch of their expressive liquors. Klaus was very thirsty for some delicious cocktails that spoke clearly of the passion of Brazil.

What Klaus would do for the chance to visit Rio in the winter?  I shudder to imagine.  It’s summer in Brazil and the drink of choice is Cachaça mixed with lime and sugar.

Klaus should be so lucky.

 

Summer in Rio Cocktail (will smash even the most robust drinker)

(Each recipe makes two drinks)

Ingredients:

Avuá Cachaça

Blood Orange rounds

Victoria’s Kitchen Almond/Coconut Water

Hand cut ice

Fresh lime juice

Simple Syrup

 

Instructions:

To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice add:

4 oz. Avuá Cachaça

6 oz. Victoria’s Kitchen Almond/Coconut Water

1 oz. Fresh lime juice

1 oz. or to taste Simple Syrup

1 oz. Blood Orange juice

 

Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake

 

Strain into a short rocks glass with one cube of hand cut ice

Garnish with Blood Orange ½ rounds

Prepare for a plane ticket to Rio!

From Foodista

Rum, Please Forgive Me!

November 13, 2012
Rum: Please forgive me.  I didn’t forget you to bourbon, nor gin.  Certainly you haven’t seen me review or even discuss candy flavored vodka- why is that so popular?  I didn’t forget you to Scotch, nor did I give you up for Cognac or dare I say some Biodynamic wine.  No rum, I didn’t forget you.  You were and are my first love.  The first time that I tasted you down in the British Virgin Islands at  Soggy Dollar Bar stirred in a “Painkiller” (for I was filled with pain down in the islands) or woven into a Bushwacker- oh don’t ask what was in it.  I know it was rum and crushed ice, cream de cacao and more rum.  Well, that’s for another day.I don’t make a habit of drinking to excess.  My friend Ed Hamilton of the Ministry of Rum taught me drink better/drink less.  This is true- yet there is a fine line between mere inebriation and the puncheon.  I know to beware that.  You should too.  It only comes in a Listerine container.  A very small one at that. Poteen comes to mind.  Hell in a bottle is next.

Down in St. Barth they make punch in the traditional French, island style restaurants that line the harbor of Gustavia. That means tropical fruits and rum.

Yachts moor stern in like in St. Tropez.  French is spoken.  Rum is the language as well as Champagne.  Sometimes they collide with horrid results to the inexperienced and jaded alike.   The roads are too steep and not well marked.  I suggest not testing the flimsy guard rails and 1000 foot, nearly sheer drops.

It was on St. Barth that I first tried the Bacardi Ron Solera.  I’d just spent the better part of two weeks on a yacht and was in a state of constant thirst for new flavors, new textures.  If I knew then what I know today (next to nothing) about rum, I’d have brought more of the exotics back home.  There is an incredible diversity of flavor in rum.

The Bacardi is not anything like any rum I had ever tasted from Bacardi.  For a bar in St. Barth to stock Bacardi- it had to be something incredible- with all the rums of the world available to be purchased.  I feel that the Ron Solera is one of the finest little (I say little next to the big brother in Puerto Rico, they don’t even exist on the radar) rum around anywhere.  This is a labor of love for the distiller.  Made in Mexico, not Puerto Rico, the Solera is like a secret still, unknown to most.

I think this would make a most honorable Christmas gift.

Ron Solera is produced in the Solera method. Like making Sherry.  This is, quite simply removing a portion of the rum from a cask and adding a bit younger (or older) samples of rum directly to the barrel.  There is a marriage of sorts in the barrel, an alchemy.  Some old rum, some quite old and some new- all aging harmoniously.  Lovely thought.

How does Bacardi, a company that makes millions of cases of rum per year, switch gears and create a passionate, limited production item like the Solera?  I’m really not sure.  But the proof is in the bottle.  Open the top.  The scent of charred vanilla greets the nose.  It’s creamy and full bodied.  I detect immediately dark, bittersweet chocolate maybe 75% bitter.  It’s suddenly deeply warming on my mouth and the depth becomes profound.  I want to put some in a snifter and sit, quite still in front of the wood burning stove.  It’s truly gorgeous stuff.

Get a bottle and serenade your emotions deeply with the Ron Solera.  If you add anything to your glass of the Ron Solera make it a perfect ice cube from your Williams-Sonoma 2” silicone ice cube tray.  Filter your water first using the Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher first… (essential!)

Tasting Notes:

Sweet oranges give way to creamy chocolate and pain grille notes.  A buzz of alcohol straightens out your mind, you can feel the spark and warmth adding a nice fuzzy feeling to my throat.  I love this rum!

++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Serralles DonQ Gran Anejo

The sturdy box that holds this important rum is padded in gold satin.  I say important because everything about this rum is impressive.  Not just the packaging, but the flavor.  Glistening Wheat in hue and tinged with a shimmer from the oily oak- this rum is meant to be savored.  It’s a very soft slurp in mouth-feel.  It doesn’t have the richness of the Ron Solera from Barcardi, yet it reminds me much more of real Cuban Rum.  Restrained, enrobed in threads of salted caramel, this rum is important to behold.  The bottle is a decanter, handsome and masculine.  It’s reminiscent of Bourbon.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the casks were used Bourbon oak.  I can taste the char and smoke deeply.  If you add anything to this rum, make it a single cube of coconut water ice.

White flowers give way to charred stone fruits and the taste of wet stones.  Lick a stone and see what I mean.  The finish is dry, salty from the sea and jagged from the cask.  I want to drink this in a snifter with a slice of grilled orange on the side for tasting.

The Serralles DonQ Gran Anejo is world class, just as the Bacardi Ron Solera is as well.  They are both historic brands with passion in the driver’s seat.  I tasted them side by side with wheat crackers for balance.  These are powerful reminders that gigantic companies can also produce passionate liquors that truly speak volumes of the craft of making spirits.  Someone need to have their hand shaken for their vision!

This is rum for the boardroom!

From Prevention Magazine

I was asked to provide some “healthy” cocktails for Prevention Magazine… Here they are:

Recipes for the healthy tippler

By Mandy Oaklander

Photo credit: Mandy Oaklander

Surprised We’re Not In Reno

Warren Bobrow’s smoky twist on the vodka cola uses natural ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup in sight! “It’s healing and potent,” Bobrow says. “Root dates back to country medicinal curatives.”

Serves 1-2

2 shots vodka (we used Ketel One)
1 shot Root (an organic elixir with birch bark, black tea, spices—similar to sarsaparilla)
1/2 shot sweet Vermouth
Natural cola (we used all-natural Q Drinks cola)
Orange twist

ADD the liquors to your cocktail shaker
SHAKE and top with a splash of cola. Garnish with orange twist.

Read more: http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/healthy-drink-recipes-cocktails/surprised-were-not-reno#ixzz2GXcddM3J

Photo credit: Mandy Oaklander

Hot Cranberry, Blueberry, and Gin Thoreau

“I prefer the tiny, intensely flavored Maine wild blueberries for this cocktail; they come either frozen or canned during the off-season,” Bobrow says. We skipped the cranberry sauce and maple syrup to save on calories and sugar—and we still wanted a second mug.

Serves 2, strongly

1/4 cup each of crushed cranberries and blueberries
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
4 shots gin (we used Bulldog London Dry Gin)
1/3 cup water
1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Grade B dark amber maple syrup, optional
Several orange slices
2 fresh lemon thyme sprigs

MUDDLE the crushed cranberries with the blueberries to make a slurry, then add the cranberry sauce to the mix

ADD the gin and let sit for a few minutes to combine the flavors

BRING the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the cranberry and lime juices

ADD the heated cranberry juice mixture to the muddled cranberry mixture and stir together. Pour into 2 preheated mugs (we strained it)

SWEETEN with maple syrup if desired, and garnish with orange slices and a sprig of lemon thyme.

Cooler Weather=Four Roses+Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer (for Foodista)

Cooler Weather=Four Roses+Cock n’Bull Ginger Beer

October 8, 2012

Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer is one of those flavors that just won’t leave my mind.  There are many ginger beers on the market today. Some of them good, some great and some truly amazing.  I’ve found that the Cock ‘n Bull is a spicier ginger beer than most and it has a core of real ginger root.

There has been a resurgence for classic cocktails made with ginger beer, a nostalgic experience.  Perhaps this is because drinkers enjoy the more robust flavors of ginger beer in combination with diverse liquors.  I like mine not only with Rum in the classic ‘Dark ‘n Stormy’ but also the smoky and spicy notes of Bourbon Whiskey mixed with ginger beer.

The Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer has a venerable history that dates back long before many of the current day products were even thought of.

Jack Morgan was the owner of the restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1940’s by the name of the Cock ‘n Bull.  He was the inventor of the historic drink named the Moscow Mule- which is no more than vodka and his namesake extra spicy, ginger beer.

Fast forward to current day.  The Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer is now available in multiple markets around the country.  Cocktailians from all over are discovering the extreme ease when mixing Cockt ‘n Bull with liquors as diverse as dark Rum, Scotch, Cognac, Irish Whiskey, and of course Bourbon!

I love Bourbon Whiskey mixed with Ginger Beer.  Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is one of my favorite go/to’s for Bourbon that is heading for the cocktail shaker.   The first thing I taste when sipping Four Roses straight is the sweet vanilla enrobed in cayenne pepper, tempered by lightly smoked peaches.  There is definitely stone fruit in every sip of the Small Batch version.

Mixed with the Cock n’ Bull Ginger Beer, the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon adds dimension and character to every cocktail.  I prefer my Roses and Ginger in a tall glass.  And in keeping with my cocktailian persuits, I like to twist it up a bit.  Keep it fresh and different.

Bitter End Bitters makes one such cocktail augmentation that I feel would just rock in this Bourbon/Ginger Beer cocktail.  It is called the Mexican Mole Bitters.  Laced with hot chilies, bittersweet chocolate and Southwestern herbs, each scant drop adds a hidden element that will fully reveal itself when combined with the other ingredients in the cocktail.

And in keeping with my cocktailian intellect, I’ve frozen these Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters into ice cubes made with water from my Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher.  The water is inspired because of a proprietary formula to strip out the harmful elements of ordinary tap water and turn it (inspire) into a crisp, luscious glass of water.

The same holds true for ice.  Ice made with water from my Mavea freezes almost crystal clear!

I’ve been adding different cocktail bitters into my ice.  When the ice melts, the cocktail bitters become melded into the cocktail, augmenting the flavor and deepening it during the melting process.

While some cocktail chefs are experimenting with liquid nitrogen, I’m using a much less expensive method of freezing.  Ice is my method, frozen for a couple of hours in the freezer.

Laced with the Bitter End Bitters- the drink becomes something otherworldly.

And that’s why I make cocktails.  To deepen my customer’s sense of taste.  Each taste is a living laboratory in each sip.

Four Roses Small Batch and Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer

(Tall Drink)

Make ice using Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters (4 drops per cube) with water from a Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher.

Freeze overnight or until absolutely firm

Add three “inspired water” ice cubes to a tall glass

Add 2 Oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Add Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer to top

Add a bit of fresh lime juice and a hunk of lime

Scrape some fresh nutmeg over the top (essential!)

Serve to an appreciative customer!

Danger level 3 out of 5..

If you want a stronger drink, then just add more Bourbon!

 

About me:

Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie– the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Burgundy.

He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011/2012.

Warren presented freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)

Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)

Warren has published over four hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles- globally.

You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

Are you a Carnivore? I am.

October 9, 2012
I’ll admit it.  I’m a carnivore.  There is nothing I like more than tucking into a slab of dry-aged PRIME Beef.  My favorite way of cooking dry aged beef is very simple. Let the steak come to room temperature to relax the muscle.  Rub the steak with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.Grill over hard-wood charcoal, preferably homemade.  Homemade charcoal you say?  Yes.  I make my own from wood that I age and cut by hand.  It’s easy.  If you don’t have access to a few dozen fallen trees you can always buy a bag of “natural” charcoal at your local Whole Foods market.

It’s very important, in fact essential NEVER to buy that charcoal that has lighter fluid cooked into it.  Why?  Because no matter how long you burn the infused charcoal, it will always taste like gasoline.

When I’m paying top dollar from my local German butcher (Hoeffner’s in Morristown, NJ) I want to make sure that my dry-aged beef tastes like beef!

Not like lighter fluid.

Starting a charcoal grill is simple.  I’ve never owned a gas grill and wouldn’t know what to do with one if I did.

A fine choice is the medium sized Weber Kettle Grill.

I can control the heat for cooking by burning the coals on one side of the grill and using the natural convection from the curved lid to “circular” cook whatever I desire.  The heat works wonders and infuses your food is a bath of luscious wood smoke.

You can even add grapevines, cherry or apple wood to the fire to add flavor.

Plus the natural flavor of hard-wood charcoal is far more pleasurable in my opinion than the flavor of gas.  Just my opinion after years of cooking over wood.

Bourbon Distilleries often sell the charcoal that lines the insides of their barrels.  I recently received a bag of Rye Whiskey infused charcoal from a distillery in Pennsylvania named Dad’s Hat.  I placed the Rye Whiskey charcoal just off the heat so that the aromatics of the Whiskey combined with the burning wood, throwing off a Rye laced smoke.  On a rack of beef ribs, the aromatics were most beguiling.  You can duplicate this at home.  There are no secrets here!  Ok, maybe one secret.  When the charred meat comes off the grill, let it rest on a wooden cutting board for about three to five minutes.  Why?  If you cut into it hot off the grill, all the succulent juices will drain out, leaving you with a tough piece of meat.

This is my secret and one that I’m sure Chef Symon will concur with as well.

Imagine my delight when I learned that Michael Symon, the 2009 James Beard Award winning chef was coming to the Short Hills Williams-Sonoma store!

Finally, someone who gets it when teaching the careful preparation of meat!

Yes, he is a carnivore– like myself.  I’m sure we’ll have much in common.  As a former grill-dog in the restaurant business, I can talk charred meat all day long!

Michael Symon, the author of the upcoming book named Carnivore is coming to sign his newest cookbook in our local Williams-Sonoma store.

Anyone who exemplifies the art of cooking meat will be charmed by his eloquent style and abundant passion.

Although Michael will not be doing a cooking demo during this book signing, he will fill the room with his infectious wit.

From what I hear, he disarms even his toughest critics!

I cannot wait to meet him in person and you will too.

 

See you in Short Hills!

Here’s the event information:

Williams-Sonoma Short Hills (Upper Level)

Mall At Short Hills
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 5:00pm
1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ, 07078
(973) 467-3641

Here’s more information about Michael:
Co-host on The Chew, an Iron Chef and host of Cooking Channel’s Symon Suppers, chef Michael Symon wows even the toughest food critics, while making audiences smile with his contagious laugh.

Carnivore, Symon’s second cookbook, will be out this October and feature recipes crafted for meat-lovers.

http://bit.ly/SO4sdO

I’m hoping if you are in the New York/New Jersey- Metro area, you’ll come out for this introduction to a true Star Chef, Michael Symon.

Here is a simple cocktail that I invented to go with grilled beef.

 

The Brick Pollitt Cocktail  Makes one really tangy/spicy cocktail perfect for aged PRIME Beef

Ingredients:

Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey

Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies

Bitter End Memphis Barbecue Bitters

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Ice made from your Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher infused with the Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters

Preparation:

One day prior to making your cocktails, freeze a tray of ice using your Mavea Pitcher “Inspired Water” and drop four drops of the Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters into each opening of the ice cube tray, freeze overnight

To a Boston Shaker (cocktail shaker) add some regular ice

Add 2 oz. Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey (or your choice of Rye)

Add 2 Tablespoons Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies

Stir well to chill, do not shake this cocktail!

Add a couple of the Bitter End Bitters infused Mavea Water- ice cubes to a short rocks glass

Pour the Rye and Royal Rose Simple Syrup mixture over the top of your infused ice and then add a splash of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water for a bit of fizz

Sip to a perfectly cooked steak and your hungry demeanor!

 

Best Chef: Great Lakes, presented by James Beard Foundation 2009  Winner: Michael Symon

James Beard Foundation

About me:

Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie– the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Paris and Burgundy.

He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the Boston Cocktail Summit and the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.

Warren presented freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)

Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)

Warren has published over four hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles- globally.

You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

 

Lil Cowboy Cocktail. Reprinted from The Beekman 1802 Boys Website

http://beekman1802.com/food-and-wine/gartending-lil-cowboy.html

Gartending: Lil’ Cowboy

By 

Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8

For the Spring and Summer growing season, we bring you a new feature at Beekman 1802, the Soused Gnome.  He’ll teach  you how to “gartend”–create perfect seasonal cocktails using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Klaus has been visiting farmers markets all over the country for the past month or so. His first adventure was to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, next was to the bread-basket of our nation in Columbus, Ohio. Last weekend he journeyed all the way out to Portland, Oregon to watch me do a presentation on freestyle mixology for the International Food Bloggers Conference held by Foodista.
It certainly stimulated my taste and olfactory senses!
Portland, Oregon is a city of farmers markets. There is a plethora of cocktail friendly ingredients that defy the imagination.
Cherries are in season again out on the left coast. This time the bounty of the garden is in the form of rare white cherries.
White cherries exemplify the gartender’s dream cocktail. When crushed into a cocktail, white cherries are otherworldly on the flavor profile.
Be sure to pit out your cherries before they go into your mixing cup.
We almost never see white cherries on the east coast. Klaus (the Soused Gnome) explains that the cherries flesh is sometimes too tender to travel. He told me that in his home country (Germany) his kinfolk put up sumptuous white cherries in fiery brandy! He goes on to tell me that brandied white cherries are marvelous in a cocktail that includes Denizen Rum, cucumber ice (really!) House Spirits White Dog and freshly squeezed grilled grapefruit juice. The lift for this cocktail is provided by Klaus’s favorite pinpoint seltzer water, the Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water. He says that this water reminds him of his youth on the German/French border. I’ve told him that he needs to concentrate on locally sourced ingredients, but he disagrees.
Funny how a drinking gnome can have such an opinion on mixers!
Klaus grew cucumbers this year in the garden. These cucumbers are the European variety (no surprise here) they are seedless. Frozen into the Williams-Sonoma KING ice cube tray (2 inch x 2 inch) the European variety makes for a flavorful augmentation of Klaus’s soon to be infamous cocktail.
I reproduced this drink back in New Jersey with my own home cured cherries. Unfortunately these cherries are red instead of white, but they are delicious all the same. You can reproduce the cherries yourself by pitting out a few pounds of WEST COAST cherries, then covering in the spirit of your choice. Klaus suggests using a light spiced rum or even Apple Jack.
They take a couple of weeks to cure, but Klaus and I both say that the wait is worth it!
I know that after the trip to Oregon, cowboy music plays very well into the re-birth of the West Coast sensibilities that Klaus possesses. His GIANT thirst is only superseded by his ability to drink dozens of (tiny) drinks while roaming the myriad of mixology bars that dot this most interesting of cities.

I created this cocktail “on the fly, free-style” at the IFBC/Freestyle Mixology presentation ‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail (named for Portland, Oregon’s lost cowboy culture)

 

‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail
Ingredients:
(A couple weeks before you make this cocktail “put-up” some home-cured cherries)
Denizen Rum White Rum
House Spirits White Dog (Moonshine) (Oregon Distilled)
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Freshly Squeezed Grilled Grapefruit juice (Slice grapefruit into rounds and sear or grill until charred over charcoal or in a sauté pan) then juice as normal
Home cured Cherries (white if you can find them, red if you cannot)
European cucumber (peeled and sliced into coins for both the ice cubes and the cocktail)
Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water
Cucumber water ice- freeze rounds of a European seedless cucumber into an ice cube tray. I recommend the Williams-Sonoma silicone KING CUBE tray- I do a 50/50 blend of freshly juiced cucumber water with filtered water from my Mavea water filtration pitcher (The Mavea pitcher is from Germany- are you surprised?)
Instructions

for two strikingly powerful cocktails
Muddle several rounds of cucumber with some (pitted) home cured cherries in a mixing cup
Add some regular ice (about a handful)
Add 2 oz White Dog from House Spirits
Add 1 oz Denizen Rum (White Rum)
Add 4 tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Add 4 oz of your grilled grapefruit juice (essential)
Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake
Add a couple cubes of the homemade cucumber ice to your hand-blown cocktail glass
Double Strain into a tall hand-blown glass filled with cucumber ice

Don’t have a hand-blown glass?? Time is now to connect with your cocktail glass!
What does it mean to double-strain? Pour through 2 strainers to remove all bits of cherry and cucumber and grilled grapefruit juice
Add four drops per cocktail glass of the Bitter End Thai Bitters
Top with the Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (Essential)
Garnish with either a red or white cherry (your choice)

Agent Provocateur Cocktail… by Warren Bobrow from Modenus

 

Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour: Agent Provocateur Cocktail

There is nothing that I enjoy more than simplicity. Simplicity is a sense of place and it belongs in my cocktail glass.

Sometimes I wonder why cocktails have a dozen ingredients or more. Are they trying to cover something up?

In the culinary arts, this myriad of flavors can be distracting from the natural flavors. Covering pure flavor up with disparate ingredients is confusing to the palate.

The same holds true for cocktails!
Keep it simple!

It’s been warmer than usual as of late. My palate calls out for drinks that celebrate the warming of the earth and the quickening of my thirst.
Aperol and Cynar are two liqueurs that deserve more than your passing gaze. The addition of Lucid Absinthe makes this party even more inviting and certainly more interesting.

Agent Provocateur Cocktail was developed with the lush images of the namesake store in mind.
I wanted to create something that slips off easily, but satisfies a certain craving at the same time.
Aperol is combined with a dollop of Cynar- then the mysteriously aromatic Lucid Absinthe makes an appearance.
Freshly squeezed lime and orange juice may fool you. And you might just see, oh!

You have had one too many, they’re so good! You won’t taste a thing!

The take is decidedly different than your usual aperitif cocktail.
This one may help you find your pillow sooner than later.
Be careful of the results or by all means please enjoy the results!

Your choice!
Ingredients for two luscious slurps or more:
4 Shots Aperol
1 Shot Cynar
2 Shots Lucid Absinthe
8 oz. Orange Juice (Essential to be freshly squeezed)
2 shakes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
Preparation:
To a cocktail shaker, fill ¼ with ice
Add Liqueurs
Add 2 shakes of the Rhubarb Bitters
Shake
Strain into two coupe’ glasses
Garnish with an orange zest

About Warren Bobrow

Warren has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews. (Served Raw, Drinking in America, DrinkGal.com, Bluewater Vodka, Purity Vodka, Botran Rum, Orleans Apple Aperitif, Marie Brizard, Art in the Age: Root, Snap, Rhuby, Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tuthilltown Spirits, Bitter Cube, Bitter Truth, Bitter End-Bitters, Bitters, Old Men…etc. etc.)
He’s written food articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, NJ Monthly, Serious Eats, Daily Candy (Philadelphia) Rambling Epicure (Geneva, Switzerland)
He is one of the cocktail bloggers for Williams-Sonoma and Foodista.
Warren is the On-Whiskey Columnist for Okra Magazine in New Orleans.
He is also a Ministry of Rum judge.
Warren is a self-taught photojournalist and shoots with the venerable Leica M8.
(Digital rangefinder)

What is it about Rum and Bitters? By: Warren Bobrow (Cocktail Whisperer)

What is it about Rum and Bitters?

May 1, 2012

I’m quite fond of white rum.  It’s got the stuffing to stand up to mixers and to cocktail bitters.  A couple weeks ago I received a sample bottle from the R. St. Barth’ Rhum company.  I told them I’d like to try their product and if I liked it, I would write something about it.  The same holds true for all the spirits I receive as samples.  If I like it, we can see the results, if not, well, I’ll leave that to you.

Sitting in front of me is a medium glass.  I’ve added a couple of coconut water ice cubes and some drops of a couple of bitters- most divergent in styles.  The Bitters, Old Men, Macadamia Bitters and the Bitter End Thai Bitters to be exact.  And yes, I received them as samples as well.

But as simplicity is my guide, I wanted to taste this Rhum before I did any cocktail augmentation.  That means, taste the Rhum, right into my glass.  Then- experiment a bit.

The St. Barth Rhum is stylistically more akin to the Rhum Agricole of the island of Martinique.  Now there are some that will disagree with me- and that’s fine.

This is a gorgeous Rhum Agricole.  Smacking of fresh sugar cane and white flowers, the slight salty bitterness guides me to adding some augmentation.

Truly nothing is needed but time in the glass and fresh citrus fruit.  Maybe a splash of Cane Sugar Syrup?

No, it doesn’t taste like Martinique, what it tastes like is Guadeloupe Rum.. That is what it is!  Sure it says St. Barths’s on the label, and that’s where the company is from.

I think real estate is too valuable on St. Barth’s for growing cane.  Having spent a few weeks on St. Barth’s, it’s a magnificent place, brimming with French tourists in various stages of undress.

A harbor filled with mega-yachts, moored stern in, the European way.  It’s a veritable Rhum fueled holiday!

The town of Gustavia is filled with the wealthy and the super-wealthy.  You come here to soak up the sun and dream away the afternoons!

St. Barth’s has long been a clearing port for fine Rhum from the surrounding islands.  You can get anything there virtually tax-free as long as it says RUM on the label.

I learned about the truly high end Rhums of Martinique while enjoying a “Cheeseburger” in paradise and washing it down with a Rhum Punch.  Each restaurant on St. Barth’s makes their own version of the Rhum Punch.  Usually it is Rhum Agricole, with infused herbs, fruits, spices and syrups.

The St. Barth’s Rhum Agricole would make the perfect base as a Rhum Punch.  But I digress.

Today’s cocktail is ever so simple and delicious!

The Grilled Rhum Slingback

Ingredients:

Rhum St. Barth

Grilled orange rounds (about 3 per drink)

Fresh Lime cut into 8th’s

Coconut Water Ice

Bitter End Thai Bitters

Bitters, Old Men Macadamia Bitters

Freshly picked Kentucky Colonel Mint

Seltzer

Preparation:

Freeze Coconut water into ice cube trays

Chill short cocktail glasses with regular ice and water- let sit then pour out when glasses are very cold

Muddle the grilled orange rounds with the mint and the limes in a cocktail shaker

Add 2 Shots per person of the Rhum St. Barth to a cocktail shaker with the grilled orange/lime/mint muddle

Add the bitters, three drops of the Bitter End Thai, then 5 drops of the Bitters, Old Men-Macadamia Bitters

Stir to chill and combine well

Pour out water and ice from your short cocktail glasses

Add a couple of coconut water ice cubes

Strain the Rhum Agricole St. Barth’s mixture over the coconut water ice cubes

Garnish with an un-grilled orange slice and splash with seltzer to finish

So what is it about Rhum and Bitters.  Are they a marriage of like-minds?  I think so.  Depending on the variety and scope of your bitters of course.

I want you to experiment with flavor! That’s what brings you deeper into your cocktails.

 

Close your eyes and dream of Eden Rock.

Magic Monk’s Eventual Dream Punch by: Warren Bobrow-Cocktail Whisperer

Pardon my fuzzy photography from my ancient iPhone- I had to capture this picture with the camera I had on hand.  This drink came together after a particularly unpleasant day yesterday.  My day started with two deeply placed cavities being drilled out- at the dentist.

Please don’t get me wrong, he is most gentle and very kind- no barbarians here!

My mouth was not happy and after a few hours of discomfort I was able to get to work writing and dreaming.

My mind sometimes wanders to cocktails for reasons other than purely creative expressions of my inner self.  Yesterday, it drifted towards alcohol to kill that dull pain of the experience.

I waited until the early evening to let my mind wander.  Waiting for the magic to take place.

A fire graced the dining room fireplace- warming against my back. I was eagerly awaiting that flood of inspiration from using great ingredients to create new flavors.

They lend their secrets through creativity.

The cast iron pan heated to smoking in the kitchen.  I had some tiny Florida Blood Oranges in a bowl for snacking, then, inspiration struck.  What if I segmented the oranges into sections, then seared them in the cast iron pan, smoking nicely in the background?   Certainly would change their flavor.  Deepen it somehow.  Make it sensual- a seared blood orange juice for a cocktail or a punch?  Absolutely.

But what liquor to go with this.  I’m sure cognac would work, but I didn’t want to go down that road from a flavor perspective.  I needed something with deep mystery.  What liquor evokes mystery more than Absinthe?   Nothing except maybe Chartreuse VEP?  Having several bottles of Absinthe and one of the VEP  in the liquor cabinet didn’t hurt.

Carefully I drew open the ancient wooden box that contained the VEP.  The wax covered top and hand numbered bottle looking like something from an alchemist’s lair.  The bottle of Absinthe that I chose was Tenneyson.  The company hails from Texas, yet the magic captured in the bottle is distilled in France.  Is there a connection here?  I’m not sure.

With the blood oranges popping up and down on the sizzling hot cast iron pan, I realized that they were attaining that crunchy covering that only can happen with high heat.   Removing them from the pan I set them aside to cool.  Then I juiced them by hand through a cocktail sieve.

I chilled this really cool mid-century modern glass down with some ice and water, but I didn’t want this drink to be cold.  My teeth were pretty sensitive at this point.

Combining a bit of Chartreuse with Absinthe takes real fortitude.  The Chartreuse VEP is 108 proof.  Not for the meek.  Tenneyson Absinthe, rolling in at 106 proof is at first sniff, pure Gin.  I don’t know how they do it, other than the specific Terroir of the herbs in their unique recipe.  This Absinthe is contemplative, yes- but when combined with Chartreuse VEP and charred blood orange juice- something magical takes place.

It is a punch beyond dreams- a simple drink really.  Made with passion!  You need to include two other ingredients that may have to be ordered directly from their source.  Bitter End Moroccan Bitters and Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Tamarind to acheive my flavor profile.  Or you can skip them and use the bitters on hand and a sugar cane simple syrup.

 

Magic Monk’s Eventual Dream Punch (Makes two or more… Just lovely cocktails)

Ingredients:

3 Shots Tenneyson Absinthe or your choice of Absinthe

1 Shot Chartreuse VEP

6 shots of grilled blood orange juice

A few slices of (ungrilled) blood orange for garnish

Bitter End Moroccan Bitters

Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup

Seltzer Water

Preparation:

Sear blood orange segments in a cast iron or stainless steel pan until nicely browned on both sides, set aside to cool, then juice through cocktail sieve

Combine Absinthe and Chartreuse VEP in a cocktail mixing vessel of your choice.

Add seared blood orange Juice slowly while mixing with a stainless steel cocktail mixer.  Be gentle. Watch the louche’ take place in the glass. Contemplate the creamy, gin and citrus scented aromas that rise up from within.

Add a medicine dropper of the Bitter End Moroccan Bitters.

Add a splash or two of the Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup.

Give another gentle stir.

Pour into one of your most favored glasses… Have a connection to your glass that you will pour the drink into- make it memorable and share this elegant little punch with someone who appreciates FLAVOR!

Top with a bit of seltzer water, and garnish with a slice of blood orange.  Sip, then dream into your Absinthe colored mystery!

On Whisk(e)y: Tasting Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition + Balblair 1991 from OKRA Magazine

WARREN BOBROW grew up on a biodynamic farm in Morristown, New Jersey. He is a reluctant cocktail/wine writer and a former trained chef/saucier.

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There was a time in recent memory that I would walk into a liquor store and look wistfully at the selections of rum, vodka, gin and bourbon.  I would walk right past the Scotch whisky as if it were something from another lifetime.  My memories of Scotch whisky come at a high price for me.  Unfortunately, when I attended private school, Scotch was just about the only thing that we drank.  I remember a particularly blurry evening when an overly enthusiastic parent of a party-thrower was meting out veritable coffee mugs filled to over-flowing with the fruits of his investments.  This gentleman who is now gone, invested heavily in Scotch whisky casks.  At the end of the 30-year period there was the option to either sell the casks at a huge profit, or drink them.  He preferred the latter and shared them willingly.

In college I didn’t enjoy Scotch.  My college roommate often had in lean times a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, and in flush times, a bottle of the Black.  I suppose that I just didn’t get it about Scotch.  Single malt included.  The flavors were lost on me.  I made no effort to enjoy it again until less than a year ago.

Since my passion is rum and, of course, bourbon writing- I thought why not branch out a bit.  Find some way to learn about Scotch by asking for and receiving gorgeous samples from the distilleries.  And so I did.  And my bar grew and grew with exotic offerings from distilleries around the globe.

Sitting in front of me right now are two such bottles.  They were given as samples, thank you very much.

As I have said previously, if I do not like a spirit, I will not write about it.  These expressions caught my mind’s eye, my sense of taste and in turn opened my palate.

The Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition says right on the label, “Best Procurable”.  That statement of quality did not taint my first impression of this spirit.  I should have imagined a statement about the casks before reading the ad copy.  The small words fine, rare, smooth & mellow are more important to me.  They express exactly what my first taste said.  A sip is creamy and lush all at once.  The mouth-feel is creamed corn baked into a pudding on the finish.  The start is a touch of oak, a bit of cane sugar

(Do they use bourbon casks?)

Midway through swallowing this very small dram I discover the taste of peat, but not too much.   There is a burn, but again, it’s metered and it doesn’t overpower the nose.  The alcohol level is a fine 46% by volume, not too much, yet not 80 proof.  After drinking a few of the raw cask expressions from Blackadder a few months back I’ve looked at anything less than 120 proof as “not too much”.

Turning the back of the bottle, I see that, indeed, they used bourbon casks.  The company uses casks that date back to 2003 and the youngest casks are five years old.  They detect citrus in the mouth, yet I detect caramel corn, grilled peaches, German eiswine and charred hoe-cakes made with charred grain instead of corn.  This is an elegant slurp and I beg that you seek out a bottle.  Tullibardine is not like the Scotch I’ve tried recently- it is much more American in approach. This must be from the bourbon oak.  I think it will appeal to a drinker, like myself who is still learning how to enjoy Scotch whiskey.

Balblair 1991

The Balblair is like a history lesson.  There comes a time when every imbiber seeks out the very best expression of the spirits that they can afford.  The Balblair from 1991 will not disappoint.  I’m gazing, no, peering into a dram of this whisky as if it was a veritable swimming pool of honey.  The aroma fills the room.  Freshly cut citrus, honey, heather, tarragon and bubbling spring water is the first thing I sense.  This is a gorgeous dram of history.  I suspect that each year of this liquid gold is different- as different as the grains taste from fog to fog, year to year.  The earth gives off a fragrance that is immediately recognizable on the first sip.

There is smoke, yes, but it dissipates very quickly upon swallowing.  The alcohol level is a bit less than that of the Tullibardine, but it actually tastes a bit hotter on the finish.  The oak – used bourbon oak – the same.

I’ve gone on record to say that I love rum-aged in Scotch whisky cask so maybe I’m learning to love Scotch whisky aged in bourbon cask?  I think so!

There is freshly made whole grain pancake batter in the nose and a finish of the outdoors, saline, lively and crisp.  I’d say this was a single malt whisky for the spring and summer months.  It’s lightweight and it makes you thirsty for more.  Plus, the relatively low alcohol level will not wreck you completely if you choose to take a glass or two as an aperitif!

I don’t recommend ice in this dram, just sprinkle a bit of branch or spring water over the top.  Sure, you can keep a bottle down in the wine cellar.  I enjoy drinking my Scotch from 45 to 56 degrees.  As it gets warmer, it changes and I like that change.  This is an extremely easy to drink Scotch Whiskey.  The first flavors are of freshly cut citrus fruits, toasty vanilla sugar that’s been muddled with cinnamon sticks- there’s some brown butter in there along with some grade B maple syrup.

My friend Hunter Stagg gave me some simple syrup made from Lemon Thyme the other day.  The mid-notes of the Balblair is pure lemon thyme and simple syrup.  I’m impressed to the range of flavors in each sip.  I must recommend sprinkling some spring water over the top of your dram.  It will release the emotions in every sip.

If you have a sprig of mint, or lemon thyme, slap it against your hand, sniff it deeply and have a sip of your dram.

It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  Sitting and sipping fine whisky.