CREOLE BITTERS

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With spring comes new bitters…

Released in Europe while awaiting approval for the US – the Bitter Truth has come up with a stunning product – the Creole Bitters – and they make a spicy intense Sazerac..

The Creole bitters are based on a sampling of a pre-prohibition version of Peychaud’s – which makes them similar to Peychaud`s yet different in that there´s a stronger herbal component here, more earthy/spicy and the nose is strong.The Creole bitters has slightly less of the anise even though anise is the dominating flavor –  with more complexity, spice and bitterness.

I think this its great that we now have these bitters as Peychaud`s is extremely difficult to find outside of the US and some classic cocktails really needs those bitters so with the Creole bitters it will now be possible for many to mix these cocktails and of course here we have a great potential to mix up a range of other exciting cocktails.

What an interesting nose and flavor these bitters have – i can`t exactly put my finger on what all these flavors are…more than “spicy” and hm…familiar yet different. And so of course immediately i wanted to make a Sazerac and then comes an intersting question up as these bitters are spicier than Peychaud`s – a little dash of Angostura or not?

The Sazerac do not originally have that in the recipe but a little dash of Angostura makes a nice Saz..and it`s used quite often together with the Peychaud`s.  But with these spicier bitters now i don´t think we need that.

Another thing that sometimes is used in the Sazerac cocktail is a little vanilla extract and that i can imagine could go quite well with the Creole bitters as well. I´ll try that but not just now – this time its a regular Saz…with only the Creole bitters because after all – i wanted to find out how they were in this cocktail.

SAZERAC

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1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Bitter Truth Creole bitters
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 whiskey 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, it would give too much citrus flavor.

This made for an interesting – more intense and spicier Sazerac. Its actually amazing…

The Creole bitters are not only a lifesaver for those who cannot so easily find Peychaud`s, its also a great addition to the cocktail world and there´ll be many exciting cocktails coming i`m sure. I like Peychaud`s and will not abandon them but i`ll use these just as much and for my part i believe my cocktail experience will be greatly enriched by the Creole bitters. My mind of course also goes to tiki cocktails.

As soon as these bitters are available in the US – folks – go and try them out, you won´t regret it. As for Europe they`re in the shop!

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt1 – Vieux Carré & Ramos Gin Fizz

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Vieux Carrè cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail may still seem far away but time flies and what is more fitting prior to the Tales than mixing up some genuine cocktails from the city where the cocktail was born and where the Tales of the Cocktail is celebrated each year since eight years back now.

There´s no city in the world that knows how to throw a party like they do in New Orleans and with party usually comes also cocktails. I think there are “cocktails” and there are “drinks” –  like those popular go-cups you see on Bourbon st and they may have their own charm but here i`m gonna talk about genuinely hand crafted and wonderful cocktails, some of the best that have ever been made.

I`ll have to break down my posting about these awesome concoctions  into a few posts. If you`re interested in the history of the cocktails of New Orleans and have a chance you should visit the Museum of the American Cocktail now on april 5th when Darcy from Art of Drink will make a presentation on the influence of soda in cocktails, specifically those of New Orleans. You can read more about this here.

VIEUX CARRÉ COCKTAIL

This is the signature cocktail of the famous Carousel bar in the hotel Monteleone.This particular bar is especially interesting since its made from parts of an actual old carousel that revolves around the bar which is circular. Luckily is not moving fast…but its moving…and it’s a funny experience – and of course you get well crafted cocktails there – its a must try if you are going to New Orleans and the Tales.

You`ll sooner or later most likely find yourself in one of those marvellous barstools and when you do – take your chance and try the signature cocktail the Vieux Carrè – The old square – as its called – after the French quarter which is built like a square and where Monteleone also is. It was first mixed by Walter Bergeron in the 1930s.

the-famous-carousel-bar

3/4 oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. brandy
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/8 oz. Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Build over ice, in an Old Fashioned glass

Aromatic with the vermouth and nicely boozy but not too much, this cocktail is  actually easy to drink. If you like rye then this is for you.

The next one needs no presentation, really – but for those who doesn`t know – this is one of the most famous cocktails of New Orleans – The Ramos Gin Fizz – and its a great cocktail with a history dating back to 1888. A smooth awesomeness just like the Absinthe or Herbsaint Suissesse – a dream of fluffy clouds…and if i say “easy to drink” well this one defies the word “easy”. Its maybe a good thing its a bit laboursome to mix – it may become a natural precaution of making yourself  too many…unless you cheat with the handmixer;-)

What you do then is starting it up with a handmixer in the glass incorporating air into it, mix for 20 seconds, then add ice and shake as usual for another 30 seconds. Now you`ve gained a lot of time and pain. This is also traditionally a morning cocktail – a day after refreshener. Usually i don`t start my mornings with a cocktail, i more likely have a coffee…but during Tales its more of a chance i would do that. In the right environment its a very nice thing.

The Ramos gin fizz  was invented by Henry C Ramos in his bar Meyer`s Restaurant. It was orignally called the “New Orleans Fizz”  and an armada of “shaker boys” used to take turns to shake it to the right consistency. This was before the prohibition. The poularity of this drink faded away with new times and new speeds but today when old cocktails are ressurrected again its more served also outside of New Orleans.

The fluffy dreamy texture comes from the egg whites and using raw eggs in cocktails  is nothing to fear – but if raw eggs is an issue there´s also powdered egg whites and they are simply egg whites where water has been removed. I have never tried it though. The secret in this cocktail is the combination of egg white and a touch of orange flower water.

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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.

Now that`s a nice cocktail!