Tiki Bars – Latitude 29

Latitude 19

And so finally I got to go the Latitude 29! I´ve been waiting since they opened with great anticipation and (high) expectancy…..well…I try to not have too high expectations whatever it is, better to have an open mind, but with this one i`s a bit different….because this is the BUM`s place….this is the man who uncoded all the secret codes and brought us all these lost drink recipes and who wrote no less than six stellar books on the subject if you count in Taboo Table.

His books have been my to go tiki drink (and history) books for years and so now he and his wife Annene Kay aka Mrs Bum opens a real tiki bar in my favorite city New Orleans!

And I wasn`t there when they opened….and had to wait all the way until this year´s Tales before I could finally go and see it  – and in the meantime I`ve been drooling over all the food and drink pictures (can you say Tahitian Steak Frites?) and the drinks…..oh the drinks….

I`ve seen so many beautiful pictures of these drinks that I didn`t know what to start with….but I ended up ordering a Pontchartrain Pearl Diver as my first drink – in the NEW Pearl Diver`s glass! 🙂

The Pearl Diver`s glass, the Swizzle cup and the skull barspoons are all new for this summer in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Cocktail Kingdom and they were sold at the Tales but are also available online. The vintage Pearl Diver`s Punch glass is more or less impossible to find anymore so I`m really happy they are re-making them and same for the cool swizzle cup! I hope to see more re-making of these type of vintage tiki drink glasses….

And not only are the glasses really cool they come in beautiful vintage looking packages too!

Latitude29 Pearl Diver 3

The Pontchartrain Pearl Diver was good…..very very good – well balanced and oh so tasty! I didn`t try so very many drinks during the Tales because it was so incredibly busy….and so was I…so I decided to wait until after Tales and THEN go there for some serious drink tasting!

So last friday I went there early and I sat there and happily indulged Tahitian Steak Frites with luscious Coconut Butter and later a Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi accompanied by a whole array of drinks until in the evening, I actually spent a whole “working day” in the place!

And I had a nice chat with the Bum, about rums and rums and rums…and of course, tiki drinks. I was indeed a very good day….The place is so cool and relaxed, beautifully decorated and the music is great! with everything from real good and cool old style Jamaican reggae to surf music! and the co-bar manager Steven Yamada and his staff are very attentive, friendly and nice.

It`s really a place to go not only for the great drinks and food but also to escape from the world outside and it doesn`t matter if there´s big windows to the outside world…..because this is New Orleans! and the view from the beautiful arched windows is nothing but beautiful….over the pool and the tropical plants in the courtyard of Bienville House Hotel.

This used to be housing the former Iris restaurant, I went there in 2009 with all the Tales bloggers and now I cannot recognize the restaurant and bar anymore, it´s a total different world! quite the transformation….the only things that looks the same is the courtyard and the hotel lobby.

Take a look:

2009-2015 2

Back in 2009…Alan Walther tends the bar at Iris…..and he did serve some amazing cocktails! he later moved on to Loa, this was long before the Iris became what it is today – a true tiki haven!

2009-2015

The Tales Blogger Dinner in 2009 in the former Iris restaurant, the same view today of the beautiful courtyard and pool but the dining room has dramatically changed…..

Bienville House Hotel Courtyard

This is such a tranquil and peaceful place….if staying at this hotel you get both all this plus the Latitude29 in one place…..

Pool view through window

Eat Drink and be Merry!

drinks collage

Hurricane, Kea Colada and Royal Hawaiian Cocktail.

The food menu has something for everyone! executive Chef Chris Shortall and his staff creates their own take on modern Tiki Cuisine which is playful and tasty and there`s something for everyone including options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests.

First thing I opted for was the Tahitian Steak Frites which I`ve been dreaming about since they opened…..

The Tahitian Steak Frites are tender, luscious and juicy (I ordered mine medium-rare) served with hot crispy thin fries and a tasty dipping sauce plus a dollop of coconut butter on top! the Bum told me that in Tahiti they add coconut to the cow´s diet and therefore everything the cows are producing have a touch of coconut flavor…heavenly….and so they wanted to re-create that idea here with the coconut butter.

I LOVE it!

Steak frites collage

I`m not joking, I think I could eat this almost every day….the meat is so tender and melts in your mouth together with that lovely coconut butter….

The Mahi Mahi Bahn Mi is wild caught Mahi poached in coconut oil, jalapeño, sriracha, and shallot….and at a Chef`s Challenge before the Tales I tried the ribs which are very tasty too….and not to forget the crispy green beans!

Another nice dish is the Shrimps in Blanket, the gulf shrimps here really are something special. They are big and juicy….and have more shrimp flavor than shrimps I`ve tasted anywhere else.

Latitude shrimps in blankets

Shrimps in Blanket

Latitude 29 Sahimi beans

These green beans were amazing…..

An array of seductive tropical tiki drinks…..

Latitude 4

When you enter a tiki bar you want to be seduced….you want to forget the daily struggles and take a “trip to the South Seas” with exotic tropical drinks! (inspired by drinks in the Caribbean….) 🙂

So I started with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver….it`s such a good drink!…..balanced, fruity and rummy! The Pearl Diver is a mix of honey-butter-spice mix blended with passion fruit, lime and Jamaica rum. The butter adds a wonderful slightly viscous mouth-feel, if you didn`t know it was butter in the mix you wouldn`t know what it was but you would know there was something there….

After the Pearl Diver I had the namesake drink of this bar – the Latitude 29…..it comes in a tall glass wrapped in banana leaf for that real tropical feel – and you get that cool gorgeous swizzle stick! – made after the wall art by Bosko! The drink is made with eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit purée, house made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon.

They are both gorgeous in their presentations with the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver in the new re-made super cool Pearl Diver`s glass.

Latitude29 collage

The Latitude 29

The Rum Barrel is according to the menu a communal drink but it says “For 2 to share, or 1 thirsty pirate to hoard. A kill-devil’s brew of 3 rums, 4 juices, multiple herbs, spices and sweeteners …” – so apparently I`m a “thirsty pirate” since I had no problem drinking it all by myself….

It sure makes you feel like a rummy pirate! 😀

It`s presentation is BEAUTIFUL! and fun! see the picture….they really take time to garnish up these beauties….and the drink itself is strong and rummy/fruity/spicy. One of my favorites!

Latitude 7

Rum Barrel, complete with pineapple peel, cherries, orchid, swinging monkeys and umbrella! superfun garnish 🙂

And so is the Coffee Bongo…..also incredibly nicely garnished….with a pineapple leaf cut out to look like a palm tree frond…..topped with two coffee beans….stunning! the drink is also strong/spicy and rummy with lots of character and if you like coffee and pineapple together, you find it here.

Latitude 23

Every drink is not rum though….there´s a drink called “Outcast of the Islands” which was amazingly tasty and is a mix of London gin and Persian lime…with cinnamon, ginger, almond and anise, heavenly….

And it LOOKS heavenly too! it comes served with an ice shell…..how cool is that? and the Navy Grog comes with the iconic ice cone which is made with the Bum`s ice cone device sold by Cocktail Kingdom (as well as the Pearl Diver`s glasses, the swizzle cup and the skull bar spoons)

And there are drinks with bourbon, brandy, tequila, beer and vodka….but I haven`t tried them all yet….there`s something for everyone in the drink menu too. Me, I tend to mostly stick to the rums….

Ice cone shell drinks

Outcast of the Islands and the iconic Navy Grog

The Professor Remsberg`s Punch is a very interesting drink and very tasty too, the drink contains “Fine old Guadeloupe rum, gently stirred with lime and a Caribbean spiced syrup discovered over 30 years ago in San Juan by the Professor himself”…….I wonder what is in that syrup? If you didn`t know, Stephen Remsberg is the world´s biggest rum collector.

Latitude 21

Professor Remsberg`s Punch

All the drinks at Latitude 29 are good and well balanced, from the (real, no chemical-mix) Hurricane, Mai Tai, TOTC Swizzle, Nui Nui, Kea Colada, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, Lapu Lapu, Hawaii 504, Missionary`s Downfall and the Paniolo….which is Kentucky bourbon and Hawaiian macadamia nut liqueur shaken with lime, house made cranberry syrup and a dash of molé bitters.

It`s evident to me that they pay as much attention to the garnishes as the drinks themselves because some of these drinks ar off the charts when it comes to beautiful presentations! you get a little work of art in your hand!

And the drink names alone takes you on a exotic journey…..a lot of them created back in the heydays of tiki.

Tasty, exotic and beautiful.

Hawaii 504

The Hawaii 504

You know, you need to go there and just try all these heavenly things! btw….between 3 and 6 pm every day it´s Happy Hour with a special menu….where among the drinks you`ll find the Banana Banshee and the Royal Hawaiian Cocktail….both perfect to cool you down when it´s hot outside which is a guaranteed thing in New Orleans during the summer.

And the best thing of all….you get the Steak Frites for half the price! what is there not to love?

The Banana Banshee is a frozen cocktail with Jamaican rum, lime, coconut milk and coconut cream, fresh banana and aztec bitters and topped with grated chocolate!

Lat29 Banana Banshee 2

Banana Banshee

I also ordered a few off-menu drinks with the help of Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app, such a handy thing to have! and they were delivered top notch! I think Steve outdid himself with the Coconaut….coming beautifully garnished with a Cruzan Blackstrap float on the side. It tasted absolutely heavenly…..it was a mix of Hamilton 151 Demerara, El Dorado 5, for the rums plus that lovely float of blackstrap to pour yourself 🙂

Coconaut collage

This Coconaut was incredible!

The Zombie was spicy and nice just as I expected, and just about right with the strength, and the Kamehameha Rum Punch did live up to it´s name…..

Kamehameha and zombie

Kamehameha Rum Punch and the Zombie…..

This interesting drink recipe is from Sippin`Safari and originates from the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii, as the origin of the drink around 1960.

So who was King Kamehameha you might ask?  Kamehameha – also known as Kamehameha the Great was the head of a dynasty ruling the Hawaiian islands for more than a century. The name Kamehameha (pronounced kuh-may-ha-may-ha) means “the one set apart.” He conquered the Hawaiian islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawai`i in 1810.

This drink is actually named after the Hotel King Kamehameha in Kona, Hawaii who took the name after the great Hawaiian King – Kamehameha.

Every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11, a state holiday in Hawai’i), National Statuary Hall is the scene of a ceremony in honor of the king and the statue of Kamehameha the Great is draped with lovely (and loooong) leis of fragrant flowers from Hawai’i. The Festival continues to pay tribute to Kamehameha and acts to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.

Communal Drinks

And as every tiki bar should, there:s also a couple of different communal drinks on the menu, the newest one is a monster drink called the “Plantocracy Punch” for 6-8 people but we were only three so we tried the Lapu Lapu which uses a recipe which according to the menu is a Don The Beachcomber’s “lost” unpublished 1964 recipe, recently discovered by the Bum and presented here for the first time in over 40 years.

And of course it`s appropriately garnished with little mermaids taking a rummy ice bath…..

Lapu Lapu collage

Fruity, spicy, rummy Lapu Lapu and little mermaids swimming in the bowl….

Latitude 16

Rums….

Samaroli rums collage

While sitting in the bar I spotted two Samaroli rum bottles….and so of course I ordered a sample of each….and with the rum samples you get a small shot glass with water and a dropper, neat.

One was the 13 year old Guadeloupe 1998 Rhum Agricole and the other 1988 Demerara Dark Rum. The Guadeloupe is spicy and a touch smokey, with a strong character but at the same time, not too aggressive, it´s fruity, peppery, balanced and picky but also smooth.

A few drops of water brings out a whole array of tropical fruits flavors! this rum is incredible. I REALLY liked it!

The 23 year old 1988 Demerara rum had flavors of wood, macerated tropical fruits, apricot, vanilla, banana peel, mango and something else I couldn`t define…..but here a few drops of water didn`t bring out much change….still very woody, strong and fruity. Also a very good rum! Both of these rums are distilled in the Caribbean and then matured in Scotland.

They are not cheap but they are unique rums and they give you something to remember.

Then I saw a curiosity on the menu….it had a sort of mellow toasty coconut flavor…interesting….and I think it also could be used as ingredient in some of the drinks maybe? how about a Toasted Coconut Daiquiri?

Toasted coconut collage

The Interior Decor…..

TD art

Here is top crafts….the first thing you notice is of course the big centerpiece which now is in the same spot as the huge mirror was when it was the bar at Iris. The centerpiece is a huge carving of the Pacific Islands in a map in the forms of small tikis made by Daniel Gallardo aka Tiki Tiablo, and it`s a stunning work of art!!

Here is a collage of close-ups of the “Islands” in the map and there´s a nod to New Orleans too….do you see the fleur de lis on top?

TD map collage

Bosko Hrnjak did all the new (non-vintage) light fixtures and all of the new (non-vintage) tiki carvings, wall panels, etc, over 50 of them in total. And Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe did 8 Easter Island carvings on the hut wall-dividers.

It`s all beautiful….

wall art collage

lamps collage

Another (practical) thing I greatly appreciate are the power outlets with USB ports located on each side of the tables, I wish more bars had that, it should be standard everywhere.

Tiki glasses, Barspoons and Orgeat

Latitude 11

All tikiphiles already knows about the Pearl Diver`s glass, the swizze cup and the cool skull bar spoons which you can find at the Cocktail Kingdom which I mentioned above….but a new thing is the Latitude29 orgeat which comes in a heavy round glass bottle and is sold in the bar.

I haven`t tried the orgeat yet even though I bought a couple of bottles (USD 15 each) but i`m out travellling so that will have to wait.

So to sum it all up, what I was looking for was how the food and the drinks tasted and were presented and if there´s consistency….(and yes I have returned) and how the decor and the feel of the place was, what music did they play and how loud? is it possible to have a conversation or do you have to scream? and how I was treated as a guest.

Personally I have nothing to complain about, the food and drinks are top class, the decor tasteful and genuinely tiki, it`s a laid back and relaxed feel, the staff attentive, professional and very sweet and so I`ll keep coming back, this is now my primarily watering hole in New Orleans :-).

That said there´s a lot of very good bars here, I just happen to really really like well made tiki drinks and in the relaxed vibe and environment of a real good tiki bar, there I feel the most at home.

Samaroli Rums and Pearl Diver at latitude 29

 

Interior pole

 

Bum sign

TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

Appleton brunch pool pic2

Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

Appleton brunch 5 pic 2

Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops 🙂

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

Appleton Brunch collage 4

And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

Bulleit New Fashioned 2 small pic

Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

Bulleit New Fashioned ingredients2

The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

TOTC 2014 – Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why? and Floridita – Cradle of the Daiquiri

Plantation rum samples 2

Picture Laura Godel

Which Rum, What Cocktail and Why?

This seminar was presented by Plantation Rum and held by Jeff Berry, Alexandre Gabriel, Martin Cate and Philip Duff and the room was packed and of course all the usual suspects were there 🙂

They took us through the history of rum, the tiki era, Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic… and then a very interesting theory about the rums Trader Vic used in his Mai Tais, or rather the Martinique rum part. Most of us (if not all ?) have always thought that the Martinique rum Trader Vic used was an agricole rum, but there is a new theory on this that the rum actually was a molasses based rum and not an agricole.

How’s that and why?

Well, there seem to be some things that points to that, for example the Martinique rum was described at the time as a rum with a “heavy coffee color”, here is the points according to Martin Cate including a pic of the jet-black Barum bottled in Jamaica:

1. Very few agricoles were exported to the US at that time. Only brand I can see in the US is Saint James. Don Beach had no agricoles at all on his 1940s rum menu. Don describes Martinique rum as “Heavy-bodied, medium pungency” and “Not as dry as the Cuban nor as rummy as the Jamaican” – no word about grassiness or a different raw material at all.

2. His first Adjusted Mai Tai recipe uses Coruba- lightly aged black Jamaican rum. Heavier bodied, but no depth of character.

3. He described using Trader Vic’s brand Martinique rum in the 1950 to match the desired “nutty” flavor of the older Jamaican.

4. Trader Vic’s 1946 Book of Food and Drink (and 1947 and 172 Bartenders Guide) describe Martinique rum as “Commonly known as French rums, they are usually heavy in body, coffee-colored, very similar to Jamaica rums, but in many cases have the dry burned flavor of the Demerara.”

There’s just no way that’s agricole. Also, Vic cited and used Negrita- a black rum from the French islands that is molasses based.

Vic’s Martinique Rum List: Outstanding brands: Bellows Martinique* Black Head* Rhum St. James Barum* Casa Grazia (?) Gosling’s Martinique* Rhum Charleston* Rhum Chauvet* Rhum Risetta* Rhum Negrita*

*All Traditionelle

Then: Creation of Vic’s Brand Mai Tai Rum – 1960s:

“This rum was made to recapture the characteristics of the original 17-year-old rum. First he skillfully blended Jamaican rums and then added Martinique rum for its elusive and wonderful nutlike flavor (ed – that’s got to be rhum traditionelle) and a bit of light Virgin Island rum for the smoothness of body. (ed. – that’s just padding to keep the cost down) This combination became the Trader Vic Mai Tai rum as we know it today.” (“Today” being the 1960s)

BARUM

Picture courtesy Martin Cate

So to me it looks like it’s true that the Martinique rum was actually molasses based. The rum world is really interesting stuff…Sure I wrote a note about this when I reviewed the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum which is a blend with both Jamaican rums and molasses based Martinique rum (Grand Arome) but being at this seminar and Martin Cate helped me get more and deeper understanding of the details.

Martin Cate is still of the opinion though, that making a Mai Tai with half Jamaican and half Agricole is delicious regardless! I tend to agree…

Next up, more about rum….yeah I have a hard time staying away from any seminar talking about my favorite cane spirit….

FLORIDITA – The cradle of the Daiquiri

Floridita seminar Jeff and David

Picture Laura Godel

This years Tales did not disappoint, I think it was even better than last year. One of the seminars I went to was “The Floridita: cradle of the Daiquiri” held by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and David Wondrich and presented by Bacardi Rum. The seminar took us back to the 1930’s Havana and head bartender Constantino Ribalaigua Vert who even taught Trader Vic how to make tropical drinks! (Trader Vic also went to New Orleans to learn how to mix drinks – after all Nola is the birthplace of the cocktail…)

The recipe for the classic daiquiri was 2 oz white rum, juice of 1/2 hand-squeezed lime, 1 tsp sugar and the drink was mostly stirred but sometimes shaken – “thrown Cuban style” that is. The limes used were the large limes most of us are used to, not the smaller key limes and they were squeezed by hand.

Hemingway who moved to Havana and there discovered the Floridita asked his daiquiri to be changed – double the rum, eliminate the sugar (he had diabetes) and adding grapefruit juice and maraschino and the Papa Double was invented, also called the Hemingway daiquiri.

His record of Papa Double consumption was 17 drinks from the morning to the evening – he really loved his daiquiri! But he didn’t drink just daiquiris, he also used to drink for example, a cocktail called “Ideal” while reading his daily paper. The Ideal was 1 oz Italian vermouth, 1 oz French vermouth, 1 oz dry gin, 3/4 oz grapefruit juice and a tsp maraschino.

Floridita daiquiris 123

One of Constantinos trademarks was the combination of grapefruit and maraschino and he used a lot of fresh mint, sugar instead of syrup, dashes of curacao and lime peel – as ingredient. He became known for consistency and a generally high quality on his cocktails.

Constantino also had an “ice program” where different styles of ice were grouped into four: 1 – Menudo (cracked) 2 – Menudito (chpped) 3 – Afeitado (shaved) 4 – Frappe’ (snow) and when the daiquiri was made simple syrup wasn’t used because syrup adds a different texture and taste and instead the sugar was stirred into the juices. So you can see with what great care he took the attention to details in his drink mixing.

FLORIDITA DRINK

And from Hemingway Floridita got fame, fortune and became one of Esquire’s top seven bars in the world at the time.

Now, Trader Vic, who sat at the bar Floridita to study how tropical drinks were mixed took Constantino’s daiquiri recipe with him when he left and put it on his menu and called it “Trader Vic’s Daiquiri’………and his book the 1940′ s Bar Guide was the result of his studying in the Floridita and Constantino’s work.

The seminar taught us about the history of Floridita and the history of the daiquiri but there were more things than that mentioned, among them Don Beach, Trader Vic and of course, the Mai Tai, how can you not hear something about the Mai Tai when Jeff Berry is one of the panelists?

FLORIDITA SEMINAR JEFF BERRY

And to wrap it all up – I would recommend anyone to go to the Tales! it’s such an experience, it’s fun, you meet fun and interesting people and you learn a lot!

Next post coming up soon – the tastings!

Help save Tujague`s

Say it ain´t so….

There`s a restaurant in New Orleans – which is not just “a” restaurant – Tujagues is the city’s second oldest restaurant (after Antoine’s) and may be in jeopardy of closing. Please, please, please don’t close Tujague’s….

Here`s the story and here.

I think it would be a catastrophe and very very sad  if this old New Orleans landmark would be replaced with yet another “I got drunk on Bourbon” type of tacky tourist t-shirt shop..

Ann Tuennerman, founder of the Tales of the Cocktail wrote this open letter to Stanford Latter:

Please see below my letter to Stanford Latter. This is such a potential tragedy that I have written the following letter and would like to ask for your help sharing it with your audience  and helping me appeal to Stanford Latter.

Dear Mr. Latter,

Let me start by saying how sorry I am about the recent loss of your brother, Steve. In the time I got to know him through my work with Tales of the Cocktail and the New Orleans Cocktail Tour two things always stood out– his dry wit and his love for New Orleans. He clearly had a deep respect for the history and culture of our great city with the way he ran Tujague’s for more than 30 years.

Now, I don’t claim to be a real estate expert so I can’t speak to getting the most out of your investment. But as the founder of New Orleans Culinary and Cocktail Preservation Society, I do know about our city’s rich history of dining and drinks. Tujaque’s is the place that continued the legacy of Madame Begue’s legendary brunches and where the Grasshopper cocktail was invented. It’s the home of brisket and horseradish and the beautiful long standup bar that takes you back in time when you order a drink. It breaks my heart to picture the doorway of this landmark littered with Drunk 1 and Drunk 2 t-shirts.

This city is in the midst of a renaissance– one that’s met with both excitement and fear. Every day brings progress that New Orleans hasn’t seen in decades. But the great fear, one that’s generations old, is that with progress comes a cleansing of the culture that makes this place not a just a great place to visit but, more importantly, a great place to live.

Culture doesn’t just disappear in a day. Here one day, gone tomorrow. It erodes slowly as people put the bottom line ahead of everything else. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With what you choose to do with the Tujague’s building, you can stand for the peaceful coexistence between progress and culture.

I know business is business. But sometimes selling to the highest bidder comes with costs that can’t be counted in dollars and cents. Like losing yet another of our beloved restaurants and a piece of the living history that makes New Orleans so special.

If you sell the Tujague’s building to the wrong person, the rest of us will be the ones paying for it. So please, Mr. Latter, respect our history, respect our culture and respect the legacy your brother worked his life to build.

Sincerely,

Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail

Thank you in advance.

And here´s why Tujague’s is important! These are some historical facts about Tujaque’s:

New Orleans original stand-up bar.

Built in 1827 on site of old Spanish Armory.

Beginning around 1856, this locations was Madam Begue’s, famous for her 3-hour meals, later called “brunch” became Tujague’s sometime after WWI.

In the 1800’s, New Orleans started drinking early – bar opened at 5:00 am – did brisk before-work business.

During Prohibition, Tujaque’s waiters carried contraband bottles in their aprons.

During Prohibition, Federal Agent Isadore Einstein came to New Orleans to test how easily liquor was accessible. Einstein stepped off the train in New Orleans and got a drink in 37 seconds!

Famous for the Grasshopper which was invented by a bartender there who entered a competition!

GRASSHOPPER: Equal parts of crème de menthe, crème de cacao and light cream or milk. Shake with ice and strain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zthnyi-LwyQ

And here´s what cocktail historian David Wondrich has to say:

“Tujague’s is one of the most authentic, unspoiled examples of a nineteenth-century bar left in America. To lose it would be to not only lose an important link with the history of New Orleans (a city whose reputation as a place to visit was largely built on the character of its old bars and restaurants) but with America’s history as well. I know that with a little patience this historic place can be saved, and I pray that that patience is found.”

David Wondrich – Cocktail Historian

Also John Besh have expressed interest in buying Tujague´s restaurant:

If I could affect a better outcome coming to Tujague’s than a T-shirt shop, then I will have done something good for my city.” — John Besh

Tujague`s – 823 Decatur St  New Orleans, LA 70116, (504) 525-8676

You can help by sharing the open letter and support Tujague´s!

http://videos.nola.com/times-picayune/2013/03/dinner_at_tujagues_restauraunt.html

Mardi Gras Cocktails!

In New Orleans there`s nothing but a giant party right now with both the Mardi Gras and Superbowl celebations going on with the big game being played tomorrow and then it´s just a week until Mardi Gras and that means it´s high time for me to come up with this years Mardi Gras cocktails.

Last year the King Cake vodka was launched and i wrote two posts about it and then later this year in the fall the Fleur de Lis vodka was launched by the same company – Lucky Player Vodka.

Maybe a few of the drinks i make here can be of inspiration to celebrate this years Mardi Gras whether you are in New Orleans or not,  a Mardi Gras party can be thrown anywhere!

Just bring on the right attitude, some great Louisiana cooking and put on the Mardi Gras music and don`t forget the drinks! Let the good times roll!

 Queen Zulu

1 oz white rum ( choose a flavorful one like Plantation 3 Stars)

1 oz Fleur de Lis vodka

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 – 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake with ice and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a yellow/gold sugar rim and a lemon peel.

Flambeaux Fire

1 oz passionfruit juice

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz orange juice

0.5 oz sugarcane ssyrup

1 oz Gosling´s Black Seal dark rum

1 oz Rittenhouse 100 proof rye

0.5 oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced rum

Shake with ice and serve in goblet with crushed ice, pineapple garnish and a flaming half lime shell.

This one is a strong and spicy drink..

Rolling with Nyx

1 oz pineapple juice

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz green chartreuse

0.25 oz king cake vodka

1.5 oz white rum ( Plantation 3 Stars)

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupe rimmed with purple and green sugar.

 Muses Rum Punch

2 oz Jamaican dark rum ( like Coruba )

2 oz flavorful white rum

1 oz orange juice

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz coffee liqueur

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass rimmed with mardi gras color mix sugar and filled with crushed ice.

 

 

Tales 2012 – Food, drinks and other things in New Orleans

Even though the Tales of the Cocktail is the main focus for most Tales visitors it just appropriately happens to be that the event is held in the place where the cocktail was born which is the world´s funniest city – or at least i think so….

There´s no shortage of things to do in New Orleans – in fact there´s so much happening all the time that you can`t do it all – just like it is at the Tales. I have noticed that there´s more people coming to the Tales now who stays a little bit longer – either before or after the Tales and i have got a few inquiries as to where to eat and what more you can do – so with this post i wanna give some tips…

Most people who come to New Orleans knows that you can eat and drink good – the food is among the best on this planet – and the music and culture just the same – as unique as the food. If you have a chance to stay a little bit longer than just one week during the Tales here`s a few places to go and things to do – i have already recommended food and restaurants in this city – but here are a few more:

COOP´S…again…

 

Fried shrimp and fried shrimp and oyster combo poboys.

Crispy fried oysters…

This seafood gumbo was so goood….

Yep, this is my favorite place to eat (at large) the food is GOOD and they serve enourmous portions…and i guarantee you`ll be satisfied. It also helps that it´s in french quarter since that´s where Tales also is.

Favorite dishes from Coop´s for me is among other things the fried shrimp poboy…you get A LOT of shrimps and they are fried to perfection…the crispy oyster poboy is great too. Then we have the Chicken Tchoupitoulas with tasso…it´s smoky…and soooo goood – they are also known for their Jambalaya Supreme which is good too.

Also i love their seafood gumbo…i could go on…but do yourself a favor and go there the next time you go to Tales unless you already love this place…then i know you`ll definetily be back.

Coop`s Place is located on 1109 Decatur street next to Molly’s at the Market – a great place to have a beer or two.

PARKWAY FOR POBOYS

Yep, that´s one of the best spots for poboy´s, especially their roast beef poboy, but i also like the shrimp – as usual. Parkway Bakery and Tavern is located in mid-city – 538 Hagan Avenue – at the corner of Hagan and Toulouse overlooking Bayou St. John in Mid-City New Orleans. It`s one of those local places i just love, it´s just where to go for a poboy..

CLOVER GRILL This is a hole in the wall place on the lower Bourbon st and it´s THE place to go for a late breakfast around 5 am… i especially enjoy their grits, omelette and tator tats (oh my..). The place is very down to earth, easy, simple and enjoyable.

DEANIE`S

Deanie`s in Bucktown.

Fried catfish and oysters.

Abita amber served in a huge goblet…well THAT was something!

Deanie´s Seafood has been serving seafood in New Orleans since 50 years and is a classic. The original restaurant is located in Bucktown but now there´s one also  in the French Quarter. We went to the one in Bucktown and had a LARGE portion of crispy fried seafood and with that they serve the abita beer in HUGE goblets…

You get the amount of two beers in one…and somehow served like that in large goblets – it just tastes better that way…and if you`re an abita beer freak like me you`re in heaven.

Talking about abita beer…i went to the brewery and the restaurant located beside it.

ABITA BREWERY

To get to Abita Springs you need to drive over the causeway – the bridge over the enourmous lake Pontchartrain – it takes about 30 min and it´s like you`re in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight.

The brewery tour is short but it´s interesting still but the best thing is the beer on tap tasting, you can drink as much as you want. When i was there they had a new brew to try – Roggen Weizen – a VERY tasty brew, a bit on the bitter side, just the way i like it.

 

Draft beers to try out as much as you like to drink at the brewery tour.

I`m an abita beer addict – i told ya already before in this post about abita and how it´s made. The restaurant They also have a very fun souvenir shop, the only bad thing there is that they do not take any cash…and since i didn`t carry any card with me i wasn`t able to buy anything, i wish they would change that.

But what we also did was visiting the Brew Pub to eat and have some beer of course…the menu offers all kinds of yummy things, i finally took the “Andygator Crawfish Cake served with fried Tomatoes and topped with Turbodog Remoulade sauce…. and yep it was as good as it sounds! washed down with some abita strawberry beer…

I also had some AMAZING boudin balls!

 

Boudin balls

The Brewery Pub is a very nice place to sit and eat and have a beer or two, it´s very laid back and relaxed and there´s a LOT of things to look at – all from a giant Fleur de Lis Saints wreath to all sorts of Saints and Abita memorabilia plus all funny signs on the walls.

It´s that kinda place you feel right at home at.

FELIX`S

This place is a good alternative if the queue to Acme on the other side is too long and too long it often is…so we went to Felix`s. Last year i had a great  plate of blackened gator washed down with a cold abita but this time they were out of gator and had also lost their alcohol license…for what reason i don`t know.

So we got the charbroiled oysters instead. They were not bad at all even though they won´t reach as high as what you get at Drago`s and Acme. But heck…i was happy – because charbroiled oysters is to me the best thing you can eat on the entire planet.

Felix´s restaurant and Oyster bar you find on 739 Iberville Street.

But don`t forget the street food…for example at the french market there are some things to explore, one of my favorites there is the gator  on a stick which is a very spicy gator sausage on a stick, so yummy and it´s only 5 bucks for one.

Charbroiled oysters.

BROCATO`S

If you love italian ice cream and desserts…look no further – this is where to go. Brocato´s is located in mid-city on Carrollton ave. You can take the red streetcars to get there, either Cemetries or City Park and get off at Wahlgreens at the corner of Canal and Carollton, takes about 15 min from Canal st, then turn right and walk up Carrollton until you see Brocato`s on the right side, it`s a 5-10 min walk or so.

COOTER BROWN`S

Here´s a nice little place in the riverbend – to me it was a convenient place to go since i part of my time lived nearby on Maple street and besides Cooter Brown´s there´s the Camellia Grill just around the corner.

Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar is located on 509 S. Carrollton Ave at the riverbend, you can get there easily with the oh so lovely St Charles streetcar. Here you can get raw oysters from the Oyster Bar, or boiled crawfish (when in season) boiled shrimp,  poboys, and seafood. We had the raw oysters…

STREET FOOD

Gator on a stick – is a very spicy yummy alligator sausage threaded on a stick, the perfect snack!  do have a cold snowball after and you`re set.

Fresh seafood off da boat!  i love the way they write the signs, simple and colorful.

Softshell crab poboy from Katie´s at the Satchmo summerfest….a REAL yummy little appetizer!

Don´t forget to sample some streetfood too – even though there`s so many good restaurants – i`d recommend a tour to the french market for a little something…like for example gator on a stick, The french market – it IS touristic and not what it used to be – but the gator on a stick is GOOD! Also if you can go to the Satchmo fest you can sample some good festival food – this years fried softshell crab poboys from Katie´s were some real little yummy treats – i was already thinking about when to get a next one only half way through the first one….yep it was THAT good….and washed down with some cold abita beers in the almost 104 degree heat was just hands down awesome.

The Satchmo summerfest is something i can really recommend – celebrate Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong with some GOOD music! and the funniest 2nd line i been to so far.

Yep, there´s no shortage things to do and great of restaurants in New Orleans and there´s something for everyone and definetily more than you can eat… But what else to do? wanna do something different? – apart from going to events that´s happening, live music clubs etc or taking in the city´s original and amazing architecture you can also for example – take a gondola ride in the City Park…

NOLA GONDOLA

Here`s for a different experience… Nola Gondola is operated by one of my good friends in the city – Terry Dula, who brought a gondola including the whole kit from the striped pole to the shirt, hat AND the italian music..all the way from Venice, italy…

He´s a certified gondolier as well – the only one in Nola i´m sure. The tour takes you through the beautiful waters in the City Park…it´s breathtaking. During the tour you go under very low bridges and it´s as romantic as can be.

So naturally many of the customers are for wedding proposals – but there´s all kinds of people going and for example one is ex Saints player Steve Gleason – if you are a Saints fan like me you know who he is…

The tour is beautiful, romantic and peaceful and if you wanna experince something different and something to remember – this is it. Also under one of the bridges  people writes their names and of course i wrote mine…not forgetting to represent the Who Dat Nation:-)

You can check out Terry`s website here.

The beautiful city park in the sunset and the bridge under where people writes their names.

Shopping – there´s a lot of fun little shops around in the French quarter and on Magazine st for example. A lot of the tourist shops DOES have some fun things…even though many of the spices and stuff are much more expensive than they are at say Winn Dixie. For food i prefer Rouses because they have a good selection and they are very supportive and helpful to the community and city.

But there´s  fun little shops to explore…like Serendiptious Masks for example – on decatur street – that little shop is full of fun carnival masks and things and from the roof hangs second line parasols for various occasions. These parasols also makes beautiful and fun room decorations when not in use in some parade or party.

Beautiful 2nd line parasols hanging in the roof.

Venetian style carnival mask.

Handmade carnival feather masks.

GREAT BARS

A few of my favorite bars in Nola includes French 75, Cure, Carousel Bar and Bar Tonique – all which serves great crafted and inventive cocktails as well as classics and there are more but we didn´t have the time to get to all we wanted as usual…especially seen to all the events during Tales that we went to which includes many cocktails… It´s just too much of everything in Nola and you just can`t do it all – you need to go back!

Arnaud`s French 75 Bar, one of my favorite bars in New Orleans and a place i always go back to for fabulous well crafted cocktails expertly prepared by Chris Hannah and Hadi Ktiri.

Photography Ken Stock

New Orleans and Tales of the Cocktail 2012

Time to change pace and content on this blog for a while…so i`m taking a break from my normal cocktail posts…

I`m now in New Orleans again and will cover the Tales plus you may expect everything and anything New Orleans during the upcoming month depending on time permitting…so keep an eye for the Tales and other fun things coming up!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Soft Shell Crab with Smoked Creole Tomato Sauce at Muriel’s Jackson Square

Source: Uploaded by user via MurielsJacksonSquare on Pinterest