Back in time- way before Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded on the Weehawken Cliffs, defending his perceived honor- the young officer served under General George Washington. He was posted to the winter headquarters of the Continental Army in Morristown, NJ. It was in this quaint village that Hamilton met with the young Betsy Schuyler. He made his intentions clear- and married her. All would have been well and good if it wasn’t for the vast quantities of potent fermented spirits that were poured down the gullet from dawn to dusk rendering even the stoutest gentlemen into a blithering idiot by late afternoon.
Tuaca- Dark Rum from Atlantico- Angostura Bitters, Grade B Maple Syrup and charred citrus fruits make up this week’s cocktail experience.
The inspiration for this drink came during dinner a few weeks ago at the highly regarded modern American restaurant named Serenade; located in Chatham, NJ.
They prepare a cocktail that’s similar in scope, using sweet vermouth and chopped apples named the Chatham cocktail.
I love it.
In keeping with my twisted cocktail logic, I deepened the version served at Serenade by adding Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth, Tuaca- the savory Mexican Vanilla / Citrus Liqueur, Atlantico Dark Rum, a muddle of chopped, grilled citrus fruits (tangerine, orange, grapefruit) with Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup and finally a few dashes of Angostura Bitters with a splash of Perrier.
I call this drink the Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail in reverence to the coming week’s activities.
I’ll be traveling to Charleston, South Carolina to judge the Iron Cocktail Competition at the renowned Charleston Wine and Food Festival.
With regards to the Iron Mixologist competition I will be judging, William Grant & Sons is sponsoring this competition and the back bar will feature their entire portfolio (or most of it). Their master mixologist Charlotte Voisey will be the master of ceremonies. The competition is 3 rounds. The 4 mixologists involved are Charleston locals and were the finalists in the Official Festival Mixologist Competition in January for the Festival featuring Milagro Tequila + Hendrick’s Gin. They are:
Jon Calo of The Cocktail Club
Mick Matricciano of The Belmont (Mick won the competition in January + his cocktail will be featured at the opening night party)
Evan Powell of Fish Restaurant
The first round will have all 4 competing against one another to create a specific themed drink (decided by Charlotte). You and the other judges – Junior Merino, The Liquid Chef and Nicholas Polacchi, The Balvenie – will then narrow the finalists down to 3 who will then go to the next round to create a specific themed cocktail (decided by Charlotte). The second round will continue like the first and the 3rd will be the final two.
The competition is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM on Friday, March 2, 2012 in the culinary village in Marion Square in the Palmetto Cheese Culinary Hub Tent.
If you are anywhere near Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, stop by and introduce yourself.
The Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail– is named for the surfeit of Spanish Moss that hangs gracefully from the “live oak” trees.
Atlantico Dark Rum
Tuaca Italian Liqueur
Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
Charred Citrus Fruits – combinations are up to you. Sear in a sizzling hot pan until crunchy, then muddled with the Angostura Bitters and Maple Syrup
Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup
In a sauté pan that is heated to smoking hot, sizzle the citrus fruits until nicely charred and crunchy
Add a couple of chunks of the seared fruits to a cocktail mixing glass
Muddle with a few splashes of Angostura Bitters to release their aroma and juice
Add 2 Tablespoons of Dark Amber Maple Syrup and muddle a bit more
Add 2 shots of the Atlantico Rum
Add ½ Shot of the Tuaca
Add a couple cubes of ice to the cocktail shaker
Shake and strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass
Garnish with a chunk of grilled citrus fruit and finish with a splash of Perrier for spark
I just spent the past week down at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. This explains why there wasn’t a Friday cocktail last week. I was too busy. In between judging the Iron Mixology Competition and that lovely party at Nathalie Dupree’s home- time just slipped away from me. Maybe it was the soft Southern accent, or the Antebellum architecture.
Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lovely luncheon I enjoyed at Martha Lou’s Kitchen, feasting on a fried pork chop with a side of textbook macaroni and cheese- I’m getting hungry all over again. Almost makes the 15- hour drive from New Jersey to Charleston and 16 hours to return home worth while.
If you are ever in Charleston, South Carolina- please visit Martha Lou’s Kitchen over on Morrison Drive. Order the fried chicken or a fried pork chop.
Don’t deny yourself a large cup of sweet iced tea. It’s so sweet that your teeth will ache for days afterwards and if you have the chance, please say hello to Martha Lou for me.
She’s a true American treasure- Don’t let Saveur Magazine tell you that- they did already.
This leads me to the cocktail of the week. It is called the Rabble Rouser. Not because I am one- perhaps in a small way, yes I am- more of a Rebel Rouser than a true dyed in the wool Rabble Rouser- but I digress. This cocktail is better enjoyed by the bucketful. In a crowd? Certainly yes.
I like to stir things up. It is my métier.
Cocktails like this one can create a certain tension. This means to an outsider, to stir up trouble. I’ve always said of myself- trouble finds me.
Rabble Rouser Cocktail
1. 2 shots Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey or your choice of Bourbon
2. 1 shot Lucid Absinthe or your choice of Absinthe
3. Regan’s Bitter (citrus) a couple of shakes or Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
4. Grade B Maple Syrup a few drops
Preparation: To a cocktail shaker add ½ with ice.
Add the Bourbon to the Absinthe
Add bitters and maple syrup
Shake and strain into a short cocktail glass.
(Similar to a Sazerac)