Although the classic Improved Gin Cocktail is a favorite, gin-based Old Fashioneds are not something you see very often. So I was intrigued when I saw one in Death & Co new cocktail book. Even better, this particular one was an occasion to use my homemade orgeat (I used a coconut orgeat that I made with a fresh coconut using the same technique I normally use with almonds).
Next week will be the official release of New York City bar Death & Co‘s long awaited cocktail book. Bar founder David Kaplan managed to get an impressive $250,000 advance for the book, part of which he redistributed to his employees.
The bar opened in 2007 with Phil Ward of Pegu Club as head bartender, joined behind the bar by Brian Miller and Joaquin Simó. Phil Ward has a special connection to San Diego; he trained the bartending staff at Craft & Commerce and helped design its cocktail menu which includes several punch options, including his phenomenal Mother’s Ruin Punch.
Chiltern Firehouse might be one of the most sought-after reservations in London these days. Since it opened a few months ago, it’s been impossible to get in unless you are rich or famous. Try googling the restaurant and you will see the daily log of celebrity visitors (from the past few days: “Rita Ora almost suffers wardrobe malfunction at Chiltern Firehouse” and the very intriguing “Clive Owen is seen arriving at Chiltern Firehouse with two mystery ladies”).
I was interested in trying the restaurant, not for his celebrity clientele but because, believe or not, I really like the food of chef Nuno Mendes, who used to helm the kitchen at Viajante and the Corner Room in Bethnal Green. After corresponding with the restaurant for a few weeks, I finally manage to score a reservation for a week lunch in early August.
Finding the restaurant is not difficult, however its entrance behind a large wooden gate is not so obvious (the security guards in black suits in front of the gates should have been a clue). Past the gate is a very nice outdoor patio. The vibe is very much like celebrity hot spot the Ivy in LA. A little bit of LA in London – not surprising, considering that the owner of Chiltern Firehouse is no other than André Balazs of Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.
This month’s MxMo theme, The Unknown, immediately prompted me to dig up ingredients I had collected but not used much in cocktails – Acids! A recent experiment with acid phosphate had showed me that a few drops could liven up a drink. Citric, malic, and tartaric acids were still uncharted territory for me. Since a visit to White Lyan in London a couple of weeks ago, I knew this was something I wanted to tackle. The bar is famous for not using any ice or citrus, although they are still able to offer a Daiquiri and other classic sours on their menu. How do they do it? Acids of course! By carefully blending different types of acids at carefully established concentrations levels, they are able to replicate the taste of lime or lemon and produce well-balanced cocktails.
Tucked within the beautiful Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, Peg + Patriot is a cosy bar that was opened just a few months ago by Matt Whiley of the Talented Mr Fox and his team, Ally Martin and James Stevenson. It was pretty quiet on a Sunday night, with just a few barstools occupied. I took a spot at the bar and studied the clipboard-bound menu. Is it me, or are a lot of London bars hopelessly obsessed with clever puns? Continue reading
Tequila is not a spirit that is very well represented in mixed drinks, and even less so in tiki cocktails. Beachbum Berry’s Total Tiki app includes only 4 tequila recipes out of a total of 238. Two of these recipes mix tequila with rum to great effect.
The first one, Jim’s Special, created at cult tiki bar Tiki-Ti in LA, pairs aged tequila with dark Jamaican rum. Coruba dark Jamaican rum provides body to the drink with plenty of molasses, while the aged tequila (7 Leguas añejo) adds wonderful notes of pepper, cinnamon, honey, and wood. With two such strong elements, you need other standout flavors – passion fruit syrup, orange with curaçao, and lime for acidity. Finally, a touch of orgeat rounds everything out. The resulting cocktail is deep, strong, mysterious, and delicious.
The Mixology Monday Challenge this month is about coconuts, right in the footsteps of a recent pineapple challenge. There is something delicious about a proper Piña Colada made with fresh ingredients that I could not resist. For the coconut element, using fresh coconut water instead of cream preserves the coconut flavor but cut downs considerably on the sweetness, which is a good thing. There is no need to compensate by adding sugar – pineapple is plenty sweet on its own. My pineapple had the right balance of sweetness and acidity and was fine as is, but if it’s very sweet, adding a squeeze of lime juice can help make flavors pop.