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photo by Angel Franco/The New York Times (2005)

photo by Angel Franco/The New York Times (2005)

I was trying to trace back to the point in time when I really developed my appreciation and love for cocktails and mixed drinks. I think the turning point was April 2005 in NYC. It was my first trip up and right before we left I read the weekly Shaken and Stirred article in the Sunday Style section of the New York Times that happened to feature the spring drink trends for 2005. The concept of using fresh, seasonal ingredients caught my attention.

With article in tow, my husband and I visited Gramercy Tavern where I had the Belle du Jour that has permanently secured my love for lavender and gin. The drink was created by Barry Johnson and named after Catherine Deneuve, since he felt it reflected the feminine nature of the lavender simple syrup, gin, and lemon juice.

Once we came home, I experimented to recreate the Belle du Jour and came up with the following:

    Belle du Jour – Retour
    2 oz gin
    1 oz lemon juice
    ½ oz lavender simple syrup

    Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, shake vigorously, and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

    Lavender Simple Syrup
    1¼ cups water
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    1 oz fresh lavender leaves (preferably french), chopped

    Bring water to boil in a saucepan, add sugar, stir until sugar dissolves, and add lavender leaves. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature and strain syrup into a bottle. Store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Blood_OrangeWe also stopped by Lure Fishbar where I had a delicious blood orange margarita and my husband had a basil-strawberry drink (can’t remember the base spirit). The margarita was made with fresh blood orange puree, tequila, and orange curacao and happens to be still/back on their menu. While not the recipe from Rainlove Lampariello (who created the cocktails for Lure at that time) I did find another version:

    Blue Smoke’s Blood Orange Margarita from Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer’s Acclaimed New York City Restaurants
    2 oz blanco tequila
    1½ oz fresh lime juice
    ¾ oz orange liqueur (such as GranGala or Cointreau)
    ½ oz simple syrup
    ¾ oz blood orange purée
    1 lime wheel (optional)
    1 blood orange wheel (optional)

    Moisten the edge of a rocks glass using a wedge of lime. Sprinkle salt on a plate and dip the outside rim of the glass into the salt. Fill both the glass and a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, simple syrup, and purée to the shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into glass and garnish with orange and lime wheels.

    Blood Orange Puree
    4 blood oranges, peeled, segmented, and seeded
    1 tblsp simple syrup, or to taste
    1 tsp lemon juice

    In a blender, combine the orange segments, simple syrup, and lemon juice and purée until smooth. (Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two days.)

So what was your first love and who was behind it?

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