I love a good cocktail party. 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 (the big, popular brand names) in them. Far from. They take great parts and incredible hand-made, 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 with a couple drops of lemon bitters. Try the Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters. They are built on a glycerin base for a touch more richness.
Just over on Mt. Pelee’
- 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)
- 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. What was the crowd favorite? A little gin in a gorgeous bottle made in 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, Barr Hill, FEW Breakfast Gin, Nolet, Beefeater, and Bombay Sapphire.
Not Just Another Gin and Tonic
- 3 oz. Gin of your choice (FEW Breakfast Gin 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”
- Flavor the glass with the lemon zest then the Angostura Bitters
- Add ice
- Add the Breakfast Gin with the Craft 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 potent Cane Sugar Ginger Beer from Australia named Bundaberg. Brilliant stuff. A wedge of fresh lime and a dash or two of the lemon bitters sent this drink further than it has ever been prior. Trust me.
Just up Near Mexico City
- 2 oz. Mezcal of your choice
- Orange Zest
- 1 oz. Fruitations Soda and Cocktail Syrup (Tangerine)
- Splash Ginger Beer
- Lemon Bitters
- Moisten the inside of a rocks glass with the orange zest
- Add ice
- Let cool
- In a Boston Shaker add the Fruitations Syrup and The Mezcal
- Cap and Shake hard to combine
- Double Strain over the ice filled rocks glass
- Splash of Ginger Beer (preferably a Cane sugar one)
- 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 bubbly – 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 bourbon whiskey and hand cut ice!
Not your typical Old Fashioned
- 2 tablespoons or so of the oven roasted citrus and ‘fancy’ cherries
- 2 oz. Barrell Bourbon Whiskey
- Aromatic bitters of your choice
- Muddle the roasted fruit
- Add the whiskey
- Stir gently
- Dot with aromatic bitters
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 in Absinthe is far preferable to the ones with color added. It’s just my preference.
Just a Normal Louche
- Jade Absinthe
- Drizzle of iced water
- Heaps of Great Conversation
- Release the chilled water from your Absinthe fountain slowly and gently into 2 oz. of Absinthe
- Sip and repeat until sated
Major important issue. While dining at Couchon Butcher the other night during Tales of the Cocktail, I found myself chatting with the affable bartender. We got started talking about ice and the pebble ice he was working with. The famed Lewis Bag came up in the conversation and how… in the humid environment of New Orleans, the inside of the canvas bag, if not dried well- will turn to black from mold that lives in canvas. A most disgusting thing ever is finding a speck of black mold in your expensive and fancy cocktail. Make sure you wash and dry your Lewis bag carefully! No mold in your drink! It’s really unsafe and just gross!