Goodnight St. Nick
Recapping my ’08 trip home to New Orleans for Christmas …
After The Swizzle Stick was a visit to a new place — not only new to me, but brand new to the city too, having opened at the beginning of October. Rambla is a Basque-influenced Spanish tapas restaurant at the International House hotel in the 200 block of Camp Street. It’s owned by the same folks who own Cuvée on St. Charles and Dakota on the Northshore, so it’s already off to a good start. Mary had been in Rambla a few weeks ago, checking them out for inclusion in Frommer’s I imagine, and put me in touch with their bartender Maksym Pazuniak, who’s a really nice guy, a graduate of B.A.R. and really cares about quality cocktails.
Maks and his colleagues are doing a great job with the cocktail menu there, with several really tasty-looking offerings: Spanish 75, a variation on the local penchant for making French 75s with brandy instead of gin, with Maks’ version done with LePanto brandy de Jerez, fresh lemon juice and Cava. The Sardinia combines Tanqueray gin, fresh lemon, housemade rosemary syrup and a splash of Campari, and a Pecan Hot Toddy warms dark rum and sweetens it with a housemade spiced pecan syrup.
Maks offered to make this one for me, a holiday-themed variation on an Old Fashioned and one of his own creations. I’m approximating the proportions from having watched him make it.
Goodnight St. Nick
(adapted from Maks Pazuniak, Rambla, New Orleans)
2 ounces Sazerac rye whiskey, 6 years.
1/2 ounce allspice dram.
1/4 ounce grade B maple syrup.
2-3 dashes Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters.
4 or 5 fresh cranberries.
In a mixing glass muddle the cranberries and orange slice. Add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously until very cold, then double-strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice.
I don’t think St. Nick would mind being left one of these. (We always just left milk, cookies and whiskey.)
[UPDATE: Maks is currently doing wonderful things behind the stick at Cure in Uptown New Orleans, and writing about them at beta cocktails.]