I have this thing for Moroccan food, mainly because of the spices, fruits and exotic ingredients involved. The aromatics of those warm spices and flavors just grab my imagination and take me to places with starry desert nights, warm arid breezes and mysterious strangers on trains to Istanbul. (Yes, I'm a romantic and I make no excuses for it, it's packaged in with my creativity and is a large element of my cocktail experience and recipes.)
Rosewater is often used in Moroccan dishes as well and, when Four Roses Bourbon sent me a bottle of their Small Batch to use for a Valentine's themed cocktail, those roses and one sip of the spicy, slightly fruity whiskey sent my mind on a flight of fancy to the Middle East. What better way to send bourbon and roses on a voyage to romance than on a vacation to the land of spicy intrigue?
1-1/2 Oz. Four Roses Bourbon
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
2 Teaspoons Moroccan Spiced Simple Syrup*
1 Dash Rose water
Large Ice Ball or Cube
Garnish: Edible (organically grown) Rose Petal, Orange Twist Heart
Tools: Bar Spoon
Glass: Old Fashioned
Pour the Moroccan simple syrup, the orange bitters and the rose water into the glass and swirl around to coat the glass. Add the ice then pour in the Four Roses Bourbon, stir several times, garnish with a single edible rose petal and an orange twist heart then serve.
WANT A FIZZY COOLER VERSION?
Mix the ingredients in a highball glass, fill with chipped ice, top it off with soda or ginger ale and garnish!
*Moroccan Spiced Simple Syrup Recipe
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon of vodka, (optional preservative)
Add ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved, immediately remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. If you wish you can add the vodka so the syrup will keep longer.
Let me make this very plain, I LOVE RAMOS FIZZES!! I like them for brunch, I like them for happy hour, I like them whenever I can get them. The Ramos has almost become my signature cocktail I do it so often, mostly it's my Golden Ramos Fizz because people love it and I always have some kind of orange fruit in the house. But I do it the normal way and with other flavors as well, usually whatever fruit I have handy.
Originally the Ramos was called a New Orleans Fizz and it was created by Henry C. Ramos at his bar in Meyer’s restaurant in New Orleans in 1888. Aside from the sadly abused Pat O'Brien Hurricane, it is probably the most recognized Mardi Gras-NOLA-Fat Tuesday drink. Yes, the Sazerac as well, but it's more of a cocktail aficionado drink, not so much for the masses. But for me, the Ramos reigns on Fat Tuesday.
Of course, with today being Mardi Gras, you had to know I was going to do another adaptation/cocktail riff on the Ramos Fizz. If you didn't know that, you haven't been reading this blog enough and shame on you! I decide a little extra celabratory ingredients were called for and brought in some cherries and bubbly, maybe crossing close to the French 75 line. So, what did I do this time to another classic? Look no further:
Combine all the liquid ingredients except the ice in a blender and dry blend for a minute to emulsify the egg white and aerate the cocktail. Transfer this to an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously to chill.
Pour into the chilled Collins glass, top off with Champagne, garnish and serve.
Just remember, when I say "throw me something, mister" I'm not talking beads, I'm talking slide me a down Ramos!
Laissez les bon temps (and the Ramos Fizzes) rouler.
February 9th National Pizza Day so, yes, I had to go there. In fact, I went there twice and did a white pizza cocktail and a red pizza cocktail.
I started with the flavors of my favorite pizza, a Margherita Pizza, using basil, tomato and mozzarella, then added a little truffle salt for some extra punch. My garnish was a lime slice, a few mozzarella balls, a couple of grape tomatoes and basil leaf. Just for fun I added a pepperoni stick.
The white "sauce" version is made with tomato water instead of tomato juice. Tomato water is almost the pure essence of the flavor of the tomato. I simply blended my tomatoes then strained them for 24 hours through coffee filters to get just the clear tomato water. It may not look like it tastes like tomato, but it definitely does.
For the red "sauce" version, I used half organic tomato juice and half tomato water, then did exactly the same ingredients and procedures as the white pizza cocktail.
WHITE PIZZA MARTINI
(RED PIZZA MARTINI)
2 Oz Tomato water
(1 Oz. Tomato Water and 1 Oz. Organic Tomato Juice)
The VIEUX CARRÉ was invented by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel (home of the famous Carousel Bar) in New Orleans in the 1930s and is named after the Vieux Carré (the "Old Square") in the French Quarter. It is a drink staple of New Orleans bars and one of the absolute necessary cocktails to try when in New Orleans.
Or you can just make one at home.
3/4 Oz. Rye Whiskey
3/4 Oz. Cognac
3/4 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 Tsp. Bénédictine
1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Add the rye, cognac, vermouth, Bénédictine and both bitters to a mixing glass. Stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, rub rim with a lemon twist then drop the twist in the cocktail and serve.
Now you're ready for Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Since it was Groundhog's Day and Puxsatawny Phil looks for his shadow at Gobbler's Knob in Puxsatawny, PA, I had to do a Google search to see if there was such a thing as a Gobbler's Knob cocktail. Not one, not a gobble in the bunch. Poor Phil, nothing to keep him warm in case he sees his shadow. Whether he does or doesn't see his shadow, I've decided to correct that and give Phil and all his buddies in and near Gobblers Knob a signature cocktail, shadow or no shadow.
There is a Tender Knob cocktail floating around in Alcoholdom, often made with apple, sometimes made with orange, but always made with a whiskey base, either bourbon or rye. Both fruits pair well with whiskey and are winter fruits which suit the season. These gave me a good starting point for a cocktail ode to Puxsatawny Phil, his shadow and Groundhog Day.
I decided to use pear, which is another winter fruit that works well with whiskey. In a playful nod to Knob and Gobbler I chose two whiskies (mainly because of their names) as my main spirit and, for the sweetener, the East Coast flavor of maple syrup. Next I added a dash of hope for spring with some rhubarb bitters.
The GOBBLED KNOB Cocktail
INGREDIENTS: 1 Oz Knob Creek Bourbon 1/2 Oz Wild Turkey 101 1/4 Oz Amontillado Sherry 2 Oz Caramelized Pear Puree 1/4 Oz Fresh Orange Juice
DIRECTIONS: Caramelize the orange slice and pear cubes by coating in sugar and heating in a saute pan until the sugar caramelizes. Set on wax or parchment paper to cool. Chill the glass in the freezer. Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker without ice (this is known as dry shaking) and shake vigorously for a good minute or until the egg emulsifies and builds up a nice foam. Add the ice then shake until chilled. Pour into your chilled glass, garnish and serve.
This one is good enough to enjoy no matter what day it is, sorry Phil, you'll have to share.
Based on the cocktail known simply as the Alexander which uses gin instead of brandy, The Brandy Alexander is made with dark Creme de Cacao. If it's made with white Creme de Cacao it's known as a Panama. Made with equal parts brandy, usually cognac, dark creme de cacao and cream, it's considered a dessert cocktail and ice cream is often used in place of the cream.
There's a great lineage to the Brandy Alexander, a family tree of the Alexander family, and it has the typical shrouded past of many vintage cocktails. Reportedly it was created for the wedding of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood and Viscount Lascelles, in 1922, however, well know opera critic Alexander Dragon claimed The Brandy Alexander was was named after him. Some reports claim it was named after Russian Tsar, Alexander II, while others attribute it to Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's restaurant in New York City, who purportedly created it as a drink white for a fictitious advertising character called Phoebe Snow.
My history of the drink goes back to my 21st birthday. A Brandy Alexander was the first cocktail I legally ordered at a bar. I had been going into that bar and ordering drinks for two years without ever having been carded, imagine the bartender's surprise. But things were more lax back in those days and the DUI laws not as punitive. Memories abound whenever I shake one up, and I do, frequently.
1 Part Cognac
1 Part Dark Creme de Cacao
2 Part Half &Half
Garnish: Dark Cocoa Powder, Dusting of Nutmeg
Glass: Cocktail or Coupe
Tools: Cocktail Shaker
Dip the rim of your glass and some of the creme de cocoa then into the dark cocoa powder. Chill the glass in the freezer.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the cognac, dark creme de cacao and the half and half then shake until chilled.
Strain into your chilled glass, dust with some nutmeg and serve.
SOME BRANDY ALEXANDER TRIVIA
John Lennon loved Brandy Alexanders and called them his "milkshakes".
Mirroring John Lennon, Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show asks a bartender for a malt, "Do you know how to make a brandy Alexander? Just leave out the brandy and give us the Alexander!"
The Brandy Alexander also made an appearance on the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
It was featured in the movie The Days of Wine & Roses where Jack Lemmon buys Lee Remick the drink because she loves chocolate but doesn't like the taste of alcohol.
The Brandy Alexander has been mentioned in numerous other television shows and movies from the first days of film to present day, including The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Cheers, Fantasy Island, the Rockford Files, American Horror Story 5, Three's Company, No More Orchids, Tattoo, Bedazzled, just to name a few.
The Sazerac is a venerable, vintage cocktail made with Rye Whiskey, a sugar cube, some Peychaud's Bitters and an Absinthe wash (wash the inside of the glass, then discard the spirit). I love a great Sazerac, my 2nd favorite* Mardi Gras drink, but did I mess with the recipe? You bet I did, it's just what I do. It's my little shout-out to @Thitia and my friends over at Stylamerican and tonight's SAG Awards.
I removed the absinthe and sugar cube altogether and replaced them with an anise, cardamom, fennel infused simple syrup. I also replaced the Peychaud's Bitters with Scrappy's Lavender Bitters. Absinthe and Peychaud's are really the defining elements of a Sazerac so just slap me now because I'm not done yet. I also added a wee bit of good blackberry brandy. These all work nicely with the spicy Templeton Rye for a version of Sazerac where, like in films, you have to practice a little suspension of disbelief.
I'll catch flack for this, but let's be fair, I'm not calling this a Sazerac either .... The SAGZERAC Cocktail
DIRECTIONS: Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a mixing glass with ice. Pour in the whiskey, the blackberry brandy, the anise cardamom simple syrup and the lavender bitters then stir until chilled. Add a large ice cube to your glass then strain the cocktail over the ice, garnish and serve.
* My favorite Mardi Gras drink was, is and always will be the Ramos Fizz.
*ANISE CARDAMOM SIMPLE SYRUP RECIPE
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
1 Tablespoon of Cardamom Seeds, Crushed
1/4 Tsp. Fennel Seeds, Crushed
4 Star Anise
Add 2 cups of sugar and one cup of water to a saucepan and heat just to boiling. Immediately remove from the heat, add crushed cardamom seeds, 4 star anise, the fennel seeds and dried orange peels and allow to steep until cooled. The longer the herbs stay in the syrup, the stronger the flavor will be. Strain and store in the refrigerator for up to two months or until you see crystallization.
Enjoy the Awards, don't have too many of these unless you have a limo to and from your festivities!