Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour: HEAT WAVE cooler…

I couldn’t wait for this heatwave to start.  Really.  All year long I’ve wanted to sweat.  That deep down burn that flows through my body.  Sweat flowing from my brow into my eyes, my back soaked on the leather seats of my car.  Yeah, you know what I’m “talking” about.  A real summer heat wave.  You cannot escape.  It’s everywhere.  An egg could be fried on the sidewalk- that kind of heat.

Fortunately I’m here to cool off your frazzled demeanor.  What is that look on your face?  You don’t believe me?

My good friends you are in luck.  I’ve created at this hour of 9:56 am on Thursday a most beguiling of cocktails.  One that will, as I like to put it, mystify and challenge even the most robust of imbibers.  This one my friends garners a 5 out of 5.  Danger Level 5.  I’m getting numb just smelling it.

The ice is as important as the rest of the cocktail.  I recommend spending about 12 bucks on a silicone ice cube tray from Williams-Sonoma.  True there are dozens of other items for sale in the store that I lust over, but for this cocktail, I need a large ice cube that melts- very, very slowly.  Ice is one of my favorite topics.

I’m a fan of liquors from the Near East.  I mean Greece and Turkey.  Raki in Turkey, Ouzo in Greece…

The Moors enjoyed liqueurs and preparations that used anise seeds.  In their attempted conquest of the world, the liquors that they enjoyed in turn influenced others cultures and peoples in the world.  Hence you find Raki in Turkey, Ouzo in Greece, Pastis in France and… Aquavit from the Scandinavian countries.  But what does Aquavit have to do with anise?  Is it because anise is a seed and caraway is a seed as well?  Sure, it’s a stretch, but in flavor transmittal, a stretch is fantastic.. Anise and Caraway just work together.

Another hidden ingredient, at least in the Near East is Rose Water.  The essence of roses can be quite sensual.  They stimulate the feelings of eroticism. I love rose in a cocktail, especially the rose simple syrup from Royal Rose.  I’ve fallen hard for their syrups, but for the summer- in my opinion, nothing goes better with Tenneyson Absinthe than rose syrup.

Blueberries from Driscoll’s.  Organically grown are the base for my cocktail.  I’ve taken these absolutely ravishing blueberries and muddled them with some of the Royal Rose simple syrup of roses until they stain the side of the mixing glass with their juices.  The aroma of blue along with rose is intoxicating to say the least.

Tenneyson Absinthe, made in France with care is clear as a glass window in the perfume grade, cut glass bottle.  But add some seltzer water and the formerly pristine color takes on a shade of cream and blue fruits.  The Aquavit from House Spirits in Portland, Oregon is a hidden Umami flavor.  You sense it.  It’s there.. but soon, very soon you will feel no pain at all.

It’s now 10:32 am.  The air is brisk but steadily heating up.  Soon the leaves outside will begin to wilt.  It’s a true heat wave. I cannot wait to sip this cocktail in the blaze of the summer heat.

You will crave one too.  Crave is not even the word I seek.  Yearn is better.  Hunger.  Thirst.

Bitters should finish this cocktail.  A punch of depth to center that little third eye in the middle of your forehead.  Why the third eye?  So you can see.  Because with your eyes closed (and they will be soon) you’ll need some way to guide you on your spiritual path to enlightenment. My friend Bill York at Bitter End Bitters makes a perfectly respectable Moroccan Bitters.  Woven with the flavors of the Middle East, this salubrious squirt of bitters it more than able to stand up to the task of binding the Absinthe to the Aquavit.

A splash of seltzer water will finish.  And keep you from walking into doors.

One cocktail at a time.  By my patient hand.  Cheers and stay cool if you are able.

BEHİYE Cocktail

Meaning beautiful in Turkish

(with a generous nod of my hat to Joy E. Stocke from the Wild River Review)

Ingredients:

Driscoll’s Blueberries- they’re really the best we can get outside of Maine…

Krogstad Aquavit

Tenneyson Absinthe

Bitter End Bitters

Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses

Preparation:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle about 1/4 cup of the Driscoll Blueberries with 2 Tablespoons of Royal Rose simple syrup of Rose until the aroma rises up in the cup, about 10 seconds

Add 1 Shot of Tenneyson Absinthe

Add 1/2 Shot of Krogstad Aquavit

Add four drops of the Bitter End Moroccan Bitters

 

Shake for exactly 15 seconds and pour into a lovely hand blown rocks glass where 2 LARGE ice cubes are resting, patiently…  Add a splash of cooling seltzer and dream.

 

J. Madison Mutt Cocktail by: Warren Bobrow-Cocktail Whisperer

J. Madison Mutt Cocktail

Ingredients to make 2 rather potent cocktails

2 Shots of Maker’s Mark 46

1 Shot of Tenneyson or Lucid Absinthe or your choice

1 Shot of Conjure Cognac or your choice

Seared Tangerines and Lemons (carefully peel to remove bitter pith)

2 Tablespoons of Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 Tablespoons of Dark Maple Syrup

Lemon Peel garnish

Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters

Preparation:

In a stainless steel pan, sear the citrus fruits and set aside to cool

Muddle seared citrus in your shaker and then add a bit of ice to the shaker

Add Liquors, Bourbon, Absinthe, Cognac

Add Syrups

Shake and strain into a short rocks glass with a couple cubes of ice and garnish with a lemon peel and a couple drops of the Bitter End Jamaican Bitters

Ginger Simple Syrup

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

1 Ginger Root peeled and grated (use a small ginger root)

Boil Sugar into water and add ginger root until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and let steep with the ginger for a couple of hours before using.

Ginger Syrup!!!

A Limerick for Laurel

Cocktail hour with Warren Bobrow – A Limerick for Laurel cocktail

There was a fine gal named Laurel.

Who never put up with any Quarrel

She married fair Bill

Whose true voice that she willed

So there would never be bitters to spoil!

 

The clouds are rushing in this morning. Rain is pouring heavily from the sky in buckets. Someone said something about heavy thunderstorms and sixty- degree weather. This is not winter- I’m confused. Certain types of confusion- such as the weather do strange things to my sense of normal. But what is normal these days? Is it finally Winter?

I hope so. This may be just an anomaly.

It’s a mere blip on the radar screen.

While down in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail- I had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying a cocktail at the historic carousel bar at the Monteleone Hotel with my friend Bill York of Bitter End Bitters and his lovely wife Laurel. As the carousel made the slow go-round and all those around me became more and more sloshed, (present company excluded) my cocktail driven sense of self detached from the reality of the situation. Now, many months later, I’m reminded of the restoratives served at the Carousel Bar and the friends I made while circling the room as the seconds ticked away.

Cheers!

A Limerick for Laurel Cocktail

( A VERY twisted takeoff on the classic cocktail named Bees Knees)

Makes one very dangerous drink. Stay off the roads!

  1. 2 Shots of a very smoky Bourbon Whiskey like Devil’s Cut from Jim Beam
  2. 1 Shot fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 Shot freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 2 tablespoons Lavender/Lemon Simple Syrup from Royal Rose
  5. 2 tablespoons of wildflower honey
  6. Bitters (your choice) I prefer the Thai Bitters from Bitter End

 

Preparation: To a cocktail shaker- add ½ with ice. Add Scotch, honey, juices and bitters, shake and pour into a short glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a grilled orange slice and sip to the mournful sound of that strange, yet familiar song from Chet Baker- My Funny Valentine- all sung in minor notes. Very appropriate for a 60 plus degree winter day.

 

 Cheers! Wb the Cocktailwhisperer.com

Magic Monk Eventual Dream Punch by: Warren Bobrow

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

January 12, 2012

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:

2 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe or your choice of Absinthe

.25 oz. Chartreuse VEP

4 oz. 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!

http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

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.

 

Culinary Cocktails

What happens when a man is snowbound with only his wits and his sideboard? He crafts a perfectly balanced flight of cocktails:  too cool!

Passage to India

We just had some snow, about 8 inches this time. The last time it was about two feet. Everything is covered in a fine white dust. It’s quite lovely to look at as long as you’re inside and not shoveling. A friend of mine just sent a lovely container of Fig and Pear Chutney. I had been looking at some photographs of India and it churned my imagination. There was a picture of the Ganges River comingonto the computer screen and I thought of a Passage to India cocktail.

  • 2 shots Bluewater Organic Vodka
  • 1 tablespoon of a spicy chutney (homemade if possible)
  • 1 or 2 saffron threads
  • Orange peel
  1. Add crushed ice and vodka to a cocktail shaker. Do not shake or stir.
  2. Add spicy chutney to a well-chilled martini glass.
  3. Strain iced vodka into the glass and garnish with saffron threads and an orange peel.

The Red Hour Cocktail

The Red Hour Cocktail’s inspiration comes from the Star Trek show of the same name. How completely rational people can go quite crazy when the clock strikes The Red Hour.

  • 2 shots Siesta Key White Rum
  • 1 or two drops of Bitter End Thai Bitters
  • Freshly squeezed orange and lime juice (just enough)
  • Q-Tonic Water
  1. Add a few cubes of ice to a cocktail shaker, then the rum, followed by bitters, then fruit juices.
  2. Shake. Strain onto fresh ice in a tall glass.
  3. Top with a few splashes of Q-Tonic Water and a RED Cherry.

The Pure Driven Snow

Another cool-as-ice cocktail. If you live anywhere outside the tropics this year, you’re in the snow belt and understand the inspiration for this drink.

  • 1 wheat beer such as Brooklyn Brewery Hopfen-Weisse
  • 2 shots Anchor Junipero Gin
  • 1 lime in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar cane syrup
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in beer and gin.
  2. Add lime and syrup.
  3. Shake very gently, or the drink will foam wildly.
  4. Serve in a short glass with fresh ice.

Morning awake

  • 2 shots Calvados
  • 1 shot good cognac
  • Hot Black Tea to fill a mug
  • Scraping of fresh nutmeg
  1. Serve hot.

Sleepy time, sleepy time! 

Thirst Quenching Cocktails

Friends of mine just got back from attending the Tecate 500 off road race in Mexico. They scoffed at all the attention Mexico has received, often unfairly over the last few months. Mexico is a place of many incongruities. Our newspapers shout about how dangerous it is, but here in Baja California, it’s the same as it ever was … A mixture of ex-pats from the United States and back to the future locals who live on surfing, fish tacos and fine locally produced wines. Beer is popular too, as refreshment against the relentless sun. Lime is good for food and beer to raise the flavors up to higher levels (plus it acts as a preservative) and rum, as we all know is safer to drink than the local water.

The grueling, off-road car and motorcycle race known as the Tecate 500 is one of those events that make you thirsty before you even get out of the air-conditioning in your hotel into the blistering heat of Baja, California.

A quenching pair of rum cocktails: Trouble in Paradise and The 500 Cocktail.

The 500 Cocktail

  • 1 Tecate Mexican Beer
  • 2 shots Denizen Rum
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 splashes simple syrup
  • Fresh mint
  1. Muddle mint with lime chunks and simple syrup to a nice paste in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add some ice and the rum.
  3. Shake, pour into a chilled glass and top with Tecate.

I grew up between New Jersey, Europe and the British Virgin Islands. My family owned a sailboat and they lolled away the winter months basking in the sun and reveling in the trade winds that wound their way up from the Brazilian coast to the Caribbean Sea.

This little cocktail, a twist on the classic punch, is reminiscent of those enjoyed in the British Virgin Islands. Great local rums sold there have a rich history of flavors. Many of these speak the stories of pirates, privateers and forced hard labor in the relentless, brutal heat. Clean water sources are rare, rum costs less than water on many of these islands, so you drink rum!

Trouble in Paradise

  • 3 shots Denizen White Rum
  • 1 ounce each freshly squeezed lime, orange, grapefruit and lemon juices (to ward off scurvy)
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar or cane sugar syrup from Martinique
  • Coconut water, frozen in ice cube trays (I use Goya)
  • Several shakes Bitter End Thai Bitters
  • Splash club soda (use instead of soda water, you’ll need the addition of salt in the heat)
  • Orange and lime zest to garnish
  1. Add several cubes of coconut water ice to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add rum, fruit juices and bitters. (The Bitter End line of cocktail bitters may well be the most assertive and flavor-driven bitters I’ve ever tasted.)
  3. Shake and finish with a splash or two of club soda.
  4. Serve in an old fashioned glass, with several cubes of coconut water ice, garnished with lime and orange zest.