Gartending: Lil’ Cowboy
Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8
For the Spring and Summer growing season, we bring you a new feature at Beekman 1802, the Soused Gnome. He’ll teach you how to “gartend”–create perfect seasonal cocktails using fresh ingredients from the garden.
Klaus has been visiting farmers markets all over the country for the past month or so. His first adventure was to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, next was to the bread-basket of our nation in Columbus, Ohio. Last weekend he journeyed all the way out to Portland, Oregon to watch me do a presentation on freestyle mixology for the International Food Bloggers Conference held by Foodista.
It certainly stimulated my taste and olfactory senses!
Portland, Oregon is a city of farmers markets. There is a plethora of cocktail friendly ingredients that defy the imagination.
Cherries are in season again out on the left coast. This time the bounty of the garden is in the form of rare white cherries.
White cherries exemplify the gartender’s dream cocktail. When crushed into a cocktail, white cherries are otherworldly on the flavor profile.
Be sure to pit out your cherries before they go into your mixing cup.
We almost never see white cherries on the east coast. Klaus (the Soused Gnome) explains that the cherries flesh is sometimes too tender to travel. He told me that in his home country (Germany) his kinfolk put up sumptuous white cherries in fiery brandy! He goes on to tell me that brandied white cherries are marvelous in a cocktail that includes Denizen Rum, cucumber ice (really!) House Spirits White Dog and freshly squeezed grilled grapefruit juice. The lift for this cocktail is provided by Klaus’s favorite pinpoint seltzer water, the Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water. He says that this water reminds him of his youth on the German/French border. I’ve told him that he needs to concentrate on locally sourced ingredients, but he disagrees.
Funny how a drinking gnome can have such an opinion on mixers!
Klaus grew cucumbers this year in the garden. These cucumbers are the European variety (no surprise here) they are seedless. Frozen into the Williams-Sonoma KING ice cube tray (2 inch x 2 inch) the European variety makes for a flavorful augmentation of Klaus’s soon to be infamous cocktail.
I reproduced this drink back in New Jersey with my own home cured cherries. Unfortunately these cherries are red instead of white, but they are delicious all the same. You can reproduce the cherries yourself by pitting out a few pounds of WEST COAST cherries, then covering in the spirit of your choice. Klaus suggests using a light spiced rum or even Apple Jack.
They take a couple of weeks to cure, but Klaus and I both say that the wait is worth it!
I know that after the trip to Oregon, cowboy music plays very well into the re-birth of the West Coast sensibilities that Klaus possesses. His GIANT thirst is only superseded by his ability to drink dozens of (tiny) drinks while roaming the myriad of mixology bars that dot this most interesting of cities.
I created this cocktail “on the fly, free-style” at the IFBC/Freestyle Mixology presentation ‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail (named for Portland, Oregon’s lost cowboy culture)
‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail
(A couple weeks before you make this cocktail “put-up” some home-cured cherries)
Denizen Rum White Rum
House Spirits White Dog (Moonshine) (Oregon Distilled)
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Freshly Squeezed Grilled Grapefruit juice (Slice grapefruit into rounds and sear or grill until charred over charcoal or in a sauté pan) then juice as normal
Home cured Cherries (white if you can find them, red if you cannot)
European cucumber (peeled and sliced into coins for both the ice cubes and the cocktail)
Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water
Cucumber water ice- freeze rounds of a European seedless cucumber into an ice cube tray. I recommend the Williams-Sonoma silicone KING CUBE tray- I do a 50/50 blend of freshly juiced cucumber water with filtered water from my Mavea water filtration pitcher (The Mavea pitcher is from Germany- are you surprised?)
for two strikingly powerful cocktails
Muddle several rounds of cucumber with some (pitted) home cured cherries in a mixing cup
Add some regular ice (about a handful)
Add 2 oz White Dog from House Spirits
Add 1 oz Denizen Rum (White Rum)
Add 4 tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Add 4 oz of your grilled grapefruit juice (essential)
Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake
Add a couple cubes of the homemade cucumber ice to your hand-blown cocktail glass
Double Strain into a tall hand-blown glass filled with cucumber ice
Don’t have a hand-blown glass?? Time is now to connect with your cocktail glass!
What does it mean to double-strain? Pour through 2 strainers to remove all bits of cherry and cucumber and grilled grapefruit juice
Add four drops per cocktail glass of the Bitter End Thai Bitters
Top with the Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (Essential)
Garnish with either a red or white cherry (your choice)