Cocktail of the Day: Left Behind (A Rapture day special)

This is another example of the tomfoolery fun stuff that happens when my friend Chris Day (bartender at Sotto in Los Angeles) and I start knocking around cocktail ideas. We thought that somewhere (here, if nowhere else) there needed to be a cocktail special of the day on May 21 — a post-Rapture for those of us who are … Left Behind. (*cue ominous music*DUM DUM DUUUUUUUM!)

“Left Behind!” cried Chris. “Someone should make a drink called that. Just for the Rapture!”

“Ugh, Left Behind …” says I. “Worst. Books. EVAR.”

“It could be like a Left Hand.”

Hmm, a left hand and another left body part — the left behind as in my left butt cheek, which is what I think about doomsday happening on Saturday. I got yer Rapture right here, pal! *grasps left butt cheek* Yeah, this is sounding better and better.

“I wish we had Port in our repertoire,” he said. “Swap it out for the vermouth. Make it look like blood.”

“No port here either. We should swap out the base spirit. Rum! And Vergano Chinato Americano for the vermouth.”

Chinato (kee-NAH-to) is another style of Italian aperitif wine, the Italian version of a quinquina, as it’s given a bitter component by the addition of cinchona bark, the source of quinine. This one’s lovely, made from red Grignolino grapes in Piedmont and with more bitter oomph than Carpano Antica

“Appleton, Aperol & Chinato,” he said. “Dash Ango, dash mole bitters.”

“That sounds really good in my head,” I said.

It was good — perfectly pleasant. I felt the need for something a bit more bitter, though. We are being Left Behind, after all! The disappearance of Kirk Cameron won’t make up for the bitter tears we’ll shed while we’re weeping, wailing, gnashing teeth, rending clothing and otherwise generally tribulating. I decided to up the Chinato, and instead of reverting back to Campari I thought I’d kick the bitterness up a notch. Cynar, I thought, but not quite so much. I also swapped out Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters (a product I absolutely adore) for a local product with a bit more kick — Miracle Mile Chocolate-Chili Bitters. (No link yet because the website isn’t quite done, but you’ll be hearing a LOT more about those bitters very soon.)

I was pretty happy with the result, but it could still stand for some tinkering. As a one-day cocktail menu special, though, it ain’t bad.

THE LEFT BEHIND COCKTAIL

1-1/2 ounces Appleton Extra rum
1 ounce Vergano Chinato Americano
1/2 ounce Cynar
2 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate-Chili Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Orange peel

Stir ingredients with cracked ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe, twist the peel over the drink and garnish with the peel.

Doesn’t quite look like blood, but it’s tasty enough. For the Left Behind No. 2 (which we didn’t have time to try but will likely try tonight) I’d swap the Cynar out for Campari and use the original proportions of 1-1/2 to 3/4 to 3/4, and maybe add a barspoon of Smith & Cross for a touch of funk.

So, enjoy your drink special (I hope), and Happy Doomsday!

P.S. — Given that this is a variation on the Left Hand, I think a post about said cocktail plus two tasty variations is due next. Stay tuned.

 

[P.P.S. -- While my tone may indeed be mocking (the idea of the rapture itself, much less calculating it to the day and hour, is the biggest load of peanut butter and horseshit I've ever heard), I have to say that I feel sorry for that nutbar preacher's followers who quit their jobs, sold their houses and everything they had to spend on end-of-the-world-is-nigh billboards. Come Sunday those people will be penniless and destitute, left with nothing but their betrayal. Beware of false prophets, y'all.]

 

Live from Jazzfest 2011!

I’m sitting in the Gospel Tent, where Sister Naomi Washington and her group just finished — hallelujah!! I also just finished my traditional Creole’s Stuffed Bread to start my festival day, as I’ve done for nearly 25 years.

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Seeing Mrs. Merlene Herbert, who makes and sells these from her Lafayette restaurant Creole’s Lunch House, is a gem of a human being — I adore her and I love her food! The lines for her stuffed bread (still the most underrated food item at Jazzfest yet one of it’s very best) should be at least as log as for the Crawfish Monica right next door. Go get one every day if you’re going to the Fair Grounds this or next weekend.

(No more strawberry lemonade for me though, sadly — they changed vendors last year and now it sucks.)

Don’t get used to me weblogging from the Fair Grounds, though! It’s seriously draining my battery. Better to follow my Twitter feed – I’ll be updating that frequently.



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Happy Jazzfest!!

Coming to A Warehouse …

I grew up hearing those words on radio ads for concerts, coming out of my tinny car speakers via WNOE and WRNO … “Coming to A Warehouse.” They referred to a big, dank, cavernous music venue on Tchoupitoulas Street that was just that — an old warehouse that had been converted (relatively minimally) into a music venue that hosted some of the biggest rock bands all through the Seventies.

I sighed whenever I heard those words. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing any of those shows because I was too young and wouldn’t be allowed to go. (For a variety of reasons my mom was horrified by the very idea of that venue.) By the time I was old enough to go to the Warehouse the venue started seeing hard times, and by that time I tended to go to see bands that played in smaller clubs Uptown for the most part.

People who frequented the Warehouse (always referred to as “A Warehouse” in the ads, as I remember) have memories fond and not-so-fond (it apparently got really, really hot in there), and there was an excellent article in the Gambit a year and a half or so ago about the good old days of the Warehouse.

For those of you who yearn to relive those days (and those of us who never quite got to live them in the first place), documentarian Jessy Cale Williamson is about to release his film A Warehouse on Tchoupitoulas, featuring interviews from the former owners and other people in the local music scene at the time, and what looks to be a great soundtrack. I can’t wait for this one.

Here’s a 16-minute preview:

Keep an eye on the filmmakers’ blog for more details and news. Now I’m off for Jazzfest, and I hope not to be completely absent the whole time. We’ll see!

 

Je Suis Le Grand Zombie

Glen David Andrews covers Dr. John’s “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” (originally on the album Gris Gris, from the early days of his Night Tripper era), featuring Paul Sanchez on electric guitar, and it is made of awesome.

I’m way behind on posting, as you can undoubtedly tell, but I’m going to try to feature some music posts up through the beginning of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival next Friday. I’ll be home for Fest so posting likely won’t be happening, but I’ll try to get at least something quick up as often as I can. Please stay tuned!

Oh, and please visit trumpetsnotguns.com to support Glen’s music education initiative.

 

Stay Up Late: A good idea, AND a highball!

One more excellent cocktail instructional video by Shlomo M. Godder, produced for the bar Dutch Kills in New York.

It’s a lovely-looking highball, a gin fizz amplified with a bit of Cognac — very refreshing. I like the technique used by the bartender here. Rather than straining the shaken ingredients directly into the ice-filled Collins glass and then topping with soda (as many people would do, and which would require additional swizzling to avoid having a layer of plain soda water sitting on top) he adds the soda to the other half of the shaker, giving it a gentle swirl to combine and then pouring into the ice-filled glass — already mixed! Nice.

STAY UP LATE
(from The Stork Club Bar Book, by Lucius Beebe, 1946)

1-1/2 ounces Plymouth gin.
1/2 ounce Cognac.
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice.
3/4 ounce simple syrup.
3 ounces soda water.

Combine in a cocktail shaker with one piece of ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into the smaller half of the mixing tin and add the soda.

However, today you might want to celebrate Tax Day (we’re hoping you got refunds) with an Income Tax Cocktail, which is easy-peasy — basically it’s a Bronx cocktail with aromatic bitters added. In fact, I think you should have every cocktail mentioned in this post this evening.

 

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