The recent annual gathering of Tales of the Cocktail is finished, and the last hedonist has returned home. We are left with fine memories and new ideas. It happens this way every year, and when the final ice cube has melted, the last julep leaf has been muddled, now’s the time to take a moment and reflect on what was experienced and what we learned.
Over the years, many an added ingredient has caught the attention of Tales’ attendees and groupies. Many of these are not new but they are used in new and additional ways. Here are a few considerations featured at this year’s event.
In the mid-1800’s, genever was the best-selling imported spirit in America. That was then. But the comeback of genever is cause for celebration. This spirit is malt wine, is historically created in its place of origin, Holland, and is more complicated than gin, a distant cousin. But genever with its heavy rye content should be compared to a fine whiskey.
- Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
- Stir, and strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
- Garnish with a large piece of orange zest or an orange half-wheel.
A wine, either red or white, fortified with brandy and flavored with herbs and spices. Red Vermouth is usually sweet, and the white wine vermouth is known as “dry.” Both are important ingredients in a wide variety of cocktails, and lately there has been a growing interest in both, although the use of vermouth in cocktails never really died. Vermouth is mostly made in France or Italy but there are some fine products also made in the U.S. Often, wormwood, the essential ingredient in absinthe, is a key ingredient.
- 1 ½ ounce rosso (sweet) vermouth
- 1 ½ ounce Campari
- Build directly in a highball glass on the rocks.
- Top with soda.
- Garnish with an orange slice.
Thanks to Tales of the Cocktail
Very new, and a few years ago was a huge hit when introduced at Tales of the Cocktail. Every mixologist was into experimentation with the liqueur. Made from elderflowers, a small white starry flower, harvested once a year on the slopes of the Alps, it is said that every bottle contains at least 1,000 elderflower blossoms. St. Germain is elegant with tones of peaches and other stone-fruits. It’s hard to imagine any adult drink, including many wines, that would not benefit from a dash of St. Germain.
St. Germain Spritz
- 1 ½ oz. St. Germain
- 2 oz. Dry Sparkling Wine or Champagne
- 2 oz. Sparkling Water
- Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass over ice.
- Stir gently.
- Add twist of lemon or lime.
Courtesy St. Germain
(Lavender, Orange, Rose, Hibiscus, Jasmine)
Flower water or floral water is a way to add a very fragrant and light flavor to a cocktail or even a baking recipe, like for cookies or cake. There are methods for the home chef to make their own flower water using distilled water, flowers and leaves, a bit of boiling and steeping. Easier is to purchase a quality and trusted product the ingredients of which have not been exposed to fertilizers or pesticides. Each flower brings something different to the final recipe.
Blooming Champagne Cocktail
- 2 drops rose water
- ½ teaspoon hibiscus syrup
- I whole hibiscus flower
- Champagne or Sparkling Wine
- Combine first three ingredients in a champagne flute.
- Lastly, add sparkling wine or Champagne.
Courtesy of Saveur.com
Please note that all the suggested cocktails are very easy and quick to construct. It’s too darn hot to do anything complicated or involved.
Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.