[UPDATED] Recapping my ’08 trip home to New Orleans for Christmas

To round out our evening we headed to the Renaissance Père Marquette Hotel to visit the dean of New Orleans bartenders, Chris McMillian. He now holds court at The Bar UnCommon, a bit of a pun on the hotel’s location on Common Street near Baronne Street. (I love me a good pun.) Chris is a gracious and extremely knowledgeable host, and at his bar you’re always certain to be served something wonderful.

Now that Plymouth has finally begun releasing their magnificent sloe gin in the U.S. (albeit in maddeningly small quantities), we’re finally able to begin exploring what a wonderful liqueur it is, and why it was really the only sloe gin to consider for a long time. Now we also have Stephan Berg and Alex Hauck’s new Bitter Truth Sloeberry Blue Gin, plus there’s a wonderful domestic substitute if you can’t find the imported stuff — Averell Damson Gin is made from damson plums from upstate New York, and while damsons are somewhat sweeter than sloes it’s a quite viable substitute.

Here’s a wonderful Negroni variation Chris made us, with sloe gin sitting in for the sweet vermouth:


1 ounce gin.
1 ounce Plymouth sloe gin.
1 ounce Campari.
1/2 ounce orange grapefruit juice.

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

(I’d swear in court that I heard Chris say it was orange juice, but Michael says Chris said grapefruit and has made it that way for him three times. I must be losing my mind.)