Sometimes déjà vu takes over and won’t let go. At other times, there can be the viewpoint that the remembered moments never went away.
Usually the era in which one grew up is a defining time for the rest of the life. Sure, there are appreciations of other times, but the ones an individual personally experienced become defining.
While they were with us, the '70s were not very well respected. Disco was considered silly and a complete fad. Hippies were societal drop-outs, not to be included in the count of serious members of society. The best days of The Beatles as a group were behind them and the individual members of the band were not as good as the whole. The president was a crook (gosh, that sounds familiar right now), and the realization that the Vietnam War was not getting us anywhere began to permeate mainstream society.
In all, the '70s were a bit of a mess, but now looking back, we see the period with different eyes, or for those who did not participate, there is renewed interest in the art, the music and the gentler tone. If the '70s were anything, they were mellow.
Today’s cocktail crowd seems to find commonality with what worked almost 50 years ago. The craze we endured over the past 10 years to see how many ingredients can be stuffed into a tall glass has, it seems, happily passed on and is now filed under the heading, “That never really worked anyway.”
Cocktails today have reverted to a short list of ingredients, simple and quick to make, and balance is key. There is no call for eye of newt when a short dash of absinthe will do just as well, thank you.
And once again, history repeats with New Orleans taking her rightful place in the world of alcohol. Looks like the guys and girls who set a pace for cocktail innovation in Louisville, Omaha, Spokane and Sioux City have either moved or moved on. San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Miami, along with New Orleans, are still at the top of the service and creation heap. As they say, “If you wait long enough….”
Kent Westmoreland, the amiable and creative Bar Keeper at The Bar in the Windsor Court Hotel lobby, does embrace a theme-approach to naming and modifying cocktails. Westmoreland loves old movies, old songs and literature so he is a font of naming and creating possibilities.
Recently Chilled Magazine chose to feature a few Westmoreland’s creations/alterations, and they were all based on popular drinks from the '70s – very cool stuff. Thought I would share. It’s a groovy idea to head over to see Kent Westmoreland at The Bar. Here is a sample of what you will find:
- .5 oz. Hendrick's gin
- .75 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon
- .75 oz, simple syrup
- 5 fresh raspberries
- 4 drops rose water
Shake with ice, pour in a coupe glass, top with rose water. Garnish with a rose petal
Variation of the classic Harvey Wall Banger cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz. Reyka Vodka
- 1/4 oz. Galliano
- 2 dashes Bitterman’s Tiki Bitters
- 3 oz. Orange Juice
Shake and pour into coupe glass.
Sunrise with Mick
Variation of the Tequila Sunrise, the drink of The Stones’ 1972 tour
- 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
- 1/4 oz. Chambord
- 4 oz. Orange Juice
Build the drink in an ice-filled Collins glass. Stir before serving
Inspired by Sally Lippman and her days at Studio 54 in New York City
- 1 1/2 oz. Flor de Cana 4 Oro
- 1/4 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
- 1/2 oz. Grapefruit Juice
- 1/2 pomegranate grenadine
- 1 Egg White
Shake and pour into coupe.
Follow the Money
Inspired by the 1976 motion picture, "All the President’s Men"
- 1 1/2 oz. Reyka vodka
- 3/4 oz. lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. honey/cinnamon syrup
- 1/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
Shake then pour into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli
Inspired by "The Godfather" movies, Parts I and II
- 2 oz. Flor de Cana 4 Oro
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1 oz. Cointreau
Shake and pour into coupe glass
Thanks to Kent Westmoreland – mixologist, Windsor Court Hotel – for the recipes and for dredging up some very strange memories.
Looks to me like Kent has created a body of work that lends itself to a theme party. None of the drinks are complicated and can be mixed in relatively short order.
Why not have a few folks over and celebrate the era even if you were not a part of it? Bell bottoms and double-knit baby-blue leisure suits can be optional. In fact, I strongly suggest that they stay optional. Enjoy!
Read Happy Hour here on MyNewOrleans.com every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed at www.wgso.com. Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life" every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans.