TWO LOVELY NEW ORLEANS CLASSICS

I love these two wonderful old classic New Orlean cocktails…The glory that was the Sazerac and the grandeur that was Ramos gin fizz in the old days had people from far away dreaming about the city where these magnificient cocktails were made.

And rightly so…

Both of these cocktails are masterpieces and they are only two of several equally fantastic cocktails that was invented in the city where the cocktail was born. My quite often to-go cocktail at home is the Sazerac, it´s easy to make and always tasty.

The Ramos gin fizz is equally tasty but different like day and night and requires much more work to make but the result is worth the effort and i find it an excellent breakfast or brunch cocktail.

I don´t make it as often as the Sazerac though since i don´t drink cocktails at breakfast during working weeks and rarely in the weekends either to tell you the truth – unless i´m on a holiday – and if that holiday takes place in New Orleans (which it always does) a breakfast cocktail is more the norm than not – at least during Tales.

The Sazerac

The home of the Sazerac was at 116 Royal Street. The bar itself was at the rear of the building facing Exchange alley. I have already written about this drink and the peychauds bitters though and you can read it here.

History has it that an average of 400 cocktails a day was served and more than 500 000 cocktails a year at the bar and that the rule of the house was to not serve any more to any guest showing any signs of drunkeness.

And it´s said that one day a tall Texan came in and ordered a Sazerac and then another and another and since he showed no signs of being drunk he was allowed to order even more which he did – ending up ordering 24 stiff cocktails – still not showing any signs of drunkeness – how that is possible i have no idea….i wonder if the story is true?

The Ramos Gin Fizz

The home of the Ramos gin fizz was owned by H.C Ramos and Co and located for many years at the corner of Gravier and Carondelet, later moving to a bigger building closer to St Charles st.  Several “shakers” were helping out to shake each drink for about ten minutes to get that wonderful soft and balanced fluffy fluff that is a Ramos gin fizz…

These “shakers” job was only to shake up the drinks and was not entrusted to made up the drink – i believe that was a guarded secret…

The thing with the Ramos fizz is that it needs to be drunk fairly quick because it loses that special quality which makes it so good very fast, it should be drunk preferably within ten minutes. But since it´s such a light and smooth drink it´s no problem to imbibe it within ten minutes and you won´t get too drunk either – or even drunk at all – really i have never myself been able to NOT finish it later than that – it´s simply too yummy.

Of course you can make a Ramos gin fizz that is nice in less time than 10 minutes, i have actually never even been shaking one in ten minutes but maybe there is a difference? the usual way to do it is to dry shake it first (shake without ice) to get the egg white to emulsify with the rest of ingredients and then add ice and shake some more. Also one can use a hand-mixer to get it done even faster.

In any case – the drink is just lovely…it´s like drinking “clouds” or “cotton”, it´s so soft and smooth and those citrus notes so deliscious….and really a good start of the day.

It´s said that 3000 fizzes was served daily. I also wrote about the Ramos gin fizz here. The drink had to be hand-shaken and even though several “shaking machines” were tried they all failed since the result never was the same as when the drink was shaken by hand.

A real handcrafted cocktail!

RAMOS GIN FIZZ

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. milk (half & half or cream if preferred)
1 small egg white
2-3 drops of orange flower water (careful here! you don´t want this drink to taste and smell like a bottle of perfume)
Soda

Shake all ingredients except the soda and shake very well, when you think you`re done, shake some more –  the more the better – and shake first without ice and then with ice – so that the egg white emulsifies and the drink becomes very cold and frothy. (Or use the handmixer way to do it – but really if you want to follow tradition…shake, shake, shake..)

Then strain into a chilled highball glass without ice. Top with a little club soda to get some fizz. No garnish – usually, but if you like to – a thin strip of orange, lemon or lime peel/slice is nice i think.

SAZERAC

1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4  (or even more) dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash angostura, not tradition but it opens up the flavors
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the rye into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well.

Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass.

Sazerac – the glass is always half full…

Tales of the Cocktail 2012 – Curacao – The ultimate guide to the world´s favorite liqueur flavor

This years Tales of the Cocktail celebrates it`s 10 year anniversary and that is a promise of even more frenzy as usual so gear up if you`re planning to go!

Among the sessions i`m planning to attend is “Curacao – the ultimate guide to the world´s favorite liqueur flavor”

“From the Bare Bellybutton Liqueur of 1500s Amsterdam to the very first orange liqueurs on Curacao, and from the Martinez to the Mai Tai to the Cosmopolitan, award-winning writer and raconteur David Wondrich spars with Amsterdam resident, researcher and presenter Philip Duff and the Cognac-based artisanal distiller Alexandre Gabriel to reveal the real history of every bar’s most important cocktail liqueur flavour – curacao.

Here´s everything you possible would like to know about Curacao – INCLUDING seeing David Wondrich himself distilling a curacao live on stage without igniting his beard!

AND Philip Duff will have you sample pre-liqueur liqueurs from 1500s Dutch recipes like the Bare Bellybutton, Kandeel and Quarter After Five! – don´t miss it!

But that´s not all – you will also taste 80 and 90 year old versions of well-known orange liqueurs that have changed their flavour profiles over time! and you`ll even get to deconstruct an authentic 1800s curacao made by Professor Wondrich himself, the closest you’ll ever come to making a cocktail like Jerry Thomas did…

This seminar includes never-before-presented research on the history and evolution of curacao (orange) as a cocktail ingredient, including the birth of brands and the switch from multi-flavour event liqueurs of Middle Ages Netherlands to single-ingredient cocktail liqueurs – and gives a unique chance to see exactly how curacao is made and why.

The session includes live curacao distilling, tastings of curacaos and other exotic orange liqueurs as old as 90 and from recipes that date to the 1500s.

And of course you´ll be served cocktails…

The seminar will be held at:

La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom – Hotel Monteleone – New Orleans

Thursday july 26th – 12:30pm — 2:00pm

The seminar is hosted by Alexandre Gabriel, David Wondrich and Philip Duff

I will be there! i hope you will too! but if you can´t i´ll write about it here on this blog.

Tales of the Cocktail 2012 – Bottle Alley – Drinking The Panama Canal

Panamanian alcohology…let that word sink in for a while…

Doesn`t that sound like something you´d just wanna dive right into? i know i want to….and i will! – Here`s a seminar for devoted cocktail lovers – Drinking The Panama Canal!

The scandalous, murderous, delicious history of Panamanian alcohology. From 1502 to 1945, the Isthmus of Panama took an epic journey from native Indian spit-beer to pirate punch, and from yellow fever to cocktail fever.

The cast of characters includes Captain Morgan (the real one, not the spiced one), Teddy Roosevelt, cocktail pioneer Jerry Thomas, and cocktail chronicler Charles Baker.

Vintage Panamanian recipes will be served.

This seminar is hosted by David Wondrich and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry – and that alone is a promise of a great time!

The seminar is sponsored by House of Bols and Hendrick´s Gin.

Go to  – Grand Ballroom North, Royal Sonesta – New Orleans – 3:30pm — 5:00pm – friday july 27th.

See you there!

Tales of the Cocktail 2012 – Tiki Host to the Stars Stephen Crane

Steve Crane´s Luau Scorpion – Photo courtesy Matt Marchese aka mr Bali Hai 

It´s soon time for the 10 year anniversary of the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and here´s the first peek at some of the boozy seminars…

The two great fathers of the Tiki craze – we know who they were – Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. But how many knows anything about the third man – Stephen Crane?

Joseph Stephen Crane – Steve to his friends, and “High Talking Chief Stefooma” to all his customers at The Luau in Beverly Hills.

Crane opened his first restaurant in the late 1940s, and he also married Hollywood star actress Lana Turner – but he cemented his place in history with the 1953 opening of The Luau on Rodeo Drive and at which he created new innovative cocktails and took the food, drinks and decor to another level never seen before – the faux tiki/polynesian concept at it´s best.

The Luau became the destination for Hollywood celebrities and was the start of a chain of successful restaurants nationwide.

Join Smuggler’s Cove owner Martin Cate for a rare look back into the amazing world of Steven Crane.

Discover his talent for hospitality, mixology, and business through rarely seen images and artifacts and new interviews with his (and Lana Turner’s) only child, Cheryl Crane.

Enjoy tastes of The Luau’s famous exotic cocktails while discovering a story so amazing, it could only have happened in Hollywood.”

Only at the Tales of the cocktail! –  if you can – come join us! The seminar is hosted by Martin Cate and sponsored by Appleton Rum.

Location – Fleur de Lis Room, Royal Sonesta – New Orleans – 1:00pm — 2:30pm – wednesday july 25th.

See you there!

Grilled Pineapple Curacao Daiquiri

Grilled pineapple syrup and dark rum….mix that together with a squeeze of fresh lime – and you get a Pineapple Curacao Daiquiri.

Here´s a tropical libation from St Croix in the Caribbean – made by my friend Jesse Card at St Croix Libation Society where he promote all things rum in the first place and all things booze related. He once also featured one of my drinks and now is the time for me to feature a good libation of his – and this one is a right up my alley because it contains grilled pineapple which is something i like a lot. Jesse also did feature this drink on one of my fav websites – Uncommon Caribbean.

Jesse is originally from Portland, Oregon and moved to St Croix about six years ago.

Trying to be honest & authentic behind the bar, he says it’s all about listening to the guest on the other side that matters – “Just because I love bitters doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t get that Cosmo they’re craving”

Jesse is the Beverage Director at the new Low Life Bar & Refuge, opening this summer on the Christiansted Boardwalk of beautiful St. Croix. And one more thing – he puts up a wicked karaoke show….trust me, i´ve seen it in New Orleans – last summer he made the Saint bar ROCK!

This grilled pineapple recipe comes in the form of a grilled pineapple syrup and since it´s grilled with slightly caramelized demerara sugar it really gives the drink that depth which takes a tropical drink to the next level and with a dash or two of angostura bitters – gives it complexity and some real exotic-ness – a real tasty drink!

I tried the grilled pineapple daiquiri with a good rum – St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo from Barbados (1 oz) and paired it with 1 oz of the strong Jamaican funky rum Smith and Cross – plus fresh lime and the grilled pineapple syrup  – hmmm………..it was good….

So here is how – and if you don´t have these rums you can use any GOOD aged dark rum, like Appleton Extra for example – but i really think the Smith and Cross adds some funk and punch to this drink!

A demerara rum would be very good too – try it with El Dorado 12 yo. Jesse used Cruzan rum – of course – he lives on st Croix after all – but i don´t have that rum so i used the others and the result was very good and as with any daiquiri for that matter – it´s REALLY important to use a good quality rum – skip cheap rums with this!

GRILLED PINEAPPLE CURACAO DAIQUIRI

1 pineapple
2 cups demerera sugar
1 cup water
a few limes
cruzan rum
clement creole shrubb (or cointreau)
angostura bitters

So start with the pineapple…peel and cut out 3 rings, two for the syrup and one for garnish.

Make a simple syrup by adding 2:1 ratio of sugar and water, use a dark demerara sugar and combine in a sauce pan over high heat. Stir it around for a few minutes until the sugar is pretty well dissolved. With the ratio 2:1 you`ll get a rich syrup.

Now to get some flavor, add 2 of the pineapple rings and coat them with the syrup so when we grill it we get a nice caramelization. Now, set the syrup aside for a while and start grilling the syrup coated pineapple rings on a hot grill and let them get that nice slightly charred look.

After grilling is done add them back to your syrup. Heat your syrup back up to a simmer and let it reduce for 15 minutes or so by about a quarter. Remove the pineapple and set the syrup aside to cool.

Combine over ice in a tall glass:

* 1 oz of your fresh grilled pineapple syrup
* 2 oz good dark rum
* 1 oz creole shrubb or cointreau
* 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
* 1 dash angostura bitters

Shake hard and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.

The Barbancourt Sazerac

 

Straight from New Orleans – here´s a different take on the Sazerac…

Created by a friend of mine, Geoffrey Wilson – celebrating Haiti’s influence on New Orleans culture at Loa in downtown New Orleans! it´s a Sazerac with Barbancourt rum instead of rye or cognac spiced up with cloves and Jerry Thomas bitters.

The drink was created on in january this year at the Cheers conference when a bunch of New Orleans bartenders were working the tiki bar to set up. Someone asked Geoffrey to make a tiki version of a true New Orleans classic, and this is what he came up with – and the drink worked out to the point of Geoffrey making a bunch of  them.

Then the drink recipe was brought to Loa, and it’s been on the menu since. Guess who´s soon gonna go over to Loa and try the original? yep yours truly…:-)

A mix of New Orleans classic, Haiti and Tiki…if that´s not pretty ecclectic i don´t know what is – and the result is inspirational! and tasty…

Rhum Barbancourt is made in Haiti and is different from other rums in that it´s not an agriole, and not a molasses rum but still uses fresh sugarcane juice. So it sits on it´s own and is made like cognac. They ferment the juice for three days and there aged rums is double distilled. Age it in oak, blend it, cold filter, and bottle.

Dupre Barbancourt was a cognac maker from France. His double distillation method was revolutionary in Haiti back in 1862, using fresh cane juice. It’s not agricole because it’s not made in Martinique and distilled at lower proof. It’s more like agricole than most rums, but it’s truly unique among all rums.

During the fresh cane cutting season, january to late april, they’ re using fresh cane. Other times of the year they use cane juice concentrated into syrup, which does not spoil.

The syrup is similar to Zacapa’s “sugar cane honey” which is also used for some parts of Diplomatico Exclusiva.

But here is the drink recipe so you can make it at home if you can´t go to Loa.

BARBANCOURT SAZERAC

2 oz Rhum Barbancourt 8 (or 5)
.5 oz simple syrup (skinny)
6 dashes Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters
2 cloves

Herbsaint rinse – rinse the serving glass with Herbsaint and discard or leave, your choice – i prefer to leave it in the glass just as it´s done in the video.

Proceed as in the video by adding everything else into a mixing glass, adding ice and stir then strain into the serving glass which should be chilled before using it and finish with twisting a lemon peel above the glass to let the oils come out and if you wish also rinse the rim with the peel.

Oh the fragrance….

Don`t have the Jerry Thomas bitters? sub with some more cloves and dashes of Creole bitters – don´t have the Creole bitters? use Peychauds.

This turned out to be a very nice and spicy drink and it tasted Sazerac alright! like an exotic cousin…golden brownish color and with a dust of cloves…a very fine drink indeed.