NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt 7 – Obituary Cocktail

This little cocktail is a strong fella that could wake up the dead..

It`s a very much New Orlean cocktail…combining all that which sums up the unique ambiance of this one of a kind city.

Equal parts absinthe and vermouth paired with gin is what we have here in this old classic tipple which is the signature cocktail of the Lafitte`s Blacksmith Shop and is a brilliant twist of the gin Martini where the absinthe is King.

But it`s not just the spirits in this cocktail – it´s also the feel of it. If you have been to New Orleans and appreciate the city you know what that feel is all about. Alas this cocktail takes you back in time as does so much things in New Orleans, it takes you back to the dark foggy quarters in the 1800s.

The name is not a nice one though, it means death and how come the cocktail got that name i have yet to find out, maybe it had to do with the ban of absinthe? However it does add to the mystery so let it stay that way, it´s part of its appeal.

The name is also used in other ways, there´s both a book and a society called “Obituary Cocktail” The book is written by New Orleans photographer Kerri McCaffety, a book i would like to get my hands on.

I would recommend using real absinthe in this drink rather than herbsaint or pernod because of the prominent role absinthe plays here. With a substitute which you can use of course, it will simply become a bit too lame..so go get a decent absinthe for this cocktail.

Chuck over at Looka/Gumbopages recommend Jade Liqueurs absinthes and when Chuck recommends something i listen – and so should you – trust me. I think i would like to try their Jade Nouvelle-Orléans absinthe Definetily on my to order list later this fall.

Ice cold absinthe, vermouth and gin is perfect for the summer…i recommend two at the most. (no pun intended) The three ingredients balances each other perfectly here.

OBITUARY COCKTAIL


2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz absinthe or substitute ( i used a very good handcrafted swiss absinthe- La Clandestine)

The preparation is very simple:

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with cracked ice. Stir well and train into a chilled cocktail glass.

12 Bottle Bar suggest you put both the mixing glass and cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 10+ minutes which to me is a very good idea since these kinda drinks really needs to be cold.

Chuck recommends “Shake vigorously for 13 seconds, or stir vigorously for no less than 26 seconds” – Whatever way you choose to mix this up the important thing is to get it well mixed and cold. It does benefit from some dilution of the ice i think.

This cocktail will of course look very different depending on if you use white or green absinthe.

And now step back in time and enjoy one of the great classics.

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt 6 – Place d`Armes Cocktail

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Made in honor of Jackson Square, this cocktail with whiskey and fruit juices is a tasty libation indeed.  It can be found in the book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix `em” by Stanley Clisby Arthur.

I can´t find any info on what year this cocktail was made and by whom and any history about how it got its name etc but the book was written in 1937. So there isn´t much to write about this cocktail here, rather get going and mix it up – but in any case, the cocktail is nice and i like Jackson square, one of the many interesting historic places in New Orleans.

Jackson square was originally called Place d´Armes (Spanish: Plaza de Armas) in the 18th century but was re-named to Jackson Square in honor of the Battle of New Orleans hero, Andrew Jackson who now since 1856 stands In the center of the parkas an equestrian statue – or a statue of a rider mounted on a horse.

The design of Jackson Square was modeled on the famous Place des Vosges in Paris, France and did originally overlook the Mississippi River across Decatur Street.

Jackson square is surrounded by some very famous old buildings like St Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere  and Cabildo (Louisiana State Museums – where you can see some amazing things like the Mardi Gras Exhibit (Presbytere, 2nd floor) – and also where there has been held some lavish parties during the Tales of the Cocktail…and then we have the grand Lower and Upper Pontalba Apartments (the oldest apartment buildings in the U.S.)

And here is where one of my favorite restaurants is – Muriel`s with its mystic 2nd floor rooms that are just amazing. Also here is where for well over a half century now there`s artists painting and displaying their work on the outside of the iron fence.

So that was a little about Jackson Square after which this cocktail is named. Here´s the recipe:

PLACE D´ARMES COCKTAIL

place-darmes-ccocktail

½ orange—juice only

½ lemon—juice only

½ lime—juice only

1.5 oz whiskey

1 oz grenadine sirup ( i would use 0.5 oz if using a commercial grenadine unless its Trader Tiki´s hibiscus grenadine and btw hibiscus grenadine is nicer than just grenadine..)

Squeeze the fruit juices in a mixing glass. Add the sirup; be careful not to make it too sweet if you like a dry drink . . . Otherwise use a little sugar. Then add the whiskey—some prefer Bourbon, others rye. Strain into a tall glass half-filled with crushed ice. Decorate with a sprig of mint, after frappeing well with a spoon.

This cocktails is very tasty and fresh! i was wondering if 1 oz of grenadine would be too much but it isn´t – but its importsant to use a good quality grenadine. I strongly recommend homemade hibiscus grenadine – or Trader Tiki´s. Also use a good quality rye or bourbon in this.

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CANAL STREET DAISY

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A little bit of sour, a little bit of sweet,  a little bit of strong and finally some weak..and no, its not a Planter`s Punch i`m making – its a Canal Street Daisy!

It takes its name from the famous Canal street which was made in the colonial era and divided the downriver older French/Spanish quarter and the newer upper American part of the city.The street was built where New Orleans was supposed to get a canal to be the dividing line.The canal was never made and so instead the Canal street street was constructed.

The wide median earmarked for the canal was referred to by early inhabitants as the “neutral ground”, due to the animosities amongst culturally distant residents on separate sides of the avenue. The term is still used in NO to refer to all street medians.

It´s a wide street and here`s where they meet – New Orleans historical streetcars. I like Canal street and since i`ve never yet had any Canal Street Daisy i wanted to try it out and see if i liked it too. I found the drink in my book “Famous New Orleans Cocktails and how to mix`em” by Stanley Clisby Arthur. It was first written in 1937.

This drink does in older recipes contain orange juice but in this book it doesn´t – instead grenadine is used and this is the version i`m making so now i get a chance to try my new hibiscus grenadine as well.

A beautiful street to give name to a beautiful drink –  much due to the bright red grenadine.

A Daisy is basically a sour (citrus, sweetener and spirit). with some soda added and it should be very cold. Garnished with seasonal fruits and mint. A number of base spirits may be used and then shaved or cracked or crushed ice. And then finally it should be served in either a cocktail glass, pewter mug, Julep cup, large goblet or highball.

So i decided to mix two drinks and here´s the recipe from the book:

CANAL STREET DAISY

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0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes grenadine syrup (you may add a little more, use homemade hibiscus grenadine)
1.5 oz rye whiskey
Top up with a little soda

Garnish with seasonal fruits and mint.

Swizzle in a julep cup or highball until frosty, then top with soda and garnish.

Its a very refreshing cocktail and should be served ice cold! i like the homemade hibiscus grenadine in it, it adds an extra tropical tang to the drink that is very refreshing. And homegrown fresh mint as garnish is not wrong either..

I like this cocktail!

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Canal Street

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt5 – Peychauds & Sazerac

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Most of the cocktail folks are well aquainted with and knows the history of Peychaud`s bitters but i think its interesting enough to write about and for those who doesn`t know here it is in a short version:

We must go back to the 1793 when Antoine Amedèe Peychaud, a creole of a french family who was an apothecary went to New Orleans, Louisiana while his sister went to Paris during the insurrection of Saint-Domingue. He brought with him to New Orleans his family recipe which was a secret formula for a tonic called bitters.

He opened a pharmacy shop with his sister – who he had brought over from Paris – on 437 Royal Street where today there`s an antique shop. He used to serve friends and other folks who needed “a little something” for their stomachs – some brandy made better with his bitters and of course his bitters, like other bitters –  were used to cure all kinds of illnesses.

His bitters soon became famous and were sold at the coffee houses in town. “Coffee houses” were where drinks were served – known today as bars;-)

He served his bitters spiked brandy, some water and sugar and according to the legend served it in a double-end egg cup called coquetier (ko-k-ta`y) which probably was the fore runner of the jigger – and as the legend has it – the name is the fore runner to the word “cocktail”  But really – the word “cocktail” is actually much older than that but opinions vary.

Peychauds bitters naturally leads us to the Sazerac.

This is one of the cocktails that i love the most. Born on Royal st in a bar that no longer is there – but in the sidewalk still remains lettered the word “SAZERAC” – this is where the entrance to the bar was. Originally it was made with a cognac brand called “Sazerac-Forge-et Fils” from Limoges, France.

This cognac and peychauds drink was drunk at the Sazerac Coffee House but the cognac was substituted with rye sometimes around 1870 because cognac was harder to find.  At the same time when Thomas Handy took over the Sazerac Coffee House it became the Sazerac House. This is also when the absinthe started to be used in this drink – until it was as you know – banned and replaced by herbsaint which now has come back in its original state.

In 1949 the bar moved to Roosevelt Hotel ( former Grunewald Hotel ) which in 1965 became the Fairmont Hotel – badly damaged and closed after Katrina and the federal flood in 2005  –  but eventually it was purchased to become a Waldorf Astoria hotel and got back its former name Roosevelt ( which was a name in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt) And in 2009 the Roosevelt New Orleans officially opened and there the Sazerac bar and restaurant is today.

Did you know that in prior to World War II the Sazerac bar only admitted men? Ladies were not allowed to drink at the bar – only on Mardi Gras Day. Luckily that changed in 1949 when the bar relocated to the Roosevelt Hotel and on opening day for both genders the women outnumbered the men.

The combination of rye (or why not equal parts rye and cognac) peychauds and absinthe or herbsaint is amazing and addictive – and it grows on you. The balance of flavors is just perfect.

Let´s have one, let`s have two..

SAZERAC

sazeracs

1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 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-close

The Hotel Grunewald, Roosevelt and Fairmont – Over 100 Years of Cocktail History

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Let`s go to New Orleans…and let´s go back in time…

If you are interested in the history and folklore attached to the great New Orleans hotels that have gone by the names Grunewald, Roosevelt, Fairmont – and once again, the Roosevelt – then this is the seminar for you. From the Cave and Blue Room to the Sazerac Bar – this seminar will take you on a trip that breathes history starting somewhere in the 1893s up to present day.

There will also be a focus on the drinks – from the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz, and many other great cocktails like the Bayou Swizzle – to authentic artifacts, menus, authentic glasseware, advertisements, matchbooks, etc which will be displayed.

Here´s your chance to learn about the colorful history of these historic venues and their cocktails and much more. The session is moderated by Philip Greene and panelist is Chris McMillan – so you`re really in for a treat.

Seriously – don`t miss this!

Philip Greene is an attorney, writer and cocktail historian. As one of the founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans), he serves as treasurer and legal counsel, and is on the Board of Directors. Phil is an attorney in Washington, DC, serving as Trademark and Internet Counsel to the U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon.

Having deep ancestral roots in New Orleans,  Philip is well versed in its history and rich cocktail and culinary traditions. His Orleanian ancestors include Antoine Amedee Peychaud, the creator of Peychaud’s Bitters and the original Sazerac cocktail.

Chris McMillian Descends from four generations of bartenders and is native to Louisiana. Chris is now partnering with acclaimed chefs Allison Vines-Rushing and her husband Slade Rushing at the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel where McMillian entertains his guests with outstanding classic drinks and often treats them to a lesson in cocktail history as well.  Much of his work has been used to tell the story of the American Cocktail and its place in history.

When he is not conducting mixology seminars in New Orleans for guests and locals, he can be found at national and international events as a guest speaker. He is also one of the original founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

Moderator: Phillip Greene
Panelist: Chris McMillan

Sun, 25 July 2010
The Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone

Check out all the details and get your tickets on the Tales of the Cocktail`s website.

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt3 – The Frappè and the Crusta

These are two gorgeous cocktails. The Herbsaint frappè is the Herbsaint signature cocktail and a frappè (fra-pay) is an iced drink where the outer of the glass is covered with a thin film of ice from the stirring. You fill the glass to the brim with cracked ice and pour in the liquid and stir until you get that film on the outside of the glass. There are recipes where this drink is shaken too but i prefer the stirring method.

Then you either keep the ice in the glass or strain out the liquid into another glass that is chilled and remove the ice from the frosted glass before pouring the liquid back again. This is so that the drink doesn`t get dilluted. Now you have an ice cold frosty frappè to enjoy by sipping it slowly.

I personally like the nice touch of adding a few dashes of Peychauds or Creole Bitters on top, it adds a nice color and a little spice.

HERBSAINT FRAPPÈ

herbsaint-frappe

2 oz Herbsaint

1/2 tsp simple syrup or sugar

2 oz carbonated or plain water

And if you will – a nice touch of Peychauds (or Creole Bitters) on top

Pour the liquid in a glass and add 3/4 of cracked ice. Add the simple syrup or sugar and the carbonated water. Fill the glass with more cracked ice and stir until you get that frost on the outside.

Strain into another glass that is chilled and remove the ice from the frosted glass and pour back the liquid. Now you have a frosted herbsaint frappè. Use absinthe and you have an absinthe frappé.

Here´s an old recipe ffrom 1933 using Benedictine:

1933 LEGENDRE ABSINTHE FRAPPÈ

Fill large glass with shaved ice
One Teaspoon Benedictine
Two Tablespoons Legendre Absinthe
Four Tablespoons of water

Cover Glass with a shaker and shake until frosted-strain into a chilled small glass and serve.

THE BRANDY CRUSTA

brandy-crusta

A true New Orleans classic and invented in 1852 by Joseph Santina who owned and operated the City Exchange on Gravier Street. It has a unique and stunning  garnish in that a large lemon peel almost entirely coats the inside of the glass which also has a sugar rim.

This drink`s formula has a base spirit (brandy) sweetened by an orange liqueur and then  lemon or lime for the sour. And is the base for many modern classics like for example the Margarita (Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice)

1.5 oz Brandy
0.25 oz Maraschino liqueur
0.5 oz Cointreau
0.25 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Lemon peel spiral and sugared rim for garnish

Start with moistening the rim with lemon and then coat the rim heavily with fine sugar. Peel ½ inch wide and long lemon peel, long enough to go around the whole glass on the inside. Shake the ingredients with ice and then strain in to the glass. Use a wine or cognac glass or a double old fashioned glass.

Its a very balanced drink where sweet and sour meets strong and the garnish peel adds another dimension as do the sugared rim, – this is a also great cocktail.

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt2 – The Hurricane Cocktail

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Famous like few others – the Hurricane cocktail is said to have been invented in the 1940`s at Pat O`Brien`s bar who simply needed a new cocktail to get rid of surplus rums when whiskey was scarce during and after World War II, but was originally very different from what they serve now — it was rum (half light, half dark), passion fruit juice and lime (2:1:1) They served it in a glass that was shaped like a hurricane lamp and so the drink got its name.

During the prohibition of the 1930s the bar was known as “Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary” and a password was required to get inside of the establishment. Its since then one of the most popular drinks in the french quarter, especially among the tourists.

The extremely sweet and red Hurricane you get at Pat O`Brien`s today is not what once was served and what you get when mixing it up with all natural ingredients and it uses the powder-mix containing chemicals and artificial color.

Still i think its something you should try when in New Orleans – it´s one of those things you just have to do bec if you don`t you simply have n´t been to New Orleans….and it actually does have a charm of it´s own.

Also Pat `O Briens is a fun place to go to with it`s beautiful fire fountain in the courtyard – and don`t forget the piano bar with their legendary copper pianos and lively dueling piano players singing with the people through the night with that joyous New Orleans spirit floating through the air – it´s great fun!

That Hurricane you get at Pat O`Brien`s will also creep up on you and get you pretty drunk if you drink too many too fast as it contains plenty of rum so be careful.

As for the Hurricane-mix…the Hurricanes made with it is one kind but it´s not the original kind and many are they who believe this powder-mixed drink ís what makes a real Hurricane. Chuck over at Gumbopages also wrote about this in an excellent post.

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Made with natural ingredients and homemade grenadine you get a very different and much nicer cocktail and if you play with the rums you can have some fun. I use a passionfruit juice and some passionfruit syrup as well. This drink with rum, lime, sugar, passionfruit juice and grenadine is actually close to the Daiquiri.

To this nothing but homemade grenadine will do for me – and as its so easy to make that i always have it. I often add a handful of dried hibiscus flowers to it as well – it gives a very tasty and fresh tropical tang. So equal parts water and sugar plus the seeds of two pomegranates (or have èm juiced) and if you will – a handful of hibiscus – bring to a boil and then take off the heat – add the fresh seeds of one half of the two pomegranates, mash it up a bit and leave to cool. But if you want to be really authentic – leave out the hibiscus flowers;-)

I made a batch today as i was out of grenadine and the pomegranates are in season now so there`s plenty of large ripe red pomegranates from Morocco out there and they taste so fresh! I need to buy 3 when i`m gonna use 2 because i eat up too many of those ruby-red sparkling seeds that not much would be left for my grenadine.

Let stand for a few hours so the flavor settles, then strain and bottle. Keep in the fridge, it lasts about a month or more. There`s no reason to buy commercial grenadine unless you can`t find fresh pomegranates. But as a basic rule with both drink-mixing and cooking, always use the best and freshest ingredients possible.

hurricanes

Here´s two recipes of the Hurricane, one is the basic one and the other the common recipe today.The Hurricane on the pictures is made with the common recipe.

Basic recipe:

1.5 oz light rum
1.5 oz dark rum
1 oz passionfruit juice or syrup
¾ oz lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice.

Common recipe:

1.5 oz light rum
1.5 oz dark rum
1 oz orange juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup
1 oz simple syrup
1 teaspoon grenadine
Stemmed cherries, and orange slice to garnish
Ice cubes – i prefer cracked or crushed ice here.

Half fill a Hurricane glass with crushed or cracked ice (or ice cubes) Shake all ingredients and strain into the glass. Fill up with more ice if needed and garnish with an orange slice and stemmed cherry.

Now i didn`t have any cherry today or an orange slice  so i used what was left of the pressed orange and a lime wedge instead.

On the famous pics of the cocktail blogging crew (well part of it) below from Tales -08 and-09 (sorry guys but these pics are awesome…) you can see the Hurricane cocktail as being served at Pat O`Briens and how deeply red the color is.

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The fountain at Pat O`Brien`s.