The Classic Mint Julep (from a Yankee)

The Hand-Crafted Mint Julep

by Warren Bobrow, Wild Table editor, food writer and cocktail whisperer

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Heat and humidity is what says “Charleston, South Carolina” in the summertime. The air, thick with the sour smell of decay from the confluence of the Cooper and the Ashley Rivers at low tide. Fort Sumpter just out of reach, where the Civil War started they say. The mood somehow becomes somber around town. People run amok for the smallest things. Heat and the unrelenting breezes will do that — it makes them crazy!

Muddle mint and sugar — be gentle … it’s not a test of physical strength.

I was working as a chef at the Primrose House and Tavern. Joann Yaeger, the owner and creative force behind the restaurant, would gather me up at the end of a particularly busy night at the restaurant, under the broad piazzas that signified the architectural history of this former mansion, to learn the art of the hand-crafted mint julep. Bourbon would be at the ready. Sterling silver julep cups, polished to a crisp shine waiting in the wings, along with ice to be crushed, sugar to be muddled and mint just picked from the garden.

Add rye whiskey, the mother’s milk of the julep.

The Hand-Crafted Mint Julep

  1. Muddle fresh mint leaves and ice together to make a soft paste.
  2. Add a bit of brown sugar (sugar in the raw works best) and continue to muddle, adding more ice, and a splash or two of the good bourbon your pappy told you would make a fine drink.
  3. Add a touch more bourbon, some ice, some sugar, some mint. Never use metal on silver. I’ll rue the day that I allow a cocktail silver cup to touch metal other than silver. It’s just not done! The cup should frost up nicely when finished.
  4. Top off with another splash of Rye Whiskey. Use about 2 to 3 shots total for this drink.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint.

The Second Thing I Ever Published. The Saveur 100 (#30)

Tuna Melt originally published in Saveur Magazine.

Tuna Melt Canape
Enlarge Image Photo: Todd Coleman
I’ll never forget the tuna melt I used to have at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina: buttered white bread, browned to a crisp on a flattop grill; freshly made tuna salad dotted with diced celery and Georgia sweet onions; American cheese melting out the sides of the sandwich; and a side of Lay’s potato chips and slices of bread-and-butter pickles. I’ve re-created that classic tuna melt at home, and I’ve also made lots of other variations using different kinds of bread, cheese, and condiments. The results are always tasty. (See Tuna Melt Canapés.) —Warren Bobrow, Morristown, New Jersey 

Late Summer Peach Punch from Modenus (Warren Bobrow)

http://www.modenus.com/blog/kitchendesign/tgifwarren-bobrows-cocktail-hour-late-summer-peach-punch 

We are happy, no, ecstatic to be able to introduce you to our newest contributor. Warren Bobrow does not write about design, and yet, his work is all about designing; designing the perfect drink that is. Warren’s ability to not only create masterful cocktails but to carefully craft descriptions that evoke the perfect ambiance has garnered his publications great reviews, both nationally and internationally. Warren is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. He attended the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, where he successfully sought and found quite a few well prepared drinks and you can see him in person when he presents on the topic of rum at the Charleston, SC Wine and Food Festival in 2012.

And a few more claims to fame:

His research on Biodynamic and Organic Wine and Food will appear in the 2012 Oxford Encyclopedia of Food/Drink in America, Ed., 2.

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, Voda Magazine and dozens of other spirit and wine publications, nationally and internationally.)

Warren’s recipe for the “Last Pirate Ship” just appeared in Daily Candy Magazine.

He’s written food articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, NJ Monthly and does a bit of traditional newspaper food journalism.

He is one of the cocktail bloggers for Williams-Sonoma and Foodista, as well as Serious Eats.

He is a Ministry of Rum judge and, if all of that were not enough, Warren is also a trained photojournalist and shoots with the venerable Leica M8.

Now can you see why we’re not only a little bit proud to have him on Modenus ? So without further ado, we want to jump into a weekly series of TGIF: Warren Bobrow’s cocktail hour which we will, conveniently, post every Friday. Cheers!

Late Summer Peach Punch

Sometimes the most interesting cocktails are the easiest to make- you just have to know how to use a careful hand.

To kick off this end of summer cocktail- I look to the farmer’s markets that are just brimming with the flavors of the season.

Using fresh herbs in a cocktail has always intrigued me. I love cooking with basil, thyme; rosemary- they combine beautifully with vegetables and fruits in culinary arena- why not in a cocktail?

The explosion of herbaceous and spice infused rums on the market inspired me to open the tool-kit of Friday “after work” cocktails that speak clearly of the season.

When I was down in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, mixologists experimented with many culinary ingredients in their concoctions.

Late summer fruit like peaches, white rum and lemon thyme combine to make a dreamy little cocktail. I call it the Peach Punch- what makes it a punch? The addition of freshly squeezed citrus juices. The base is firmly in the tropics with the use of crisp and aromatic white rum. This drink is served elegantly in a Martini glass with a slice of peach and a leaf (or two) of lemon thyme.

Late Summer, Peach Punch

Ingredients:

The most aromatic peach you can find- just a few thin slices per cocktail is used

Lemon Thyme

Spiced rum like Sailor Jerry (in a pinch, a fruit or vanilla scented vodka)

Fresh Spearmint

Freshly squeezed lime juice (about a 2 tablespoons, it’s essential to use fresh juice!)

Crush a few slices of fresh peaches in a cocktail shaker with a few pieces of lemon thyme (no wood!)

Fresh Ice to cocktail shaker (just a few large cubes- you don’t want to dilute this cocktail)

Add fresh lime juice

Add 3 shots of spiced rum (like Sailor Jerry)  or flavored vodka

Shake until the cocktail shaker is frosty

Strain into a Martini glass – Garnish with a slapped piece of mint and sprinkle few leaves of lemon thyme over the top. To slap mint- put it in your hand and slap it with the other- it releases the oils with this motion.

 

Modenus is a domestic and european design site with a serious thirst for my creativity!

http://www.modenus.com/blog/modenusatlarge/tgif-cocktail-hour-with-warren-bobrow 

The Jimi Cocktail

I certainly didn’t invent this, but what I did do is refine it with “slapped” mint and a cucumber round and Rhum Agricole (or white Rum).

2 shots of Hendricks Gin
1 shot Rhum Agricole or white Rum
1 European (seedless) cucumber peeled and sliced into chunks (plus a few rounds)
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
Agave Syrup or Sugar Cane Syrup to taste- it’s a sweet tart kind of drink
Fresh mint/well washed
In a cocktail shaker muddle fresh lime juice with cucumber chunks and Agave Syrup until you have a nice pulp
Add Hendricks Gin and Rhum Agricole
test for sweet/tartness adjust with Agave or Cane Syrup
Add ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker is frosty
Strain into a Martini style glass and garnish with a piece of “slapped” mint and a cucumber round.
you slap mint by putting it in your hand and slapping your palm against it.
Drop mint into top of drink add a splash of club soda and get busy.
be careful.. this drink doesn’t taste like alcohol.

Some recent writing for Williams-Sonoma with thanks for the re-print.

All This Rum! A New Tiki Bar Cocktail

Ever since I sat as a Rum Judge at the 2010 Ministry of Rum tasting competition in San Francisco, the whole direction of my spirits-writing career has changed. I used to only write about wine.

Then a flash went off: wine is so serious; why not write about something fun, like spirits?

I’ve always loved rum. Rum appeals to me.

Rum is a spirit woven from history. Flavors exist within rums that don’t reveal themselves in other lighter-colored liquors. I’m a fan of rums aged in used wooden casks that formerly held bourbon or cognac. The caramelized notes of smoke, butter and bittersweet chocolate reveal themselves beautifully with the white flower aromas of freshly crushed cane sugar.

What is good rum, and how does it differ from all other rums? I’m not entirely sure. But when you’re out on a yacht, somewhere between Bermuda and the Virgin Islands, nothing tastes so delicious with some coconut water ice.

 

Over the past few years, Tiki Bar cocktail lounges have revealed themselves as funky representations of times gone past. Tiki gives credence to the easier times in America.

 

Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco faithfully reproduces a dream Tiki bar located down off a decaying pier, jutting out into a world of rotting boats and handcrafted cocktails. If a stage set of liquid pleasures could be created, Smuggler’s Cove fits the West Coast genre to a T. Over on the East Coast, on the Island of Manhattan — described as the Greatest Island in the World – PKNY – formerly named Painkiller(the name is another story for another day) has a knack for Tiki as well.

 

Here’s a Tiki Bar cocktail you’ve never had before.

 

The Yachtsman’s Demise


3 oz. Kōloa Rum from Hawaii (use their Spiced Rum for this cocktail)

1 oz. fresh mango juice

1/2 tsp. freshly chopped coconut meat

1/2 tsp. freshly scraped ginger

3 drops Bitter End Thai Bitters

6 ice cubes made with coconut water and freshly grated nutmeg (just a bit, it’s strong stuff!)

1/2 oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum

Q-Ginger Ale to finish

 

Fill a cocktail shaker with fresh ice (reserve your coconut water ice for the glass). Add the Kōloa Rum to the shaker, then the fresh mango juice, coconut meat and ginger. Add the Bitter End Thai Bitters.

 

Shake and strain into a tall Tiki (ceramic) mug filled with your coconut water and grated nutmeg ice cubes. Float the Lemon Hart 151 Rum over the top, and finish with Q-Ginger Ale. Makes 1 cocktail.

Sleepwalker’s Delight?

Cocktails for Insomniacs

by Warren Bobrow, Wild Table editor, food writer and cocktail whisperer

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This drink, code-named “The Sleepwalker’s Delight,” is of particular interest to those who, instead of sleeping, find themselves walking the floors at all hours of the night.

It’s an easy cocktail to make, especially when sleepwalking. Many of the ingredients hail to Europe, where meanderings in the nighttime are less suspect.

You won’t want to find yourself wallowing in your neighbor’s pool at 4 a.m., so be careful when sipping this warming cocktail. (Note: The aforementioned swimming pool reference is completely hypothetical and in no way related to an actual event. I plead the Fifth.)

The Somnambulist Cocktail

A few sips of this sleep-maker makes dreamweaving a whole lot easier. Cue the sheep.

  1. Pre-heat a large, chunky ceramic mug: Fill boiling hot water into the mug prior to cocktailing. Pour out just before making the drink.
  2. Prepare the spicy hot chocolate and add to the preheated mug. Add the liquors and sip carefully!

If your Somnambulist needs a chaser, try the film version of a sleepwalker’s cocktail, quite possibly the best horror film of all time. Sure, you’ll have nightmares, but you’re not sleeping anyway.

Reprint from Foodista. A series of cocktails using Rhuby

Rhuby- A surprise in my glass

September 25, 2011

My friends over at Art in the Age in Philadelphia sent me the most lovely bottle of a truly new liquor the other day.  Who is Art in the Age you ask?  They are the creative minds behind the products like Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry RumSnap and the precursor to Root Beer known simply as Root.  I actually first tasted Rhuby in the offices of Steven Grasse, the gregarious and intense owner of the Quaker City Mercantile. Steven has a way with something that is known as Brand re-Invigoration.  I just call what he does- brilliant.  Within the past few years, Steven has sold his product line to the William Grant Company from Scotland, freeing up his career to create new and interesting products, marketing for existing products and the anticipation for new ones.

Rhuby is based on the story of John Bartram the Philadelphia botanist during the 1700’s who received seeds for rhubarb from Benjamin Franklin on one of his trips to Europe.  Bartram grew rhubarb in his Philadelphia garden then concocted a tea from the rhubarb stalks and used beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar.

Of course the always inventive and creative minds of Art in the Age took this recipe and turned Bartram’s history into a most unique spirit that is unlike anything on the market.  I tasted Rhuby for the second time down in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail.  They were whipping up different cocktails with this spirit- all delicious- but what I really wanted to do was experiment with this spirit myself and make mixology history with it.  My connections in the spirits industry run deep- so I contacted my friend Laura at Art in the Age and asked her to send me a bottle of Rhuby.  Last week I received a bottle and the hunt for new and interesting cocktails was on!

(Thank you Laura!)

Rye Whiskey is one of my favorite intoxicants and the hand crafted spirits from Tuthilltown are no exception to my creativity.  Tuthilltown is a small batch distiller, just north of New York City.  I’ve championed their tiny 375ml bottles in my cocktail mixology crafting.

Faulty Aim Cocktail

Ingredients:

2 shots of Tuthilltown Manhattan Rye Whiskey

1 Shot Rhuby (USDA Certified Organic)

A few scant drops of Bitter End Memphis Barbeque Bitters

Really good ice (like Gläce)

Driscoll Organic Strawberries (USDA Certified Organic)

Preparation:

In a cocktail shaker glass, muddle a couple of the Driscoll Strawberries until they are crushed.  Add the liquors, then the bitters.   Add some regular ice (not too much)  Shake and strain into a Coupe’ glass that one Gläce gourmet ice cube sits.  Sip through and hope your aim improves!

 

The Devil’s Due

Last week, Dan Cohen from Jim Beam sent me a professional sample of their new product known as the Devil’s Cut.  What is the Devil’s Cut?  In the parlay of distillation you have the Angel’s Share.  That is of course what evaporates from the barrel during aging.  The Devil’s Cut is what soaks into the barrel.  There used to be a time when this liquor could not be extracted from the barrel, until now, through a propriatary process, the folks at Jim Beam have invented a method of extracting the soaked liquor from the barrel.  Sure this is a time consuming method, but in the end the flavor is much more intense- creamy with deep vanilla notes.  I love the stuff!

Ingredients:

2 shots Devil’s Cut Bourbon Whiskey *90 proof!*

1 Shot Rhuby

Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice *a few tablespoons*

Freshly Squeezed Lemon juice *a few tablespoons*

Bitter Cube Bolivar Bitters

Chunks of fresh Rhubarb for garnish

Preparation:

To a glass cocktail shaker add the Bourbon and the Rhuby.  Then the juices, finally a few drops of the Bolivar Bitters.  Shake well until a frost forms on the cocktail mixer.

Serve in a short “Rocks” glass with a couple of ice cubes.  Garnish with fresh Rhubarb

 

Purity Vodka is one of my favorite “new” brands of vodka.  They pot still produce this crisply aromatic vodka with all organic ingredients- so in a way, it’s a perfect match for the aromatic Rhuby with their own USDA Certified Organic designation.

Large Format Cocktail

Ingredients:

2 Shots Purity Vodka

1/2 shot Rhuby

Spray of Imbue Dry Vermouth from Oregon  (marked bittersweet on the label)

Preparation:

Spray the inside of a well chilled Martini glass with dry Vermouth

Chill and stir (don’t shake) 2 shots of Purity Vodka and 1/2 shot of Rhuby.

Strain into the Martini Glass and garnish with one gorgeous strawberry, sliced in half to release the juices.

 

Bluewater Vodka caught my eye as a domestic brand of ultra-premium vodka.  I’ve written about the owner, John Lundin in my series for the Wild River Review named theFive Questions.

Rhuby with notes of the garden fits perfectly into the scope of the Bluewater brand.  This I discovered completely by accident- as any mixologist knows is the best way to discover new drinks- by accident!

Accidental Sailor

Another Martini-Like drink- this one makes it easy to splice the main brace.

Ingredients:

2 Shots Bluewater Vodka

1 Shot Rhuby

1/2 Shot Rhum Agricole from JM Rhum (Martinique)

3 Shakes Angostura Bitters

Crushed Strawberries and Rhubarb muddled together with a few chunks of orange and grapefruit

Preparation:

Muddle the citrus fruits with the Angostura Bitters

Add the liquors and some ice cubes

Shake until combined and the shaker is frosty

Strain into a tall cocktail glass with a couple of fresh ice cubes

Garnish with a stalk of Rhubarb and one strawberry sliced to release juices.

Sip through to a night under the stars far out to sea.

 

My recipe for Rhuby in Daily Candy (Philadelphia)

Bid Farewell to Summer with The Last Pirate Ship

Make a Cocktail with Art in the Age’s Rhuby

  •  the last pirate ship cocktail recipe!

Art in the Age’s Root and Snap liqueurs created quite the buzz. Now, the collective is causing another stir with its much-anticipated spirit Rhuby, made of rhubarb, pink peppercorn, petitgrain, and other organic ingredients, based on a Revolutionary era recipe.

According to legend, Benjamin Franklin and botanist John Bartram tinkered with brewing rhubarb tea back in 1771. The boozy variation is now on shelves, just in time for a late-summer libation created by modern-day mixologist Warren Bobrow.

The Last Pirate Ship
Serves one

Ingredients
2 oz. Rhuby
1 oz. fresh lime juice
4-5 strawberries
Fleur de sel
1 sprig of thyme

1. Combine ice, Rhuby, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.

2. Toast strawberries in a cast iron pan.

3. Muddle strawberries and add to cocktail shaker.

4. Shake and strain into a rocks glass, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and garnish with a thyme sprig.