Reason #396 To Go To Tales of the Cocktail

•June 21, 2009 • 1 Comment

Every year as Tales of the Cocktail rolls around I get asked by scores of people if it is really as fun as it sounds (answer: resounding yes). I also get asked if it would be something that a cocktail enthusiast would enjoy, as people wonder if it is something that is exclusively for bar professionals (answer: if you like cocktails, you’ll love Tales!).

And so with these questions in mind, I give you reason #396 to go to Tales of the Cocktail.

This year, Greg Boehm, brilliant mastermind of Mud Puddle Books and all around nice guy is heading to New York this year with three things on his mind. One, he is releasing the next six books of his wonderful antiquated collection. Two, he’s having a rare book auction (it’s the books that are rare, not so much the auction). And three, he is also moderating a panel entitled Cocktail Book Fetish which is described thusly:

Obsession is a feeling that top book collectors Greg Boehm and Jeff Masson know all too well. Join them as they discuss the past and present state of cocktail book collecting with a level of detail and humor that only the obsessed have. Using time lines, top ten lists and the precious books themselves they’ll tell you everything you need to know about the must-have, most influential and even most overrated cocktail books published over the past 250 years. All attendees will receive “The Cocktail Book Fetish” handout which includes a seminar summary as well as a few of the oldest, best and worst drink recipes in history.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Greg’s doings, get over to his website (or read what I said here) and check out the books that he’s begun to reprint.

Now some of you may hmm and haw over reprinted books, but let me assure you that what he’s done with these reprints is something special. Not only has he reprinted the originals, but he has pulled out all stops, faithfully reproducing the paper, cover and even the binding of the originals. It is as if you were holding the original, but for one thing. Not  content with merely reproducing the originals, he has had cocktail luminaries of our time write intros for each of the books, and at Tales this year, he will release the next of his series of reproductions, that goes a little something like this:

Recipes for Mixed Drinks by by Hugo Ensslin (1917)

The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them by Bill Boothby (1908)

Drinks by Jacques Straub (1914)

Artistry of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier (1936)

Cocktails: How to Mix Them by Robert Vermeire (1922)

Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler (1895)

He’s starting to make me question the thousands I’ve spent on the originals!

Now before I sign off and let you buy tickets for this year’s events (even though Greg’s seminar conflicts with my own on cocktail photography), I just want you all to be aware that our good friend Greg is not content with just giving us the means to learn the classics. He’s now intent on having us make those classics with style as well. Mr. Boehm has finally secured a (hopefully) steady supply of quality European and Japanese barware to the US, in hopes that we may never have to use a bar spoon with a rapidly disappearing red plastic top again. Go to his site to learn more.

There you have it, reason #396 to go to Tales. See you there in two weeks!

It’s getting closer….

•June 15, 2009 • 2 Comments

www.talesofthecocktail.com

It’s almost that time of year again. That time of year when bar chefs, mixologists, bartenders and booze-ophiles from all over the planet pack their bags, head to the airport and fly to that cradle of cocktailian history: The Big Easy, The Crescent City, The Paris of the Americas , NOLA, or New Orleans, Louisiana!

And the reason for this mass migration? Why Tales of the Cocktail of course, where New Orleans is the annual host to the internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine, and culture. This event brings together the best and brightest of the cocktail community — award-winning mixologists, authors, bartenders, chefs, and designers — for a five-day celebration of the history and artistry of drink making. Each year offers a spirited series of dinners, demos, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours, and parties; all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made, by some of the best bartenders this planet has to offer!

There are many reasons to be going to this event, and the copious amounts of free booze flowing is the least of them. This year I’ll be working the tasting rooms of St. Germain and Yamazaki, as well as doing a number of seminars, including one on how to do the cocktail photography that you see on this site with little to no skill and a tiny budget. But the real reason that I’m telling you about this today is because I’ve just received an exciting email from Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, one of the many talented people at Tales this year that went a little something like this:

Friends, history buffs, cocktail enthusiasts, creative thinkers…it has been half a decade since Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails was released, to more fanfare than I could ever have imagined. In two weeks, Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, the deluxe, revised & expanded edition, will hit the shelves.

This is a sincere avowal of my belief that the new edition is better than the first. Here are some reasons I think so: There are fully 25% more forgotten recipes to try. The book is over twice as long. (Why 25% more recipes but twice the pages? I’ll explain…)

When I penned the first edition, I did so under the most unlikely of circumstances. I was buying my first house. I was moving into it. I was refurbishing it. I was getting married. I was working on the biggest movie project in Hollywood at the time. You see, that first edition began as a simple beauty project….recipe, pretty cocktail picture, cute anecdote. Anyone who knows me or has seen that book can imagine how long THAT plan lasted! The problem was…the book also had a deadline. While I was very proud of it (and thrilled by the response to it) I was aware – even before it was released – that some of the history was incomplete and less clear than I wished. Cocktails were included for which there was no time to ponder and supply the explanatory text they surely deserved. And, I admit it, there were errors. The book did look good but, as a longtime graphic designer, I knew where its every visual weakness lay. And it was paperback. It would not open and lie flat. This meant copies were quickly trashed attempting to actually use them behind the bar.

I agreed to do this new deluxe edition because I was assured a vast degree of creative control that many authors can only dream of. The result, as I said, is a book twice as long with lots more history and drink explanations (for both the original drinks and the many newly revealed ones as well) but that’s only the tip of the Kold-Draft ice cube. This new book is hardcover. The cover is water resistant. The result of a clever binding trick, the book opens to any page and lies flat. The substantial historical research yielded photographs, discoveries, and insights, much of which will be newly revealed.

In the original book, I did not have complete control over the the drink photography, which was done thousands of miles away from me. The deluxe edition was photographed right here at Casa de Cocktail. I was the art director, stylist, bartender. I personally chose the photographer, the ultra-talented Claire Barrett. I think you’ll see the difference; all of the images in the book are larger too.

Time moves on. Thus far, everything I’ve mentioned is a revision, an extension, and enhancement. The cocktail world has expanded and bloomed into full flower around the globe. The changes over the last critical five years have been extraordinary – and it’s all chronicled in the deluxe edition. The resource appendix was entirely rewritten with expanded, up-to-date resources. Most importantly, there is a completely new section of the book looking at the Internet and the effect it has had on the cocktail renaissance we now enjoy. I name the twenty-five most influential online cocktail pioneers, interview them about it, and share their thoughts.

There you have it. This is the book I always wanted to do; the best Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails I am capable of.

It hits the shelves July 1st, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon right now via this link.

Special note: it’ll be on sale at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, July 8th-12th where I will be happy to personally sign your copy!

Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail

Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails was one of the first books that really got me interested in the history of cocktails, so I’m very excited for this book to be released! To add  to my excitement, I’m also one of the contributors to his online section of the book!

So there you have it, yet another reason to go to Tales (you need to get that book signed, don’t you?) with many more to come in the following weeks.

Santé.

Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails

Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails

Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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Caipiroli

•May 31, 2009 • 15 Comments

Once again, I wrote the following for a great Slovak bar magazine, entitled appropriately enough, Bar Magazine. Occasionally Stanislav will contact me and ask me to create a recipe for him in the “molecular mixology style” that will fit in with the magazine’s theme of the month. This month the theme was the Caipirinha.

While molecular “caviar” provides a fun accent to bubbly cocktails, the larger “ravioli” can be served as a drink unto itself. What makes “ravioli” different than “caviar” (other than the size of course) is the fact that the insides hold a substantial amount of liquid, so that when one breaks the skin of the “ravioli” a mouthful of flavor oozes out.

As this month’s theme was to be the Caipirinha, I decided to take the three ingredients involved and present them in a different manner. Due to the Caipirinha’s distinct character, recognizable by muddled limes and crushed ice, I felt that to offer a liquid variation of the drink would take the tradition in the wrong direction. As I’ve always considered the Caipirinha to be a “chunky” libation, I wanted the molecular mixology twist to pay homage to that characteristic of this time honored beverage.

Enough talking! Let’s go to the lab and start mixing!

CAIPIROLI

200 mL cachaça
100 mL lime juice
100 mL simple syrup
4 drops green food coloring
2 ¼ tsp sodium alginate
place all in a glass container
blend with an immersion blender
fill a deep spoon with the mixture
lower into a calcium chloride bath
leave for ~ 2 minutes or until a skin forms around the “ravioli”
rinse off with cold water and refrigerate until ready to serve

CALCIUM CHLORIDE BATH

2 tsp calcium chloride
250 mL water

Another variation of this “ravioli” would be to freeze a small spoon of cachaça in liquid nitrogen and then wrap the solid alcohol in a sodium alginate mixture that is just lime and sugar. When one bit into the prepared “ravioli”, the only thing inside would be melted (liquid) cachaça, a pleasant surprise indeed! As liquid nitrogen is substantially more difficult to acquire (and handle) than hydrocolloids, I decided that the simpler recipe provided may be the way to go.

Santé!

Caipiroli

Caipiroli

Picture and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

Cobbler’s Dream

•May 24, 2009 • 14 Comments

The winner of the Hotel Monteleone Cocktail Contest has been determined (click here to find out more), and I realized that while I was busy telling you what not to do to win the competition, I should have been telling you the first rule of cocktail contests: know your audience (or judges in this case).

New Orleans, as those of you who have visited surely already know, is notorious for its sweet cocktails. Even when ordering proper dry cocktails like the French 75 or Old Fashioned you need to specify that you want your refreshment to be extremely dry whilst partaking in the Big Easy (and even then your libation will probably be fairly sweet). If you clicked above to read about the winner and his creation, you might have noticed that his creation’s proportions had equal parts liqueurs to base spirit (2oz liqueurs to 2 oz of rye to be exact). This was then topped up with a splash of a sweet soda and a couple of dashes of Fee’s bitters (the most candied of the orange bitters varieties). Not only is this drink very sweet (by my standards), but it is also refreshing, thanks to the crushed ice and bubbles, a perfect combination for New Orleans, whose sweet tooth is perhaps secondary only to its cloying heat. For the creation of this astute recipe, I tip my hat to Brian Robinson of Arlington, VA, for creating an interesting cocktail perfectly tailored for the locale that it was going to be made in!

As for my thought process when coming up with a recipe for this contest, I wanted something that gave a nod to the hotel’s past as well as acknowledged the fact that it’s located in a city of great cocktail history: New Orleans.

I started off with rye as a base (not unlike Brian) for not only is it used in such New Orleans classics as the Sazerac, the Vieux Carré and the Cocktail à la Louisiane, but it also has a connection to New Orleans entrepreneur Thomas Handy who imported rye for the Sazerac house when that evil louse decimated France’s vineyards, drying up this country’s supply of wine and naturally, cognac. Besides, we all know that I’m a sucker for rye drinks.

Next up was to find an ingredient to pay homage to the Monteleone’s founder, Antonio Monteleone. As he was of Italian descent, I immediately went to sweet vermouth, but not wanting to be too boring, I switched it up a bit and threw in some Punt e Mes instead. A little more bitter and interesting than your average vermouth n’est-ce pas?

Peychaud’s bitters were a natural fit, seeing as they were created in NOLA (and without bitters it wouldn’t be a cocktail now, would it?), and a dash of St Germain added a touch of sweetness and honored the city’s French heritage.

The drink at this point was great, but needed a little something extra, and as any visit to New Orleans should include a visit to Jean Laffite’s Old Absinthe House I figured that the cocktail glass should also pay a brief visit with absinthe as well.

So enough jibber-jabber, let’s mix up the:

COBBLER’S DREAM

1 ¼ oz rye (I used Rittenhouse 100 proof)
¾ oz Punt e Mes
¼ oz St Germain
dash Peychaud’s bitters
stir, strain into absinthe rinsed cocktail glass
garnish with brandied cherry

This is such a tasty beverage that despite the fact that it didn’t win the competition, I feel like I’ve come ahead a winner. Guests at the bar who have tried this drink have all raved, with one describing it as complex without being complicated. I think that about sums it up. This will definitely go into my box of tricks to be pulled up with great frequency.

Why the name Cobbler’s Dream? Antonio Monteleone was a nobleman running a successful shoe factory when he was lured to NOLA by the American dream, and as it didn’t win the contest and therefore transform into the Monteleone Cocktail, the Cobbler’s Dream it will remain.

Cin Cin and Sante!

Cobblers Dream

Cobbler's Dream

Picture and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

Contessa

•May 17, 2009 • 6 Comments

When designing cocktails for a contest such as the Hotel Monteleone’s, one has to consider what a bar/restaurant is able to produce on a regular basis. So, just like the Whis-Kebob wouldn’t be good to win this contest with, as it uses ingredients that are too difficult for a hotel to come by, today’s drink, the Contessa, wouldn’t be a good fit either, as two of the four ingredients are hand-made, something that a large operation like a hotel is definitely not looking for.

Then why am I presenting you with this recipe, instead of one that may win the Monteleone’s contest? First of all, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do when it comes to submitting recipes for contests. Secondly, it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Seattle right now with blue skies, temperatures soaring to 26˚C and the sweet smell of spring in the air, so the Contessa is a perfect drink for such a day, and I thought it best to share it with you.

Without further ado:

CONTESSA

2 oz Pisco
½ oz raspberry syrup
1 ½ oz grapefruit juice
shake hard and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass
mist the surface with a spray of lavender tincture
(if you’re feeling a little daring, mist the lavender through a lit lighter for spectacular effect and added aromatics)

For the raspberry syrup I just heated a pint of frozen raspberries (stirring all the time) in one part water until the water started to boil, and then added two parts sugar and stirred until dissolved. I immediately took the pot off of the heat when the sugar dissolved and let cool for 30 minutes. When the syrup was cooler, I separated the solids from the liquid and bottled, adding two ounces of vodka to each bottle for longevity.

The lavender tincture was simply made by macerating dried lavender in high proof vodka for one week and then filtering.

The Contessa is a bright refreshing libation that is doubly floral for the pisco and the aromatics provided by the tincture. I predicted last winter that floral notes were going to be hot this summer, and I’ve started to see that come to fruition with people making lavender bitters, hibiscus being bottled in syrup, and now Gran Centenario making a hibiscus infused tequila with their latest offering Rosangel. The age of the flower is amongst us!

Enjoy the weather if you’ve got it, but remember, tomorrow is the last day that the Hotel Monteleone is taking recipes for the competition so get them in before it’s too late!

Contessa

Contessa

Drink and Picture by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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Whis-Kebob

•May 16, 2009 • 4 Comments

While the following “cocktail” is not one that I would suggest for the Hotel Monteleone’s Cocktail Search (only two days left: I hope that you have entered!) as it would be a little difficult to put out in great numbers at a busy bar, it is a recipe that I had contributed for Slovakia’s Bar Magazine that I’d thought some of you may enjoy.  It went as follows:

One of the uses of molecular mixology is to bring an element of fun into the bar. Often times as one gets serious about the craft of the cocktail the element of fun gets lost, and in a business such as bars it is important to remember that entertainment is just as important as good service, comfortable atmosphere and a well crafted cocktail.

This week’s simple theme of Whiskey Sour along with the rapidly changing weather and Daylight Savings had me thinking of the barbeques that will soon be coming my way. Whiskey and BBQ naturally go hand and hand, but what if, I thought, you put the two together? Enter the Whis-kebob!

Half whiskey sour, half shish kebob, the final product really surprised me in that it tasted exactly like a whiskey sour with a subtle bacon finish. Fun to look at, fun to eat and not too difficult to make, ensure that this one stays away from the children as the cotton candy will entice them, but the 100˚ whiskey will knock them on their butts.

Santé!

WHIS-KEBOB

place two whiskey jellies on a plate
sprinkle with powdered citric acid
encapsulate with cotton candy ball
skewer and serve

WHISKEY JELLY

6 oz bacon-infused rye
½ tsp agar
¼ tsp xantham gum
blend ingredients together with an immersion blender
let sit for five minutes
heat to a boil in covered pot
immediately remove from heat
let cool and whisk smooth
pour through a fine strainer into cubed molds and let set

BACON-INFUSED WHISKEY

slow-cook 2 pieces of American or “streaky” bacon
place bacon (along with fat) in a jar with 8 oz Rittenhouse  100˚ rye for at least six hours
remove bacon
place jar into a freezer overnight
strain out solid fat pieces
filter bourbon through a coffee filter

Whis-Kebob

Whis-Kebob

Picture and Drinks by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

Chamomile Sour

•May 15, 2009 • 11 Comments

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for the Hotel Monteleone Cocktail Contest is rapidly approaching, so please make sure to get your recipes in before it’s too late. Four restful days in a glorious hotel for merely submitting a simple drink recipe?! You should be submitting your recipe now, instead of reading this drivel!

For inspiration, I’ll provide you with a recipe that we’ve recently taken off of the menu at Tini Bigs, as we’ve updated the drink menu to better reflect the season.

The Chamomile Sour was something that I swore was created by someone like Audrey from Pegu Club, or Jim from PDT, but after consulting with them, we decided that is was probably a Jamie Boudreau original, inspired by Audrey’s fantastic Earl Grey MarTEAni. While the Chamomile Sour is no longer available at the bar, it is a drink that will make a return when the weather turns cold again, as not only is it a damn tasty drink, but it was extremely popular as well, unusual in that recipes with scotch and egg normally don’t go over with the general public all that well.

So without further ado, I present for you, the:

CHAMOMILE SOUR

2 oz chamomile scotch
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
1 small egg white
place all ingredients in shaker and froth with cappuccino blade
(for more on eggs in cocktails, click here)
add ice and shake hard
strain into a chilled cocktail glass

To make the chamomile scotch, place half of an ounce of dried chamomile flowers into a jar with a bottle of Famous Grouse. Let sit for 20 minutes, and then separate and filter the chamomile from the scotch.

Chamomile is one of those natural flavor pairings with scotch, along with anise/licorice, ginger and cherry. While this looks like a simple sour on paper, the Chamomile Sour is really a complex and refreshing libation, which I encourage you to try one day.

I hope this has inspired you to come up with your own simple creation that may very well get you four free nights at the Hotel Monteleone.

UPDATE: I’ve been asked before, and asked again where I get my frother from.You can click HERE to see how to get all the tools that I use, or you can click HERE for access to only the frother.

À votre santé!

Chamomile Sour

Chamomile Sour

Picture and drink by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

 
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