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Archive for the ‘Seltzer/club soda’ Category

Yvette Guilbert Scala - Ferdinand BacTales of the Cocktail 2009 is finishing up today. One of the highlights yesterday was the unveiling of Crème Yvette by Cooper Spirits International of St-Germain fame. Crème Yvette is a liqueur with a blend of berries, vanilla and other spices, and violets. According to Dr. Cocktail it was originally named after Yvette Guilbert, a singer/actress in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. It has been unavailable for the most part since the 1960s and, from what I’ve heard from others, was the preferred violet liqueur – much better than Crème de Violette or Parfait Amour.

The tasting room that was set up at Tales had the lights turned low, was clad in black, fitted with about half-a-dozen high cafe tables and stools, and had a single bar in spotlight where Jamie Boudreau was mixing up Aviations and Blue Moons.

The new Crème Yvette is sexy from the start – the bottle is buxom and beautiful. Unfortunately due to the lighting and the crowd I couldn’t get a picture (although you can find a picture in a Time Out NY article from earlier this year). I sampled an Aviation, which unfortunately featured the maraschino liqueur more than the Crème Yvette. I can’t wait until Crème Yvette hits the shelves so that I can try out some drinks on my own such as:

    Blue Moon Variation from CocktailDB
    1½ oz Gin
    1 egg white
    ¾ oz lemon juice
    ¼ oz Crème Yvette

    Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass.

    Violet Fizz adapted from Dr. Cocktail (Ted Haigh)
    1½ oz Gin
    ½ oz Crème Yvette
    1 oz lemon juice
    ½ oz sugar
    Soda water

    Combine gin, Crème Yvette, lemon juice, and sugar in shaker; add ice; shake; and strain into highball glass filled with ice. Top off with soda water.

    Attention adapted from Jamie Boudreau’s recipe in July/August 2007 Imbibe
    2 oz gin
    ¼ oz dry vermouth
    ¼ oz Crème Yvette
    ¼ oz Herbasint, Pernod or other pastis
    2 dashes orange bitters
    Lemon twist

    Combine all ingredients except for twist in a mixing glass. Fill with cracked ice and stir for 30 seconds (or until frost develops on the glass). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

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GrapefruitIt’s hot. So hot. With the sun blazing down and heat radiating off the surrounding pavement and buildings, I desperately seek out shade, air-conditioning and a cool drink. However, drinks that are too strong or sweet just aren’t appealing even if they’re cold. Citrus fruits, even though they’re technically winter produce, provide an ideal refreshment. As a kid if I was allowed to have a soda, I’d choose either Squirt, Mellow Yellow, and to a lesser degree Fresca. Now I thankfully graduated to versions without all the processed ingredients and sugars and can indulge with drinks having a bit more complexity. The Paloma embodies the tart/sweet/salty flavors of a great summer drink.

Back in April, Julio Bermejo was in town giving a seminar at the Museum of the American Cocktail on his favorite subject, tequila. One of the drinks presented and served was the Paloma, but this one was different from the standard variety that you pick-up in Mexico or as represented in the many recipes online (such as the Cazadores Paloma demonstrated in this hilarious, campy video).

Rather than use grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos, Julio used fresh grapefruit juice carbonated with a seltzer bottle. Muy bueno! This simple drink forced my husband and me to purchase a Sodastream Pure Home Soda Maker (Charcoal/Stainless) so we could do this at home.

    Dr. Kern’s Paloma by Julio Bermejo
    2 oz 100% agave tequila (Ocho Resposado)
    4 oz fresh, force-carbonated ruby red grapefruit juice
    Pinch of salt

    In a boston shaker filled with ice, pour tequila, add carbonated ruby red grapefruit juice, and shake. Strain into glass and add pinch of salt.

For some additional variations to the Paloma, I have found these others:

    Paloma, Mi Amante by Paul Clarke
    2 oz Tequila por Mi Amante
    ½ a lime
    Pinch of coarse salt
    Grapefruit soda

    Add ingredients to an ice-filled Collins glass; top with grapefruit soda (Jarritos, Squirt, or if you just can’t find any, try Sprite with a healthy squeeze of fresh grapefruit).

I’m fortunate to have a batch of Tequila por Mi Amante sitting in the frig that I made a while back when Louisiana strawberries were in season. Using this strawberry-infused tequila is a nice twist to the standard Paloma.

    Paloma Pura Cocktail from Kitchen Caravan
    2 grapefruits, halved
    1 lime, halved
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 oz tequila
    soda water
    2 fresh basil leaves

    Squeeze the juice of the grapefruit and lime into a bowl; it should equal about 1 cup. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Prepare two cocktail glasses with ice. Divide the juice between the glasses and pour 1 oz of tequila into each. Top off with a little bit of soda water. If using basil, tear up the leaves and add to the glass. Serves 2.

If you can no longer get your hands on any good grapefruit, the traditional preparation remains, but there are better alternatives to the grapefruit soda such as Izze’s or Hansen’s. In addition, I created another version since I had some extra rose sparkling wine and named it to fit along with its parentage (“paloma” means dove) and the pink hue from both the juice and the sparkling wine:

Paloma_Rose Colombe de Rose
1 oz fresh, ruby red grapefruit juice
¾ oz reposado tequila
Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé
Pinch of pink finishing salt

Strain the grapefruit juice into a champagne glass, add tequila and top off the glass with the Rosé. Sprinkle the salt into the glass.

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German ChamomileSpring delivered me a sweet nosegay of chamomile from my garden, and offered me a great opportunity to experiment with floral cocktails. I love a soothing cup of chamomile tea and the scent brings back memories of summers in Germany where my aunt and uncle would have a huge(!) cup of tea each evening after dinner. Unfortunately, in the land of cocktails there are few offerings utilizing the lovely “mayweed.”

Square One Vodka has the Goodnight Ginger, created by founder Allison Evanow, which actually uses a chamomile myrtle tea to infuse the vodka:

    Goodnight Ginger
    2 oz Square One Organic Vodka infused with Numi Organic Chamomile Lemon Myrtle Teasan
    2 oz fresh lemon juice
    1/8 tsp fresh grated ginger
    1 oz organic agave nectar
    Splash of Vya Extra-Dry Vermouth

    Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
    Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Additionally, I came across a blog by Kelly Hightower who posted a recipe for a chamomile-infused rum punch:

    Flor de Caña Flip Flop Punch
    2 ozs Chamomile infused Flor De Caña 4-year old Rum
    4 sugar cubes
    3 oz club soda
    1 oz lemon juice
    1½ oz grapefruit juice

    Dissolve 4 sugar cubes in 1 oz of club soda (this generally involves muddling to help process). After sugar cubes are muddled/dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients except for the club soda one at a time and stir as added. Add ice once all of the ingredients have been added and stirred. Stir the punch until it is chilled. Top with remaining (2 oz) club soda and garnish with grapefruit slices.

Jamie Boudreau, who seemingly has a cocktail aligning with all my random musings, has a wonderful scotch-based sour:

    Chamomile Sour
    2 oz chamomile scotch
    ¾ oz lemon juice
    ½ oz simple syrup
    1 small egg white

    Place all ingredients in shaker and froth with cappuccino blade. Add ice and shake hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

According to Kelly, she made the chamomile-infused rum by adding 4 bar spoons of loose chamomile tea to 1 bottle of rum, letting it sit for an hour and 45 minutes, straining out the tea, and funneling the infused rum back into the bottle for storage.

Jamie’s instructions to make the chamomile scotch are: place half of an ounce of dried chamomile flowers into a jar with a bottle of scotch (e.g. Famous Grouse), let sit for 20 minutes, and then filter the chamomile from the scotch.

I actually tired two experiments with my fresh-picked chamomile: vodka (Absolut 100) and rum (Flor de Caña Gold 4 y.o. ). For each I used approximately two dozen flowers where most of the stems and petals had been removed. I placed these in my canning jars with 4 ounces of spirit. I let each infuse for a week in my refrigerator; agitating daily. I strained the infusions through coffee filters and bottled.

Spring-boarding from the flavors represented in both the Goodnight Ginger and the Flip Flop Punch, I tried making a cocktail using the chamomile-infused rum, Domaine de Canton, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and bitters. However, the chamomile was too strong and I couldn’t find a combination that was enjoyable. If I were to do rum again, I wouldn’t let the flowers steep so long.

However, the chamomile vodka turned out wonderful – really like a pure, fresh tea. In the spirit of celebrating the flavors of Spring in the South, I combined fresh Texas peaches with the vodka to create:

Peach PoseyPeach Posey

1 small peach
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1½ oz chamomile-infused vodka
½ oz lemon juice
3 dashes Peychaud bitters

Slice the peach (reserving one slice for garnish) and muddle with sugar adjusting the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the peach. Add vodka, lemon juice, bitters, and ice; shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the reserved peach slice.

Here’s to Spring’s bounty!

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