Kaieteur Swizzle

After attending Martin Cate’s fascinating seminar at Tiki Oasis about tiki restaurateur extraordinaire Stephen Crane (Intrigue! Adventure! Hollywood! Tiki!), it is not difficult finding inspiration for new tiki drinks. The other night I made Don the Beachcomber’s Volcano Bowl, a flaming tiki drink which has the particularity of using maple syrup as a sweetening agent. I was looking for drinks from Stephen Crane’s restaurants, the Luau and the Kon Tiki, but ended up finding a swizzle recipe by Martin Cate that looked interesting and also used maple syrup. He named it the Kaieteur Swizzle, after the waterfalls in Guyana.

What is great about swizzles is that they are built directly in the glass. You just add all of your ingredients, then the crushed ice, you swizzle preferably with a swizzle stick made of bois-lélé or a bar spoon, top with crushed ice, add your garnish and a straw, and you are done. Easy and very refreshing in the summer.

Kaieteur Swizzle (Martin Cate): Demerara rum, lime juice, falernum, maple syrup, angostura bitters
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Southern Exposure

When I received a bunch of really fresh celery in my farmers’ market bag yesterday, I immediately knew what I wanted to make. I am not usually a fan of celery – tough, bitter and stringy are the first words that come to mind. But fresh celery is a different matter; it has a fresh green fennel taste and I could see the potential for a nice cocktail. Dave Stolte at Home Bar Basics had published the recipe for the Southern Exposure, a creation by Daniel Hyatt at San Francisco’s Alembic, and I was eager to try it. It is a riff on the Southside that uses celery juice.

Southern Exposure
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A couple of quick summer soups

In summer I enjoy cold soups. One that I make regularly is Suvir Saran’s chilled yogurt soup with cucumber and mint from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I love this soup because it is ready in 5 minutes in the blender and does not require any cooking. You start with a large pinch or two of cumin seeds that you roast for a couple of minutes in a pan then grind; I use a little coffee grinder dedicated for spices. Then you blend 2 cups of yogurt (I like to use the Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s because it is quite thick), one large cucumber (cut in chunks with the skin on), a green chili (serrano or jalapeño – I use a little bit of jalapeño Tabasco, or BDW serrano cocktail spice that a friend makes locally, if I don’t have fresh green chilies), a large pinch of garam masala, the leaves from a bunch of fresh mint, salt & pepper. You just blend everything until the mint and cucumber skin are reduced to small green flecks. Garnish the soup with a dusting of cumin and a mint leaf. It’s really nice and fresh for the summer; it reminds me a little of cucumber raita in soup form.

Another good summer soup is this watermelon and cucumber gazpacho that I made last night. It was equal parts watermelon and cucumber, blended (it helps to start with the cucumber first as it is thicker) with plenty of lime juice (I used two limes for 1 cucumber and half a small seedless watermelon), the leaves from 2-3 mint sprigs, salt & black pepper. Garnish with finely diced watermelon and feta cheese, plus a small drizzle of good olive oil. Seasoning is key (otherwise the soup just tastes like a fruit smoothie!) – be generous with the salt & pepper and the flavors will pop.

Watermelon and cucumber gazpacho
Watermelon and cucumber gazpacho

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Maid in France

The French are not known for their cocktails. It’s true that there is the kir, a French creation which is simply cassis (blackcurrant liqueur from Dijon) with white wine (aligoté, a dry white wine from Burgundy), and its regal version, the kir royal (*). But it would feel a little strange enjoying a libation that references the king on Bastille day. Looking for cocktails with a connection to France, the French 75 immediately comes to mind. Created in Paris, it is a very nice drink, especially with gin. The cognac version has the advantage of combining two French ingredients, cognac and champagne. But I did not feel like opening a bottle of champagne, so I searched for something else.

Continuing with the cognac theme, I picked the Maid in France (**). The Maid is a family of drinks based on the following formula:

Muddled mint & cucumber | lime | simple syrup | base liquor | (soda water optional)

With the cognac + citrus combo, you could say that it is a relative of the Sidecar (also thought to have been created in Paris). But it has a much lighter feel due to the fact that simple syrup, rather than orange liqueur, is used as the sweetener. The muddled mint and cucumber add another element of freshness. And it’s served on ice with a fragrant garnish.

Maid in France: cognac, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled cucumber, mint

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