Punch is an easy way to show your appreciation to your guests and what better way than with the brightest and freshest of fruits of the season?
May I suggest first empowering your bar-backs. What? Aren’t they more concerned with making your fresh juices and polishing the glassware? Well, they should be doing that- and then some. When you truly want to raise the bar, and promote from the bottom up, the best way that I know how to find talented future bartenders is through the art of a late summer punch.
It takes an understanding of the classics, starting with Jerry Thomas. Mr. Thomas for all intents and purposes is our inspiration for what we consider the classic cocktails. He was plying his craft a hundred or more years before you disappointed your grandparents by pitching that law degree in favor of slinging Ramos Gin Fizzes to thirsty hordes of newly minted revelers.
Jerry Thomas wrote the famous book named the Bartenders Guide (also known as “how to mix drinks” and sometimes known as: The Bon-Vivant’s Companion). His work is as relevant today as it was in the 1840’s and maybe even more so now- with the rediscovery of classic cocktails and nostalgic methodology. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think the first thing a bar owner or restaurant owner should do is get a copy of “how to mix drinks” and start working out of it.
Jerry Thomas Brandy Punch
As interpreted by myself with seasonal embellishments… like Cognac over plain brandy and the use of Champagne instead of plain water.
- 1-750ml bottle of Champagne
- 1-750ml bottle Camus XO
- 375ml Jamaican Rum- find a natural one without added sugar or caramel color
- 2 cups Double Simple Syrup (2:1 Turbanado Sugar to boiling water)
- 10 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 3 oz. Grenadine
- Whole pineapple sliced and grilled until nicely caramelized
- 2 oranges sliced into rounds and grilled
- 1 package of organic raspberries
- Mix all the ingredients in a large punch bowl
- Add a block of ice to dilute and add coolness to the punch
- Serve in tea cups with a smile
Another great Professor Jerry Thomas drink is known simply as the Gin Punch. I think it’s a must do in your repertoire because gin is a very popular drink- there always is some left to use in punch. Quite refreshing and thirst quenching during the hot months in the late Summer.
Classic Gin Punch- influenced by Professor Jerry Thomas Gin Punch
- 1-750 ml bottle of Barr Hill “Tom Cat” Gin (distilled by hand from Raw Honey and local grain and aged in a whiskey cask)
- 375ml Champagne
- 1 cup raspberries- pureed
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice- un-strained but seeded
- 1-12 oz. bottle of cane sugar based Ginger Beer (like Q-Ginger Beer)
- Shake with a Boston Shaker until frothy and serve with about a cup of fresh raspberries and orange/lemon pinwheels
- Serve in a large punch bowl with plenty of ice
The final cocktail of this series is made with a combination of rum and rye whiskey. I’ve chosen to use the magnificently made Barrell Rye Whiskey #001 and their equally salubrious Whiskey Barrel aged Jamaican Rum. Pretty amazing stuff together, the interplay of wood against smoke and char surrounding the dry coffee tinged sweetness of the rye whiskey.
Rum and Whiskey Punch
- 1 750ml Bottle Barrell Rye Whiskey
- ½ 750ml Bottle Barrell Rum (Jamaica)
- 1 cup Double Simple Syrup (as above)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- Crushed Ice
- Grilled Orange Pinwheels
- Fill Glasses with the Crushed Ice to cool
- Into a cocktail mixing glass, fill ¾ with bar ice
- Add the liquid ingredients
- Stir, stir, stir
- Strain over freshly crushed ice in the glasses and garnish with grilled orange pinwheels
Farm to Table Cannabis
Episode 4 with Tyrone Jones Medicated BBQ Sauce,
Warren Bobrow The Cocktail Whisperer
Watch on Vimeo:
When the temperature rises above 90 degrees for what seems like days on end. When the swamp that is slowly running down your back makes a beeline for your brow- burning on the way down… you know that it is time for a refreshing little cocktail. One that smacks of tart and slightly acerbic flavor- a touch of smoke- a hint of sweet- the peel of citrus, the oil of grapefruit. I think I known what I love to drink is none other than the Hemingway Daiquiri. Here are five riffs on the classic Hemingway mind eraser. Two have medical grade Cannabis in the mix- I’ll suggest the strains too.
Decarbing is essential to my method of making cocktails that have the good stuff in them. THC. I don’t work with CBD, so please- don’t ask. I know nothing of it- and quite frankly think most of it is a shameless money grab. Hemp is rope, building materials, cosmetics- not carefully crafted cocktails made with non-commercial spirits. I’ve been pretty clear on this one from day one. I suggest looking at that snake-oil (CBD) being dripped into your gin and tonic then ask what exactly is this going to do? Absolutely nothing- because the product has nothing psycho-active in it. My late step-father was always dismayed when he couldn’t buy Hemp lines for his yacht. He’d say- cut a piece and smoke it.
Healers and Tipplers-
Bitters from the past and the present.
During the 1800’s immigrants came to the New World from far off lands. Some of these early settlers brought their primitive methods of healing with them in the form of root teas, bitters, tonics and elixirs. Root teas were already well established for healing from the Native Americans who lived in the New World and they taught the immigrants methods of healing, some of which still exist today.
Bitters are powerfully concentrated forms of herbal healing that date back to the dawn of man. They are still used for ailments that range from stomach disorders to the healing of circulatory systems in the body. Bitters also have a secondary purpose. Not only do they have medicinal purposes but their bitter flavor and concentrated aromatics that just happen to be delicious in cocktails.
It’s pretty well established that bitters have been used in the cocktail arts since Antoine Amédée Peychaud created his namesake bitters in the earliest concoctions that evolved into our modern day cocktails.
Peychaud’s Bitters were originally created to stave off dysentery and other debilitating afflictions of the digestive tract. Please remember that during the mid 1800’s, refrigeration and good sanitary practices were all but unknown so the use of bitters in healing was not just a trend, they were absolutely necessary!
Some of the oldest brands are still used today like Peychaud’s Aromatic Bitters. Indispensible in cocktails like the Sazerac, Peychaud’s distinctively red color seems to signify strength and power over illnesses of the belly. Angostura Bitters an equally venerable brand was also originally formulated to be effective for afflictions of the digestive tract. Angostura was invented by Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a German doctor in the mid 1800’s, for use in curing stomach disorders. Tropical temperatures were not conducive for the preservation of food thus stomach ailments were prevalent during this pre-electricity period. Bitters such as Angostura and Peychaud’s, although still in use today in the concoction of cocktails, are rarely used for their original purpose. But if you have a hangover or a stomach ache there are scarcely any non-medicinal products available on the market today that work as effectively without synthetically produced, chemical ingredients.
The craft cocktail explosion in recent years has given creative mixologists and ardent cocktail enthusiasts the opportunity to introduce concentrated herbal and fruit driven flavors to their cocktails. But many modern day bartenders and mixologists may not be aware of the rich history of bitters. For both Classic Cocktails and the newer versions of the classics, bitters are a thing of the past in a very modern context. The original bitters developers in Sweden, France and Germany would scarcely have imagined the direction that the cocktail industry has taken towards flavor driven augmentations. What we have now in the cocktail world are creative mixologists unleashing flavor combinations that evoke the past, and through this past we have the present.
Today’s Cocktail and Speakeasy bars will have dozens of bitters on hand. Their purpose is to add an element of surprise– to unlock a secret only known to flavor. That is what high end drinking is all about. And the quality of your bitters are as important as the syrups, juices, tonics and liquors.
If you are thinking of opening a bottle of tonic water you should try Q-Tonic or perhaps some Fever Tree Tonic. I’m inclined to mix some Tomr’s Tonic or maybe some Jack Rudy with either Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water or Polar Sparkling Water.
The thoughts of bitter and sweet in a mixed drink acts like a metaphor for life itself. Bitters are not just for stomach aches any longer!
Here is a list of the best bitters that are available today:
The venerable Angostura Bitters is not only for healing the stomach, but it’s also gorgeous in a drink known simply as the Pink Gin. Just a few drops of Angostura Bitters in a cupful of gin will administer great healing!
The modern uses of Peychaud’s Bitters are not so far from the original uses, in the cocktail still known today as the Sazerac.
|The Bitter Truth-
From Germany, made with concentrated flavors that evoke fruits, herbs and spices. The name says it all!
Produced by hand, these bitters are created to add new dimensions to mixed drinks.
Decidedly antagonistic bitters for the most fevered dreams you can imagine. With bitters like Thai, Moroccan, Mexican Mole, Jamaican Jerk, Curry, Chesapeake Bay and Memphis Barbecue, these flavors are not for the meek. They shout, no, they scream in ancient languages not yet discovered. Their flavors exploit the fearful and reward the fearless. A mere drop of the Curry Bitters in a gin and tonic will take the drinker down the steamy path to a crocodile infested swamp. Someplace where the mosquitoes grow larger than your fist and your sunburned flesh is on the menu as the chef’s special of the day. Curry is a favored ingredient to cool the body. The turmeric element is a powerful curative against all forms of malaise. And the brooding alcohol level of Bitter End Bitters teaches us that all is not what it seems. Watch out for the Curry. They will pitch you over the edge if you’re not careful.
is an uncommon name for a most profoundly concentrated and friendly spirit augmentation from one of my favorite places on the globe, Vancouver, BC. And the owners are really cool too.
are aromatic and potent. Their Vanilla Bark is marvelous in a rum punch and the Bolivar Bitters unlock long gone spirits and bring flavor right into the present tense.
|Bitters, Old Men-
There are over a dozen concentrated bitters from this Brooklyn based bitters alchemist. With flavors like Smoke Gets in your Bitters and Krangostura, an aromatic bitters befitting Krang, the villainous anthropomorphic brain from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these are not your grandmom’s bitters for healing a cold.
The venerable brand from New York State is just about the most historic brand on the market aside from Angostura and Peychaud’s. Recently the brand has branched out from the simply ravishing Whiskey Barrel Bitters to the aromatic and beguiling Cranberry Bitters along with their perennial favorites like Mint, West Indian Orange, Grapefruit and Celery.
|Dale DeGroff’s Pimento-
is a lush, aromatic and deeply sensual bitter from cocktail master, Dale DeGroff and Jade Alchemist Ted Breaux. This is not the typical “sock in the mouth” version of the spicy pimento, but a deeply layered experience that includes Caribbean spices, anise and aromatic healing herbs.
from Colorado are an apothecary lesson in each sip. They use aromatics like the other bitters on the market, yet take a devilish turn towards traditional ingredients such as chamomile, long known for restorative and healing elements.
|Dr. Adam Elmegirab-
The bluntly talented bitters manufacturer produces historically correct versions of bitters such as the Teapot Bitters and the luscious Boker’s Bitters.
makes a Chocolate Bitters that approaches otherworldly amongst other pure and concentrated flavors.
|AZ Bitters Lab-
Lush and pure with concentrated flavors gathered from ingredients including exotic Mexican chocolate and sumptuous orange peels. My favorite in iced tea (with bourbon) is the Mexican Mole bitters!
|Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6-
Citrus flavors mesh beautifully with brown liquors and white (clear) liquors. They add spark and an edge to a mixed drink. Woven with Asian spices, this hearty reminder of pre-prohibition cocktailian pleasures gives depth and a crisp sense of purity to many different types of mixed drinks. What is not said about bitters on the label may well be the most important of all. They are good for you! Originally bitters were used as powerful healing for all sorts of ailments from the digestive tract to general malaise. These are the hidden pleasures of bitters. If you have a bellyache, try adding about five splashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters to a glass of seltzer water, drink it down and then repeat after an hour or so. I think you will find your breath refreshed and your stomach calmed.
From the Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, upstate New York, these bitters offer a slightly different approach to the creation of the typical cocktail bitters. The reworked recipe includes, rye whiskey, herbs, spices and maple syrup. These bitters are not your typical cocktail augmentation, but ones that offer a deeper and more concise trip into the darker side of a cocktail. They allow the drinker to find hidden meaning in every sip. The maple syrup is a favored ingredient in Minetta Tavern’s Maple Syrup Sazerac. This new classic cocktail based on the traditional Sazerac has the addition of a richly textured maple syrup in the mix of rye whiskey and absinthe. Basement Bitters have harnessed the maple syrup component in their sharply delineated bitters. A hit of sarsaparilla adds a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the maple. These are thirst-slaking bitters that are absolutely at home in a mixture of brown liquor and sweet vermouth. Or they may be enjoyed simply in a glass of seltzer water with a peel of citrus.
from Brooklyn, NY is a crisp reminder that all in bitters are not the same. First of all the name is different than others on the market. They call the bitters Hella Bitter, offering “complexity and depth” to a drink. I see it very much the same way being a former cook. The world of Hella Bitter is a very familiar place in my life of harnessing flavor. The name is also different. Bitter not Bitters. I love the way the Hella Aromatic Bitter perks up a rum punch, or perhaps the citrus bitter in a very twisted drink with botanical gin as the primary intoxicant. Hella is about to shake up your palate, so make sure you bring an open mind to the bar.
Known as “bitter liquor”, is especially helpful when trying to vanquish a hangover or after a filling meal. It is also the ingredient in cocktails that adds depth and balance. The herbs and spices give great potency and balance to a number of cocktail experimentations. Personally speaking, I enjoy Fernet-Branca in a Rum and Coke. Other times Fernet-Branca is delicious with seltzer water and a pinwheel of lime as a powerful curative for what ails you. A couple drops in a Bloody Mary, for example, acts with as much intensity as a few drops of Angostura Bitters.
A Successful Tale
We’re back from Tales of the Cocktail and we wanted to share with you photos from the event. Enjoy!
‘Meet the Distillers Happy Hour’ With Warren Bobrow mixing up the drinks, and our very own Draga Culic, helping pour — the guests were in for a treat this year.On Thursday, July 20th at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, the event circulated over 300 thirsty guests including mixologists, trade, media and distributors. We served three simple, but delicious cocktails. Our star cocktail of the evening, Pink Grazz, with Ramazzotti Apertivo Rosato with fruitations pink grapefruit, a splash of seltzer, topped with a grapefruit slice. The second cocktail, a Ramule, with Ramazzotti Amaro, ginger beer, topped with an orange slice. Lastly, our Mexicotti City, with Ramazzotti Sambuca and Mexican coke.
All in all, the event was a great success!
“Meet the Distillers Happy Hour”
With Warren Bobrow mixing up the drinks, and our very own Draga Culic, helping pour — the guests were in for a treat this year.
On Thursday, July 20th at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans, the event circulated over 300 thirsty guests including mixologists, trade, media and distributors. We served three simple, but delicious cocktails. Our star cocktail of the evening, Pink Grazz, with Ramazzotti Apertivo Rosato with fruitations pink grapefruit, a splash of seltzer, topped with a grapefruit slice. The second cocktail, a Ramule, with Ramazzotti Amaro, ginger beer, topped with an orange slice. Lastly, our Mexicotti City, with Ramazzotti Sambuca and Mexican coke.
All in all, the event was a great success!
We went beyond pot brownies with two leaders in the world of culinary cannabis — Warren Bobrow, author of “Cannabis Cocktails” and Jennifer Shelbo, former pastry chef turned expert in cannabis farming and sustainability.
THIS WEEK ON RECOMMENDED READING:
Today on Recommended Reading with Food Book Fair we explore the world of culinary cannabis with two leaders in the field — Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails and Jennifer Shelbo, former pastry chef turned expert in cannabis farming and sustainability.
Are you mystified by cheese? Do you see a cheese plate and instinctively think that it’s an expensive dessert? Have you ever taken a cheese class? Would you know that cheese goes really well with spirits?
If your answers are yes, no, no and no, then you’ll probably be hungry – and hopefully thirsty by the time you finished reading. Why? Because cheese is not pretentious, nor is it only for dessert! In fact, cheese is something that is made by hand in the same manner as it has for hundreds of years- and cheese is created by farmers! There are certainly machine-made cheeses, but for the intent of this article, all the cheeses in the classes at the French Cheese Board in Manhattan are made by hand in the ancient fashion of the cheese maker. So, you should not be mystified.
Far from mystified, what is needed to truly TASTE cheese is to cut off your ability of smelling the cheese first. There are many taste receptors in our mouths that are incredibly sensitive, but unfortunately most cheese is tasted with our noses first. And if you can close your eyes while you are tasting cheese, there is another whole set of senses that are fooled by your visual sensibility.
Located in the trendy-eastern fringes of SoHo, where the old city collides with Nolita, the French Cheese Board in its handsome and sleek space. It is filled with ample sunlight and is a very friendly place indeed. This outpost of French culture in the Big City, seeks to demystify cheese by taking cheese out of its usually pretentious context completely. Instead of merely snacking on cheese, they suggest carefully tasting cheese, but not overwhelming the plate with superfluous parts. Instead of a grilled-cheese sandwich, serving a small cheese slice- served simply with dried fruit, plain crackers (so not to overpower the delicate flavors) and perhaps some rugged coins of dry baguette will more than suffice as an accompaniment.
The ancient style of making cheese, on a cheese board, or alone- Goat Cheese is a fine way to start a meal. I tend to prefer a combination of old and new goat cheeses, carefully rolled into a log and then further aged in straw- in a special cheese cave. This amalgamation of funky and sweet calls out for a number of liquid accompaniments. Many of the liquids that I suggest for goat cheese are not wine. Goat cheese, especially aged (chalky and funky in the somewhat barnyard nose) takes to the more botanical style of gin with a tongue in cheek sense of humor. There is nothing that I enjoy more in the summer months than a gin and tonic with a nice crumbly goat cheese between my fingers. For the gin component I’d suggest the Barrel Aged Barr Hill Tom Cat (style). A couple months in new American oak translates to a richening and deepening of the already sensuous quality inherent in each sip of Barr Hill Gin. A touch of vanilla, toasty oak and raw honey reveal themselves into a tangle of sweet and tangy across the palate. Couple with that a cane sugar tonic water such as Q-Tonic (from Brooklyn no less), a hunk of lime and you have the next wave of cheese sophistication. This is the way I want to start my next meal, with elegance and candor.
A firm, well aged, mountain-style cheese from the French Alps calls out for a whisky from Japan that mimics in its own inimitable way the magnificent Scotch Whiskies from the other side of the globe. For a firm, yet oily cheese such as these highly expressive examples from the extreme altitudes of the Alps, a richly textured whisky provides back-bone against the creamy firmness of the hand-made cheese. The Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is distilled drop by precious drop from a Coffey still dating to the early 1960’s. A Coffey Still is a type of Pot Still made of copper. It makes richly textured liquor that has a warm nutty flavor in its approach. Similar on the flavor wheel to the earthy quality of the French- mountain cheeses. A fine match for stimulating the palate before or even after dinner.
Francois, the gregarious and ever-smiling “Professeur de Fromage” comes from a long line of cheese makers. His studied and conversational flair for history is filled with humorous narratives and beneficial hints to the history of cheese. All of these made even more interesting because of the ultimate enjoyment of the finest cheeses available and he does this without any pretentiousness. He demystifies the different varieties, goat, sheep, cow- and breaks each one down into its unique components of flavor. Sour, sweet, tangy, umami- what? What is that? I think it’s the indescribable flavor. The one between here and there. Confusing? Perhaps it is- but after taking a most basic class at the French Cheese Board you’ll certainly be less confused, and considerably more knowledgeable in the art of cheese as more than a metaphor.
Getting back to how flavor is revealed, Francois offers you a mask to cover your eyes with a and your nose is closed with a kind of swimmer’s nose clip. This is to encourage textural feeling the surface of the cheese through your fingers, neither smelling the cheese, nor viewing it.
Is the cheese dry, soft, grainy, crumbly, wet, sticky, polished…?
The list of textures goes on and on.
French cheese comes in all forms, from hard, used for grating, to liquefied and unctuous, meant to be spooned and savored. There are many varieties and no, cheese is not just for dessert. It makes for an incredible aperitif with slivers of black footed Spanish Iberico Ham, meant to stimulate the thirst and the appetite.
For nibbling on Iberico Ham and Washed Rind Cheese I would suggest a slightly salty “Fino” Style Sherry such as the Bodegas Grant “La Garrocha” Fino Sherry NV (Andalucia, Spain) The crisp and aromatic nature of this nearly bone dry sherry will cut the fat both of the cheese and the pork flesh with alacrity.
Sure, you can enjoy cheese without a blindfold on and certainly without a nose clip blocking your passage to the ability of scent. But isn’t it interesting to dismiss most French cheeses because they may be overly assertive in aromatics. That is certainly a fact of life when dealing with washed rind cheeses and still others that turn into liquefaction through aging and cannot be eaten without a spoon, it would just be too sloppy! But delicious!
Cheese and the study of cheese is as easy as taking a walk down to the French Cheese Board, conveniently located at 41 Spring Street in Nolita. Bring and open mind and taste yourself into another way of being. One that embraces the passion for hand-made cheese!
Cheers from all of us at
California Weed Farms and Wineries Pair Up
Picture this: You’re enjoying one of Northern California’s famed wine tours — travelling to sunny vineyards, sampling the finest pinot noir, dining on farm-to-table meals. But this jaunt entails a few extra stops: sanctioned visits to local cannabis farms, where you’re welcome to tour the fragrant marijuana plants and sample the latest Mendocino Kush in the on-site tasting rooms.
Excursions like this could be the result of the first-ever Wine and Weed Symposium, a business conference being held on August 3 in Santa Rosa, California. The symposium itself isn’t that remarkable; these days you can find every sort of cannabis-themed event, from marijuana business expos to job fairs to cannabis religious services. What is noteworthy is that this conference is being organized by the Wine Industry Network, a wine marketing and events company, and organizers say three-quarters of the sold-out event’s 400 registrants are from the wine industry, a business not necessarily known for its counterculture leanings. Wine Industry Network CEO George Christie says the marijuana industry is similarly excited about the endeavor. “When we talked to cannabis people, they were like, ‘I love wine. What can we do to help?’” says Christie. “I think the wine industry is going to find a very willing partner in the cannabis business.”