For those of you who like bitters, I would like to introduce you to a new bitter on the market. It is the Orleans Bitter from Eden Ice Cider of Vermont. The Orleans has the bitterness you expect from this kind of aperitif, but it also has a different and lovely underlying note of apple from the cider that serves as its base. It is lovely sipped alone, on the rocks, but it also pairs quite nicely with rye.
We have a recipe in one of our vintage cocktail books called The Soother, a rum and cognac based drink that calls for a bit of apple juice. This drink got me thinking about adding cider to cocktails; cider got me thinking about the Orleans Bitter, and from there, the Northern Spy was born. Continue reading →
For six years, I worked at a tiny Farm/Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont called Pane e Salute. Among the many perks of my time there was the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines. During my last autumn with Pane, I got to taste the Bonny Doon Vineyards Verjus de Cigare, which is actually a non-alcoholic beverage made from grenache grapes. It’s pretty much the best grape juice you’ve ever tasted in your life.
Because Bonny Doon recommends using Verjus as a mixer for cocktails, I naturally set to work experimenting. The following two cocktails are what resulted from these experiments (with expert input, of course, from my bosses). They were very tasty, and I recommend checking out the Verjus. It is not terribly expensive and it offers a world of interesting possibilities. Use these two drinks as a jumping off point. Play around; have some fun. Recipe
What better time to discover a new cocktail than on Friday? Just a little something to carry you into the weekend. Since it’s November, and the weather has finally turned chilly, it’s time to break out the brown liquor. Let’s hear it for Cognac! Probably a nice platter of cheese and patê is in order as well.
Makes 1 Drink
2 oz Cognac
1/3 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz fresh orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Fill with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a real Maraschino cherry.
This will set you up for a great weekend.
The other day, while looking for something a little different to mix up, I came across “The Secret Cocktail” in our Classic Cocktails book. Secret? Well, I’m intrigued. Tell me more.
Now, this is not the real name of this drink, as the description in our book was quick to point out. However, because of its true identity, many people tend to shy away from the drink, despite its excellent flavor. The thing is, the name is a bit of a misnomer, because this drink is anything but ‘girly’ – it is in face quite strong. So brace yourselves for the original…
I was shuffling through my collection of cocktail recipes, when I found this one. As we are approaching the first anniversary of Sandy’s devastation here in New Jersey, it seemed appropriate. Our family was very lucky – we live in a relatively sheltered house, we had just had a generator installed, and we have a fireplace. No trees fell on our house (though many fell around it, and one very large tree took out the power lines to the house); the water ran around us. Our house remained standing (though, to me, sleeping on the second floor, it sure didn’t sound like it would). So, after the storm passed, and we could not leave the house, we were comfortable. Many, many were not nearly so lucky. I’d like to dedicate this drink to them. When you mix it, remember those who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in Super Storm Sandy. See Recipe
When the summer begins to heat up, there’s nothing like a good tropical drink to get you in the summer mood. If only that drink came with a white sandy beach… well, I guess you can’t have everything. You’ll just have to make do with an awesome piña colada – and perhaps a pool if you’re lucky enough to have one. Otherwise, post a picture of the beach on your wall, and look at it while you sip your drink. Breath deep. Exhale. Can you smell the ocean? Almost? Recipe
On a Saturday morning, home alone for the first time in months, what are you going to do? Make brunch of course. Brioche French Toast, sausage, maple syrup, whipped cream. Let’s go overboard here. Because…why not? And what is more necessary to a good brunch than a glass of something sparkling? “Pull out the bubbly!” But it’s also summer time – the time of year when fresh fruit cravings are at their height. But, horrors, there’s none in the house! What to do? Ah, yes! That frozen fruit picked way long ago, that has just been chillin’ waiting to be put to good use. Peaches! Peaches and bubbly! What could be better? Frozen peaches puréed in the food processor with a touch of lime juice, and voilá: peach ‘sorbet’. Put a scoop in the bottom of a champagne glass. Fill (carefully) with bubbly. Stir gently and enjoy. Perfect summer brunch cocktail.
Cool evenings send us to the dark liquor. However, being out of whiskey and cognac there was nothing for it but to go with rum. Not that I have anything against rum. Rum is great. It’s the closest I can get to recreating a tropical vacation here in the Mid-Atlantic. Anyway, I was thinking a dark and stormy might be tasty, but we didn’t have any ginger beer. We did, however, have fresh ginger. So I sliced some of that and pounded it in the mortar and pestle, poured lime juice over it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Strain it into a glass, add rum and top up with seltzer and tadaa! A gingery rum drink.
So, I came across a couple of overripe nectarines in the fridge a couple days ago. They smelled wonderful, but I admit, I’m very picky about the texture of my fruit, and I knew I didn’t want to eat them out of hand. What to do, what to do? Make a cocktail of course! I had just picked some of my sadly neglected, but thriving mint, which I threw into the mix, and as it was a cool night, out came the rye. Three rocks glasses, two thirds of a nectarine in each with 10 or so leaves of mint, a squeeze of lemon all smooshed together and covered with rye and ice. Yum, yum.
Last week when I went to fetch limes from the produce section at the grocery store, I was distracted by a basket full of deep sunset yellow fruit. Meyer Lemons! I was buying citrus for cocktails, so of course I had cocktails on my mind, and I had to try a couple. After all, I’ve never seen meyer lemons looking so ripe. I grabbed a couple, and here’s the drink I came up with. An interesting thing I noticed was that the shaved zest on top gave off a distinctive vanilla like aroma – very different from a conventional lemon. The juice itself smelled of oranges and tasted of lemons (though less tart). A very interesting fruit and I hope I find some again to try out more experiments!