Spirited Dinner at GW Fins with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry & Martin Cate

It was a tough decision which Spirited Dinner to go to this year — so many menus looked great, we were teetering between Wolfe’s in the Warehouse and Iris and we thought long and hard about trying someplace new to us — but in the end it was kind of a shoo-in. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry was mixing for another dinner this year, and last year he and Wayne Curtis made fantastic drinks to accompany Chef Chris DeBarr’s “Modern Tiki Cuisine” for one of the best meals I’d ever had … well, as much of it as I remember.

Bum and Wayne’s drinks contained a total of 7-1/2 ounces of rum during that three-hour meal, and it didn’t help that earlier in the day I’d had tastes of six Scotches, ten gins, eight brandies plus the Cocktail Hour event (inexplicably and invariably scheduled right before the Spirited Dinners). Once I finally decided that I wanted the Bum’s drink pairings again, especially since this year he teamed up with Martin Cate, formerly of Forbidden Island and soon to be proprietor of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, I knew some preparation was in order. I decided I’d better take it easy during this year’s Tales Thursday so that this meal wouldn’t completely liquefy me — no taking three seminars in a row that involve copious amounts of spirits tasting in which Chuck fails to make use of the spit buckets.

Rick, giving friend that he is, helped out by adding an additional rule to his previous list of ten: “Chuck is not allowed to drink before the Spirited Dinner.” Despite that, I did manage to make it to the Cocktail Hour event, which 1) should be in the Presbytere every year, as it was a beautiful location for the event, and 2) should never again be scheduled before the Spirited Dinners unless they’re willing to provide buckets for us to be poured into. Fortunately the gods were looking out for me at Cocktail Hour by causing my favorite bartenders to all run out of cups by the time I got to them.

A short walk from the Presbytere took us to GW Fins, one of the city’s newer restaurants (i.e., opened during the 21st Century rather than the 19th or early 20th) and a renowned destination for seafood. Theirs was one of the two or three most exciting looking menus on the Tales site, plus we knew a ton of people who were going to this one too, all elements for a great evening. Wes and I sat with several of our friends from Seattle and Portland, and we toasted each other with the welcoming cocktail, first of six for the evening.

Welcoming Cocktail, Spirited Dinner at GW Fins

THE CRESCENT CITY BLOSSOM
(by Martin Cate)

2-1/2 ounces Moët & Chandon White Star Champagne
1 ounce Plymouth Gin
1 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 ounce Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters

Combine gin, St. Germain, and bitters in an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir until well chilled and strain into a Champagne glass. Top with Moët & Chandon. Garnish with a thin, 8-inch orange peel spiral.

Finally, after we had settled in and begun enjoying our aperitivo, our intrepid mixologists, Beachbum Berry and Martin Cate, arrived (along with GW Fins’ chef de cuisine) to welcome us and talk a little bit about what was to come, and how quickly their ideas for perfect cocktail pairings came to them as soon as they saw the proposed menu.

Bar and Kitchen The Mad Tiki-tenders!

Some will argue that cocktail pairings are even better than wine pairings, as you can tailor the drink to the food very precisely. Whether you believe that or not, I’ll say that this particular meal featured some of the best food-beverage pairings I’ve ever had.

And now … dinner is served!

1st Course: Chilled Melon Soup

We started with a Chilled Melon Soup, in the center of which was a huge scoop of jumbo lump crabmeat topped with cilantro sprouts. Mixed into the soup were little balls of watermelon plus cantaloupe and honeydew melons, plus cubes of lime gelée, which provided a delightful little burst of tartness and change of texture every few bites or so. The soup was bright, cool, refreshing and delicious — the lightness of the dish was welcome to those of us who’d been having hollandaise-napped egg dishes for breakfast or huge piles of fried seafood for lunch. And, oh my Gawd, that crabmeat … I’ll eat pretty much anything that has a scoop of jumbo lump crabmeat in the middle.

1st Cocktail: Menehune Gonzalez

Accompanying the watermelon soup was our first cocktail, the Menehune Gonzalez, made with blanco tequila, a great white agricole rum from Martinique, green Chartreuse and a housemade hibiscus tincture, a bottle of which being provided to each table so that each guest could add some to his or her individual serving as they pleased. Lovely drink, and the flavors of both the base spirits and the Chartreuse played off one another quite nicely. The hibiscus gave it some color affinity as well as a bit of extra tartness, along the lines of the lime gele in the soup. We were off to a grand start.

MENEHUNE GONZALEZ
(by Martin Cate)

1 ounce El Tesoro Blanco tequila
1 ounce Rhum Clément Première Canne rum
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse
Half an egg white

Shake vigorously and strain into a small ice-filled old fashioned glass.

Top with 3 to 4 drops hibiscus tincture.

To make a hibiscus tincture, take an ounce of dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica) and steep in about 5 ounces of alcohol (vodka or overproof white rum) for a couple of days, then strain and bottle.

Quick on the heels of this great opening to the meal was our second (well, technically our third, but second course) cocktail, Captain Vadrna’s GrogOld New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum, lime and grapefruit juices and demerara syrup. Nice big aromatic cinnamon stick as garnish, and … a pirate flag! Almost immediately, my friend Rocky and I broke into a chorus of “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me” (assisted by some quick Googling on Rocky’s phone, as we both ran out of lyrics after the first verse). Pretty quickly a fair swath of the restaruant was singing along, undoubtedly to the bewilderment of the guests who were there for the restaurant’s regular menu and not for the Spirited Dinner.

2nd Cocktail: Captain Vadrna's Grog

CAPTAIN VADRNA’S GROG
(by Jeff Berry)

2-1/2 ounces Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced rum
1/2 ounce white grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Demerara sugar syrup (1:1)
Dash Angostura bitters

Shake well with plenty of ice, then pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean both speared to a lime wedge, floated in drink.

Word trickled back from the bar that once Bum and Martin heard that they said they knew the party had finally started … either that or had already gotten out of hand, I forget which.

2nd Course: Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs

Before we got too far ahead of ourselves, the 2nd course arrived: Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with mâche, cinnamon mascarpone and candied pistachios. I’d almost eat this as a dessert — fruit stuffed with spiced cheese and wrapped in pig. It’s many of my favorite things, on a plate! Oh, and greens to make it officially salady, but … the sweetness and nuttiness of the mche went beautifully with the spiced rum in that cocktail. So did the cinnamon-spiced mascarpone, which caught the cinnamon and nutmeg notes of the rum. The lettuce was gorgeous with the pistachios too, and the candied crunch of the nuts was balanced by the tart citrus juices. Salads are notoriously difficult to pair with wines, but this one, even with its balsamic drizzle, was superb with this drink, and the drink was superb with the dish.

Third cocktail! Oh my, this is a big one. Served in a pilsner glass — we’re not messing around. This was the Hedgehog’s Dilemma — caramelized mango, lemon juice, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, passion fruit syrup, Myers’s Platinum rum and Angostura bitters. A fantastic drink, and on its own I’d be more than happy to order it again from any tiki bar’s menu.

3rd Cocktail: Hedgehog's Dilemma

HEDGEHOG’S DILEMMA
(by Martin Cate)

Half of a fresh mango
Teaspoon of raw sugar

1 ounce Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup (equal parts 2:1 simple syrup and Funkin Passion Fruit Purée)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup (optional – to taste)
1-1/2 ounces Myers’s Platinum Rum
Dash Angostura bitters

Dice half of a mango into 3/4. cubes. Toss with 1 teaspoon of raw sugar. Saut in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until the mango chunks are browned on all sides. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing glass, add the mango chunks and dry vermouth and muddle. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with cracked ice. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with mango chunks and a lemon twist on a skewer.

It’s so rare to get mango in a really good cocktail (those nasty mango-flavored rums and vodkas just don’t cut it) and this one, with tart passion fruit and tempered a bit by the vermouth, was probably the best mango-based cocktail I’d ever had (at least that I can remember). But when paired with this …

3rd Course: Wood-Grilled Louisiana Shrimp

Wood-Grilled Louisiana Shrimp, with lemon and papaya relish. This is classic New Orleans cuisine, adding the consideration that New Orleans is the northernmost port in the Caribbean. Heads-on shrimp (which you can almost never get in a restaurant in places like California, lest wimpy, timid patrons run screaming from the dining room at the sight of the monster on their plate, still wearing its head . where so much of the flavor is!), perfectly seasoned, nice and peppery but not too much so, with the tropical flavor of the papaya in the glaze and the sauce that married so beautifully with the drink that I practically wanted to buy them a wedding present. This dish was such a synthesis of classic Creole and Caribbean flavors and techniques, with that drink sailing up to meet it, that it made me very happy.

Four pretty huge shrimp were both quite enough, considering we’d be having five courses, yet left me wanting more. Then entire pineapples were brought to the table.

It was our next drink! Applause and giggles greeted this one, as the pineapples had straws sticking out of them … we lifted the lid to find the whole fruit filled with a beverage, man! This was the Miehana — pineapple, orange and lime juices, Cruzan Estate dark rum, Cruzan Coconut Rum and Grand Marnier. Also very refreshing, and not as sweet as you’d think it might be.

4th Cocktail: Miehana

MIEHANA
(by Jeff Berry)

1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce Cruzan Estate Dark rum
1 ounce Cruzan Coconut rum

Shake well with ice cubes. Pour unstrained into a cored pineapple. If necessary, add more ice to fill.

It was another drink I’d be happy to have in any tiki bar, but in a tiki bar you’re generally not going to get anything like this:

4th Course: Pineapple Basil Glazed Mahi

Our 4th course was Pineapple Basil Glazed Mahimahi, with coconut-cashew rice, crispy plantains and lemongrass butter. This is the kind of dish people wished they could have gotten in the “Polynesian” restaurants in the 1950s and ’60s, because it epitomizes what that cuisine aspired to but rarely attained. Gorgeous tropical flavors, a perfectly grilled piece of fish, and all of the flavors of the dish and the cocktail working in harmony with each other. This dish actually made us all laugh — that’s how delightful it was. And lest you think it was overly sweet, it wasn’t. The acids in the cocktail helped cut through the sugars, the richness of the lemongrass beurre blanc added richness to balance the acids and sugars, the plantains added texture and starch and were decidedly not sweet but the flavors complemented everything else. That drink with this course is one of the best food-drink pairings I’ve ever had. Fun fun fun.

5th Cocktail: Pupule

PUPULE
(by Jeff Berry)

1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce Bols white crème de cacao
1/4 ounce Chambord
1 ounce Angostura 1919 rum

Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a small purple orchid.

Another cocktail arrived (good lord, was this really the sixth drink?), called the Pupule. Most certainly a dessert cocktail, but again, not overly sweet and well-balanced.

5th Course: Frozen Peach Souffl

Our dessert was a Frozen Peach Soufflé, with a raspberry coulis and a few fresh raspberries. Simple, delicious and summery, and entirely appropriate given that it was roasting outside. The rum, with hints of chocolate plus more raspberry, were just the thing to have with this dessert. It’s such a pleasure to have a dessert cocktail that’s not filled with heavy cream or with enough liqueurs to make it as sweet as a candy bar.

60/40 (A Parting Gift)

We had a fantastic time, fantastic food, fantastic drinks (and Rocky realized that the Miehana came in the ultimate go-cup), but it wasn’t quite over yet. There were lovely parting gifts!

We were each presented with a bottled cocktail called the 60/40, a combination of 60% Averna amaro and 40% St. Germain elderflower liqueur, which went right into the back pocket. It was the perfect amount of liquor to last us until we could walk all the way to Arnaud’s French 75 Bar for nightcaps . right across the street. (Okay, the 60/40 survived intact until after we went home.)

Thanks again to GW Fins for a memorable meal, Martin and Jeff for the drinks, and to Jeff for providing the recipes and coring all those pineapples!

 

The Sally Rose Cocktail

I’ve got a ton of wedding-related cocktails to share today. First, an original by Wesly.

Last month we were asked by our dear friend Fiona Hoskins (co-namesake of the Hoskins Cocktail) in Shropshire in the U.K. to come up with an original cocktail for her niece’s wedding. Wes has had good luck so far with wedding cocktails, and took the lead on this one. The parameters Fiona sent over regarding the bride and family’s quaffing preference is that the drink be based on either vodka or white rum, and on the sweet side. Well! As we despise vodka cocktails and sweet cocktails, we began with latching on to the rum!

The trick was, how to make it so that it’d be sweet enough to please the bride’s palate but not so sweet that its creators would spit it out? (Its creators would actually prefer to come up with something that they’d enjoy drinking themselves.)

Wes’ idea was to use Plymouth Sloe Gin as one of the sweet elements, since it’s quintessentially English but also has a really great tartness that helps give the cocktail balance. The other sweet liqueur is St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur which all you cocktailians know well (and we also knew that the English are fond of their elderflower cordials) and that’s not as sweet as most other liqueurs. He initially added some lime juice for balance but that was too much going on — once he took it out completely it became a not-really-there cocktail idea to a drink he’d order again. (There was quite enough tartness in the Sloe Gin.) There’s also a dash of Angsotura bitters for spice, and two drops of vanilla extract for complexity and a gorgeous bouquet.

It’s a Wesly original, pretty much all the way — my job on this one was to be the taster and sounding board. Here’s Himself with a few comments, from his email to Fiona:

This drink bears some resemblance to a drink called the Millionaire Cocktail. The Millionaire also starts with rum and sloe gin, but adds apricot flavored brandy. A variation also adds lime juice. This seems quite busy to me. Ours of course uses the St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, which we think is simply a fantastic product that adds something unique and beautiful when used properly. We also started out with some lime juice, for brightness and because the St. Germain is rather sweet, and I was afraid it would dominate. However, the sloe gin (which I was intent on including, because I love the flavor profile, and it’s so very very English!) brings quite enough tartness on its own. In fact, I wasn’t really crazy about any of our experiments until I finally left out the lime. You could play with the balance between St. Germain and sloe gin, if you want to make the drink more or less sweet, but I like the balance that results from the equal amounts. The vanilla adds not just flavor but a wonderful aroma. The final drink is flowery rather than fruity (appropriate, I think, for a drink called “Rose”), definitely sweet but also with some tartness running through it from the lovely sloe berries.

We used Old New Orleans Crystal rum, because we had an open bottle begging to be finished off, but you should by all means use your favorite good quality rum that’s readily and reasonably available. (Chuck recommends Cruzan Estate Light Rum, and recommends against Bacardi.) Plymouth sloe gin is the only quality product available here, and I’m sure you should have no trouble finding it there. Be sure to use an eyedropper for adding the vanilla – it’s easy to go overboard. (We used single-strength extract, so you’ll need to adjust appropriately if yours is double.) If you’re making just a few drinks, you can add the vanilla as you mix, but this I think would be too much trouble for mixing at an event. You will make your bartender happy if you “doctor” your rum with vanilla ahead of time, 25 drops of (single-strength) vanilla extract per 750ml bottle. This in our opinion is far preferable to buying “pre-fab” vanilla infused rum, as there are only a few readily available, and not always of very good quality. This way you can still use your favorite rum but get that vanilla bouquet.

We got lovely notes back from the bride and her mom, both of whom loved the drink (yay!). Wes named it after the bride, and we look forward to meeting them when we visit in September.

The Sally Rose Cocktail

2 ounces (60 ml) white rum.
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Plymouth Sloe Gin.
1/2 ounce (15 ml) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.
2 drops vanilla extract.

Stir over ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

It’s a gorgeous color too — I’d consider garnishing with a rose petal. (No pictures, alas … we had WAY too much to do this week!)

Now, for some in honor of Marleigh and Dan’s wedding today … no time for an original here either, unfortunately, but CocktailDB yields a few interesting-looking wedding-named cocktails:

The Royal Wedding Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces gin.
3/4 ounce Swedish Punsch.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
2 dashes Grand Marnier.

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, then add 3 dashes grenadine after the cocktail is poured, so that it sinks to the bottom of the glass.

 

The Wedding March Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces light rum.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 egg white.
1 teaspoon simple syrup.
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Shake the ingredients dry (without ice) for at least a half a minute to froth up the egg white. Add ice and shake for at least one full minute. Strain into a large cocktail coupe, and dash the bitters on top, swirling the drops with a toothpick. (For a gorgeous presentation, load a Misto mister bottle with Angostura and do a couple of sprays onto the top of the egg froth.

 

The Wedding Night Cocktail

1-3/4 ounces light rum.
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1/4 ounce grade B maple syrup.

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. (Optional – invert amounts of maple syrup and lime for a sweeter drink)

Congratulations again, y’all!

 

Cocktail of the Day: The 1820

Jeez, where did June go? Where did 2009 go, for that matter?! It’s July already, Tales of the Cocktail is upon us in one week, and I’m so insanely busy getting ready for that and a wedding we’re taking part in on Saturday that I might just go supernova.

Today’s cocktail is outta da paper, rather than one I’ve had the time to research and make and photograph and such, but it looks like a terrific one I’ll try at my earliest convenience. Speaking of the Del Maguey mezcals above, Gary Regan has a Cocktailian article in the San Francisco Chronicle about his change of heart regarding mezcal, and his appreciation for a lovely cocktail using it that he got from Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston. Read about it and have a go!

The 1820
(by Misty Kalkofen, Drink, Boston)

1-3/4 ounces Bols Genever.
1/4 ounce Galliano l’Autentico.
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice 1/2 ounce Lavender Simple Syrup (see recipe in the article).
1 bar spoon Del Maguey Minero mezcal.
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters.

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This one’s become a favorite at our place, and among friends as well.

 

the Brave

You may never have had a cocktail quite like “the Brave,” which is served at the superb Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, TX.  It’s the creating of co-owner and head bartender Bobby Heugel and it’s perhaps the most unusual cocktail on Anvil’s menu, one Bobby recommends people work their way up to, and which he describes as their most “intense.”

The Brave

the Brave
(by Bobby Heugel, Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston TX)

1 ounce Del Maguey Chichicapa Single Village Mezcal.
1 ounce Hacienda de Chihuahua Plata Sotol.
1/2 ounce Averna.
1 barspoon orange Curação.
3 dashes Angostura bitters.

Combine all ingredients in a large wine glass and swirl to combine. Garnish with a flamed orange peel and serve at room temperature. NO ICE.

Yep, you heard me. Room temperature. No ice. No chill, no dilution. Talk about intense. And it was … intensely delicious. Very, very unusual, and Bobby said he’d recently been fascinated with the idea of room temperature cocktails.

I absolutely adore all the Del Maguey mezcals, but I had never tried sotol before. It’s made from a wild plant native to Chihuahua, Mexico, called the “desert spoon,” or Dasylirion wheeleri, or simply the sotol plant, a relative of the blue agave. It’s really good, and very interesting stuff — smooth, herbal, a bit grassy and a bit smoky. I didn’t taste much of it on its own, but as of today I have my own bottle (Hacienda de Chihuahua is the brand, and they make a plata, reposado and añejo as with tequila). The smokiness of the mezcal, the herbal qualities of the sotol, the bitterness of the amaro … plus the wine glass increases the bouquet tremendously. Just a knockout.

UPDATE: It seems this may now be Anvil’s signature cocktail — in a recent Twitter post, Bobby promised he’d never take it off the menu.

The Southside Cocktail

A couple of weeks ago I got into a little online tête-à-tête with Chris Amirault of eGullet’s Fine Spirits and Cocktails Forum when he asked for suggestions for a mint cocktail he could have when he got home. “Don’t say ‘Mojito,’ please,” he added. I extended that to juleps too, since that’s a bit obvious, and started mulling over the idea of a smash, a rum smash in particular. More on that in a moment.

I have a difficult history with mint in cocktails. I have come to love mint in its fresh form, yet continue to find most if not all mint-based liqueurs to be revolting. I even used to find mint juleps to be revolting, but that was because it was many, many years before I’d ever had a good one, and on a number of occasions I’d tried it I’d been served very poor imposters made with mint syrup (but, thank all the forces in the Cosmos, never an abomination like this).

All it takes, though, is a good (or great) bartender to make you a proper mint julep, and the world of mint is your oyster. (Not only is this Cocktail of the Day, it’s also Mixed Metaphor of the Day.)

Chris ended up settling on the Southside Cocktail, one that oddly enough I’d never had, and specifically the version made by Toby Maloney of The Violet Hour in Chicago. There are a number of various recipes for this drink, some calling for lemon (although most bartenders seem to use lime), and Dale DeGroff even calls for it to be topped with soda.

I don’t want soda in mine, and although it’s not part of the traditional recipe I really like the addition of a little dash of bitters in here as Toby suggests — for a standard Southside, just omit it. As fond of tart drinks as I am, I up the lime a bit, but if you want to stick to Toby’s version keep it at 3/4 ounce.




The Southside Cocktail
(version by Toby Maloney, The Violet Hour, Chicago)

2 ounces Beefeater gin.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
3/4 ounce simple syrup.
1 dash Angostura Bitters (optional).
Mint.

As shown above, place a sheaf of mint into the shaker and barely bruise it for a few seconds. (Do NOT muddle or grind it, as you’ll end up getting the bitter, vegetal flavor of chlorophyll and ground leaves, and not the lovely aroma and flavor of the essential oils of the mint — this is probably the biggest mistake people make when muddling mint to make Mojitos and other mint-bearing cocktails.)

Add the rest of the ingredients plus cracked ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Double-strain to remove any particles of mint, into a chilled cocktail glass. Spank a handful of mint over the glass to release more essential oils, and garnish with a single floated mint leaf.

Toby participated in an excellent eGullet thread on the Southside a while back, where he explained the evolution of how he came to make the cocktail the way it is (including the non-traditional addition of bitters, which he quite rightly says goes with gin “like ham and eggs”). It’s still a good drink without bitters, but with … it is the yum!

Some recipes call for it with a splash of soda to top it off in a cocktail glass, others call for making it into a long drink, like a Collins with mint. One person on eGullet suggested making it from a fizz into a royale by topping it with Champagne instead of soda. Toby adds that if you do you use Champagne, “don’t forget to bump the simple about 1/2 ounce for every 2-3 ounces of Champers, as Champagne dries cocktails out.”

One of the eGulleters noted that this drink is a perfect way to get the ginphobic vodka crowd to drink a gin-bearing cocktail. I agree, and so did Toby — he noted that when he put it on The Violet Hour’s menu, they sold it as a “gateway” gin cocktail (which is exatly the term I like to use). He added, “Many times, when requested to make it with vodka the bartender or server would recommend that it be made with ‘this great botanical, citrus infused vodka we had.’ It would then be made with Plymouth gin. Always a hit.” (Hah! “Great botanical-and-citrus-infused vodka” … I am so stealing that.)

Here’s a food pairing idea: at the Spirited Dinner at The Rib Room at Tales of the Cocktail 2007 in New Orleans, bartenders Chad Solomon and Christy Pope paired this cocktail (sans bitters) with a seared porcini-crusted redfish filet with wilted spinach. Yum.

I got myself all distracted with this lovely cocktail and had forgotten completely about my own suggestion, which I tried the next night. It’s a variation on the venerable Whiskey Smash, with rum as the base and Créole Shrubb instead of cura¸ao, and is kind of a riff on Maks’ Creole Julep, the official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2009.

St. Pierre Rum Smash
(just me messing around with rum and mint)

1-1/2 ounces Rhum Clément VSOP rhum agricole.
1/2 ounce Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum.
1/2 ounce Clément Créole Shrubb.
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
6 or 8 large mint leaves, no stems.

Bruise the mint gently in the shaker, then add the other ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, then strain over ice into a large rocks glass. Garnish with a large sprig of mint.

Hmm, not bad!

 

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