The French Cheese Board

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?

If your answers are yes, no and no, then you’ll probably be hungry – and 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- by farmers!  There are certainly machine-made cheeses, but for the intent of this article, all the cheeses are made by hand in the 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.

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 in the cheese) and perhaps some coins of slightly dry baguette will more than suffice.

Cheese in this manner is a compliment to food, not a means to an end after dinner when you are full.

Francois, the gregarious and ever-smiling “Professeur de Fromage” comes from a long line of cheese makers.  His studied and conversational flair of instruction is filled with humorous narratives and beneficial hints.  All of these made even more interesting because of the ultimate enjoyment of the finest cheeses available.  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.

Getting back to how flavor is revealed, Francois covers your eyes with a black eye mask and closes off your nose with a kind of swimmer’s nose clip.  This is to encourage feeling the texture of the cheese through your fingers, without 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 hand cut slices of black footed Spanish Iberico Ham, meant to stimulate the appetite.

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!

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 an open mind and taste yourself into another way of being.  One that embraces the passion for hand-made cheese!

   

 

8 Absolute Must-Have Bar Accessories Dad Wants For Father’s Day

Father's Day

Photo by Sandy Aknine/Getty Images

If I was to suggest several must haves for Father’s Day, I would recommend some items that are esoteric, yet attainable on the national market. And why my recommendations? I have, according to many, the abilities as a “taste-maker” so please allow me that small slice of an opportunity to share some of my Father’s Day gifts for the home cocktail bar.

Read more at: https://thefreshtoast.com/culture/8-absolute-must-have-bar-accessories-dad-wants-for-fathers-day/amp

Cocktails And Dreams

Turns out that nobody knows more about crafting the perfect cannabis cocktail than our good friend Warren Bobrow, author of the finest craft cocktail books, including the “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics”. Bobrow has spent years experimenting with various drinks, tinctures and modifiers that give a little more buzz than your average alcoholic concoction.

Read the rest at; http://theruggedmale.com/cocktails-and-dreams/

On Our Bookshelf: Apothecary Cocktails

Written by KELSEY PARRIS

Usually when I pour myself a drink, I’m not thinking about the medicinal properties of my cocktail. That is, until I read Warren Bobrow’s new book, Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today. In it, OKRA Magazine’s esteemed whiskey expert goes back to his family roots and gives us a fascinating new book exploring the healing powers of our favorite cocktails.

It is full of beautiful photos of delicious looking drinks, split into categories of the ailments that might plague you – weather that’s too cold or too hot, stomach troubles, hangovers, general pain, relaxants and mood enhancers. Having sectioned up the problems, Warren then offers an overview of the solutions one can find in the cocktail world. It seems like almost everything has a medical use, including bitters, herbs, teas, herbal liqueurs, fruits, vegetables, and seltzer. Many of the ingredients appear to be capable of handling many different afflictions, which speaks to the long history of apothecary research and development and the powers of the natural world.

Throughout the book there are fun little disclaimers, like “watch out for frostbite if you get too cozy with this drink!” and “as the Scottish proverb goes, ‘Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most things’” which lighten the mood a bit and remind us that these are, in the end, drinks. Bobrow stays true to his mission and focuses on a wide variety of drinks that are chock full of healing prowess. In some rare cases, that means he includes a few ingredients that might be hard to acquire, like Centerba, or Krupnikas, but most products are easy to get.

There is a good mix of familiar, easier cocktails and more complicated, work intensive drinks. The majority of the recipes stick to the basics, keeping the ingredients simple and the techniques limited to stirring or shaking. A few, like the Rhubarb and Strawberry Swizzle, require several steps, from making a compote, to blending and swizzling until you finally get to enjoy the drink. Being a book for the more under the weather folks, it make sense to stick on the side of go-to drinks that are easy to concoct when you’re in the throes of a flu, while offering a few more experimental beverages you could create when the weather outside really is frightful and you don’t have anything else to do. It’s really lovely to see so many familiar drinks, like the Sazerac, and find out that not only do they taste good, but they settle your stomach with its characteristic combination of bitters and absinthe. Remember these descriptions and tips and you’ll have great tidbits to drop at your next cocktail party!

Sometimes the recipes and the descriptions of all of the various benefits you’re serving yourself appear a bit repetitive. Each recipe has it’s own explanation above it, and since there are plenty of similar ingredients you get a lot of this information over and over. If you’re just flipping through to the appropriate recipe or section, however, that shouldn’t be much of a nuisance.

My favorite drinks all seem to come in the hot weather and painkilling sections, mostly because they feature a lot of citrus, rum, and gin and seem a little more in line with my taste than the (quite powerful sounding) Scotch enhanced lamb stew. Maybe now that it is getting really cold I’ll change my mind. Bobrow himself seems to have really enjoyed getting all this information into one place. His family history with the pharmaceutical business brings a very personal note to the book, indicating that the early force fed tonics built up his immune system as well as his avid interest in the greater power of cocktails. I, for one, will be glad to have this book on hand the next time my head starts to ache or my bones get chilled.

The Hartley Dodge. This photo is from Apothecary Cocktails.

The Hartley Dodge Cocktail  (Bobrow’s Aspirin)

  • 3 slices fresh peach, plus extra slices for garnish
  • 3 ounces (90 ml) bonded100-proof bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Fee Brothers
  • Whiskey Bitters
  • Ice cubes

Place the peach slices in a Boston shaker, and muddle them. Add the bourbon and vermouth, and continue to muddle so that the flavors are well combined. Add the bitters and a handful of ice cubes, and stir well. Strain into a Collins glass over a large chunk of ice (larger pieces of ice are less likely to dilute the drink). Garnish with an extra slice or two of fresh peach. It’s an analgesic that can’t help but take the edge off what ails you.

 

5 Delicious Whiskey Cocktails You Can Easily Make At Home

Whiskey is one of my favorite things. I’ll go to lengths to describe the way it makes me feel and especially the way it performs in craft cocktails. What? Whiskey cocktails? Don’t look away; it’s perfectly acceptable to mix cocktails with whiskey. By the way, if you’ve enjoyed a whiskey smash or a mint julep, you’ve had a whiskey cocktail. And if you’ve treated your glass of whiskey to a splash of soda or a muddle of fruit, that is a cocktail too.

 Yup, your world just got a bit bigger and you haven’t event gotten to the Manhattan’s or the Rob Roy Cocktails yet!
One such creative cocktail from my recently published book, The Craft Cocktail Compendium is named “A Pleasant Little Gentleman.” It takes a bit of rye whiskey, raw honey simple syrup and whiskey barrel aged bitters and twists them up a bit.
 A Pleasant Little Gentleman
  • 2 oz. Fernet Branca
  • 1 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. raw honey simple syrup (1 cup raw honey to 1 cup hot, but not boiling, water)
  • 2-4 shakes Barrel Aged Bitters
  • Boiling water for hot tea (Lapsang Souchong)

Boil tea. Add the liquors. Sweeten with raw honey to taste. Add the bitters. Serve

Another little taste of deliciousness is the “Late Summer Fizz.” It includes Pimm’s Cup. Now you know what to do with this cucumber-scented slice of heaven.

 Late Summer Fizz
  • 2 oz. rye
  • ½ oz. Pimm’s No.1. Cup
  • ½ oz. apple cider
  • ½ oz. sweet white vermouth (I used Carpano Antica Formula)
  • ¼ oz. allspice dram
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Lemon bitters
  • Splash of club soda

To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice: Add the liquors and the apple cider. Add the dram. Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Splash club soda. Dot with lemon bitters. Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Serve.

Grilled Peach and Thai Basil Roast

  • 1 oz. roasted peaches (split, sprinkled with sugar and 1 tsp balsamic and roasted for 1 hour at 350 degrees until soft and charred)
  • 1 oz. roasted oranges (split, sprinkled with sugar and 1 tsp balsamic and roasted for 1 hour at 350 degrees until soft and charred
  • 4 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 1-2 sprigs Thai basil

Muddle the roasted peaches and oranges with Thai basil very lightly, just to release the aromatics adding a bit of bourbon along the way, muddle some more and add more bourbon (I used Barrell Bourbon Batch 11). Strain the mixture into a rocks glass without ice or if you want, with one large cube of ice and a bit of the muddling mixture. Garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.

How can you go through summer without a take on the Moscow Mule, but with whiskey instead of vodka? This one takes a bit of a different tack. It involves making a very quick Shrub — no, not a shrubbery, but a little concoction that adds a bit of apple cider vinegar to the usual ginger beer. Kind of a ginger snap in your mouth!

Son In The Foreign Legion

  • ¼ oz. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 oz. ginger beer (cane sugar-based)
  • 2 oz. blended Scotch whiskey (Like Johnny Walker Red)
  • 4-6 drops Angostura bitters (or like)

To a cocktail mixing glass: Fill ¾ with ice. Add the whiskey. Add the ginger beer. Add the apple cider vinegar. Stir well to chill but not dilute. Pour into 2 coupe glasses. Dot with bitters and serve.

The last cocktail is also from my book The Craft Cocktail Compendium. It is simply named “Bill Monroe’s Country Cooler,” paying homage to the master mandolin player himself.

 Bill Monroe’s Country Cooler
  • 1 oz. peach nectar
  • 1 oz. apricot nectar
  • ½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz. sweet iced tea (sugar to your own taste of course!)
  • 2-4 oz. white (un-aged) whiskey
  • 2-5 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Fresh mint (picked in the shadow of the roots of an ancient oak tree, where sweet branch water bubbles forth in a belly laugh)

Add all the liquid ingredients to a cocktail mixing vessel filled ¾ with ice. Stir well to chill. Strain into ball jars. Dot with bitters. Slap the mint against your palm and garnish. Serve and quickly prepare more! They go down quick!

Read more at https://thefreshtoast.com/culture/5-delicious-whiskey-cocktails-you-can-easily-make-at-home/amp/

Five Cocktails for a party!

I love cocktail parties. Especially ones that give me the opportunity to take my guest’s palates to another level.    This little cocktail party served notice that great mixed drinks don’t have Fireball or Tito’s in them.  Far from.  They take great parts and incredible craft spirits and bring these liquid driven adventures truly to a higher place.

I was given a bottle of Martinique Blue Cane Rhum Agricole recently and I couldn’t think of a nicer way to serve it than with Royal Rose- Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove and a bit of seltzer water.

Just over on Mt. Pelee’

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Clement Bleue Canne Rhum Agricole (100 Proof)
  • 1 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove
  • 2 oz. Seltzer
  • 2-5 drops Lemon Bitters (of your choice)

Prep:

To a cocktail mixing glass filled ¾ with ice

  • Add the Rhum Agricole
  • Add the Simple Syrup
  • Stir well to combine
  • Pour into a Collins Glass with ice
  • Top with the Seltzer
  • Dribble the bitters over the top and serve

The second cocktail took a simple drink known as the gin and tonic and quite literally, raised the bar with thirty different types of gin.  The crowd favorite?  A little gin in a gorgeous bottle from Scotland named Caorunn.  For some reason (well known to those of us who love artisanal gin) the Caorunn has a richer texture and ‘ginny’ character that worked so well with the multitude of tonic waters that I brought with me.  Amongst the gins were The Botanist, SW4, No.3., Martin Miller’s Pot Still, Hat Trick, FEW, Nolet, Beefeater, and many others.


 Not Just Another Gin and Tonic

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Gin of your choice (Caorunn was the crowd favorite)
  • Lemon Zest (no pith!)
  • 5 oz. Cane Sugar Tonic Water- the crowd favorite was Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic (Bed, Bath and Beyond)
  • Aromatic Bitters – like Angostura, often used in a “pink gin”

Prep:

  • Flavor the glass with the lemon zest then the Angostura Bitters
  • Add ice
  • Add the Gin
  • Top with the Tonic
  • Stir and Serve

I’m sure that the third drink is where you want to get going- and that would mean immediately!

The Soda and Cocktail Syrup named Fruitations is where this drink really takes off.  I used the brilliant Tangerine syrup and combined it with Mezcal and then finished it off with a Cane Sugar Ginger Beer from Australia named Bundaberg.  Brilliant stuff.  A wedge of fresh lime and lemon bitters sent this drink further than it has ever been prior.  Trust me.

Just up Near Mexico City

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Mezcal of your choice
  • Orange Zest
  • 1 oz. Fruitations Soda and Cocktail Syrup (Tangerine)
  • Splash Ginger Beer
  • Aromatic or Lemon Bitters

 

Prep:

  • Moisten the inside of a rocks glass with the orange zest
  • Add ice
  • Let cool
  • In a Boston Shaker add:
  • The Fruitations Syrup
  • The Mezcal
  • Cap and Shake hard to combine
  • Double Strain over the ice filled rocks glass
  • Splash of Ginger Beer
  • Dot with Lemon Bitters
  • Spray the lime wedge over the top
  • Serve with a smile

The next drink was my own take on the classic Old Fashioned, and it departs from the classic in one very determined way.  I chose to roast several different kinds of oranges in a bath of both Balsamic vinegar and Demerara sugar until caramelized and bubby- about 2.5 hours at 350 degrees covered.  The final ½ hour is uncovered to add a bit of darkness to the softly cooked fruits.  I then roasted some Luxardo cherries until warmed through and quite soft- about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Set to cool so you won’t break your expensive crystal with sizzling hot fruit, pricy whiskey and ice!

 

Not your typical Old Fashioned

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons or so of the oven roasted citrus and cherries
  • 2 oz. Barrell Bourbon Whiskey- I used unreleased batch #012
  • bitters of your choice

Prep:

  • Muddle the roasted fruit
  • Add the whiskey
  • Stir gently
  • Dot with bitters
  • Serve

The final drink was the easiest to duplicate because once you are able to buy a good quality Absinthe, you’ll be more than ½ way there.  Any of the fine Absinthes made by Jade would work beautifully, as would the Lucid line.  There is one thing that I must stress.  The lack of color is far preferable to the ones with color added.  It’s just my preference.

 Just a Normal Louche

Ingredients:

  • Jade Absinthe
  • Drizzle of iced water
  • Great Conversation

Prep:

Release the chilled water from your Absinthe fountain slowly and gently into 2 oz. of Absinthe, sip and repeat until sated

Dad Food: A Scotsman’s Flourish

Our Father’s Day week of recipes continues with a little bit of whiskey. Whether dad enjoys it on the rocks or mixed into a drink, make him something extra special with this oatmeal recipe from the Cocktail Whisperer himself, Warren Bobrow.
And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for dad this Father’s Day, why not pick up a copy of Apothecary Cocktails? This drink book features cleverly concocted restorative drinks that dad is sure to love.

A Scotsman’s Flourish
Excerpted from Whiskey Cocktails by Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer

Feed a cold and starve a fever, the old saying goes. It’s true: If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s even more important to eat regularly and healthfully. Nutritious meals can play a huge part in boosting the immune system. That’s where this steaming bowl of classic, steel-cut oatmeal comes in. Spiked with a generous serving of whisky-soaked dried fruit, A Scotsman’s Flourish comes at the final stage of this breakfast of champions—you’ll top your bowl with an extra ounce or two of Scotch for good measure. It just goes to show that you can eat your breakfast and drink it too! And there’s no need to waste any Scotch: Pour the whiskey left over from steeping the dried fruit over another cup of dried cherries in a sterilized container. Refrigerate these gorgeous home-cured cherries for garnishing your Manhattans, or serve them over vanilla gelato for dessert.

Bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, served piping hot
¼ cup (38 g) dried cherries
¼ cup (32 g) dried apricots
2 ounces (60 ml) blended Scotch whisky
½ cup (15 ml) spring water
To taste: Raw Honey Simple Syrup

Cook your steel-cut oatmeal for about 45 minutes according to package directions. While it’s cooking, add the dried cherries and dried apricots to a glass bowl. Cover with the blended whisky and the water. Let the fruits reconstitute for as long as it takes to cook your oatmeal. Toward the end of cooking, spoon the whisky-softened fruits into the oatmeal, and stir well. Serve in preheated ceramic bowls. Pour the remaining whisky over the top of the oatmeal. Sweeten to taste with Raw Honey Simple Syrup. Then, dig in and enjoy your healing breakfast! For an added kick, serve with a David Balfour Cocktail: It’ll prove a cool, refreshing contrast to your steaming hot, whisky-laden oatmeal.

Preorder your copy of Whiskey Cocktails TODAY. It makes a great gift for dad.

Whiskey Cocktails Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks Using the World's Most Popular Spirit

Grab your bow tie and a rocks glass, because we’re talking all about one of the most classic—and classy—spirits. Whether you like bourbon, scotch or rye, whiskey’s diverse and complex taste will be your new go-to drink for parties, gatherings, or evenings in your study with a roaring fire. Whiskey can be an intimidating drink to the uninitiated. Most folks may not be able to drink it straight. We’ve got you covered. The Cocktail Whisperer, Warren Bobrow, author of Apothecary Cocktails (Fair Winds Press), incorporates some of the best whiskeys into hand-crafted cocktails that bring out the subtle notes and flavors of any good bourbon or scotch. Whiskey Cocktails features 75 traditional, newly-created, and original recipes for whiskey-based cocktails. This wonderfully crafted book also features drink recipes from noted whiskey experts and bartenders.

https://www.quartoknows.com/blog/quartocooks/2014/06/11/dad-food-scotsmans-flouris/

Slap Happy: 5 Great Ways To Use Fresh Herbs In Your Craft Cocktails

Nearly everyone has been to their local garden store and ogled over the varieties of fresh herbs that you can grow on your windowsill garden. Who knew there were so many different kinds of basil? And how about all that mint? Are there enough days of growing season left for every different kind of mint, pared with all those incredible bourbons on your groaning shelves?  Well, worry not. I’m going to make a few suggestions of which herbs you should be growing in your mixology garden and some simple ways to use them.

Read More at: https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/slap-happy-5-great-ways-to-use-fresh-herbs-in-your-craft-cocktails/amp

Photo by cookbookman17

 

Book Review By Will Kersten

Book Review: Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics By Will Kersten


In Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations, author, Warren Bobrow presents a “crash course in apothecary medicine,” teaching the reader how to create medicinal and recreational cannabis-infused drinks (some alcoholic and some not) from scratch, with over 75 of the most intriguing drink recipes I’ve ever seen. As a former bartender and lover of classics like Trader Vics 1947 Bartender’s Guide, Jack’s Manual, and even The Joy of Cooking, my bar was set pretty high for this book.  Read More at: https://trichomedaily.com/book-review-cannabis-cocktails-mocktails-tonics/