Tag Archives: Derek Brown

I VOTE for… Tasty drinks!

Tomorrow (6th November 2012) is a big day in the USA, it is the day the American people will cast their vote for either Democrat President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. I certainly know who i’d be voting for but I won’t say it here as it’s pretty irrelevant since I am not a citizen and therefore can’t vote anyway!

I thought i’d put a few election inspired drinks up though…you know how I love a good theme. ūüėÄ

In the BLUE corner…

There are very few ‘blue’ drinks I approve of, and no ‘Classic’ concoctions with a bright blue hue. ¬†I had first planned to put up a drink with blueberries in but realize that using muddle blueberries creates more of a purple color. Sadly the only really blue drinks are ones that use a fake ingredient like ‘blueberry syrup’ or food coloring. ¬†The drink I have chosen is the only drink I really like that has a bright blue color, and Paul Martins American Bistro (PMAB) is the only place i’ve seen a Lemon Drop made this way.

The PMAB Lemon Drop

  • 2oz Vodka (or Gin)
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • Splash of Blue Curacao

Garnish: Lemon Wheel and Sugar rim

I know it sounds terrible to the real drink¬†connoisseurs¬† but I have to say it’s really tasty! Great if you have a sweet tooth (the sugar rim certainly does it for me!) and the pop of color makes it stand out. If you ever find yourself at a Paul Martins and want a sweet refreshing vodka drink, you should certainly give this one a go.

In the RED Corner…

There are plenty of Red options to choose from, but seeing as the drink name has ‘America’ in the title, this one seems appropriate!

Americano

  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1oz Campari
  • 40z Soda

Garnish: Orange Peel/Slice

This drink dates back to the 1900s when it was first served in creator¬†Gaspare Campari‘s bar, Caff√® Campari, in 1860. It used to have a different name, (‘Milano-Torino’) but the drink creator supposedly changed it when it proved so popular with the American tourists. ¬†It is actually a very interesting mix of flavors. ¬†Using the beverage bitters (Campari) you get a gorgeous red color and the drink itself is a bitter sweet mix with a taste that makes you want to drink more.

Who will live in the White House?

On a recent trip to Washington DC we met and befriended legendary barman, writer, illustrator and fountain of knowledge;¬†Derek Brown.¬†The drink below was created by Derek (AKA The Presidents Mixologist) and is particularly fitting for my election theme because it has been served AT the White House itself. Derek probably thinks ‘The Presidents Mixologist’ is a bit of a pretentious title, and if you met him you’d know he would never want someone pushing for it but frankly that is what he is! He has been chosen to create drinks for the White House on more than one occasion, has interacted with President Obama personally and is pretty much the ‘King of Cocktails’ in Americas Capital City. To me he is certainly the Master when it comes to mixed drinks and also just an incredibly lovely man.

When thinking of drink recipes suitable for this Election week he was the first person I wanted to ask for input. ¬†He wouldn’t reveal what the President drinks, pointing out that “pouring and telling in DC is a political no-no!” ¬†He was, however, kind enough to give me the recipe for one of the drinks he prepared for the White House holiday parties back in 2009.

Robert Frost Cocktail

  • 3/4 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Amontillado Sherry
  • 3/4 oz. White Port
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: Thinly sliced orange and lemon wheel.

Derek told me that ‘The Robert Frost Cocktail’ is based off the ‘Whispers’ or the ‘Frost Cocktail’. He says he also chose the name because Robert Frost is one of America’s top poets and a poet laureate who embraced progress while recognizing what made America great. Frost actually read at the inauguration of John F, Kennedy¬†too. Derek told me; “Frost just seemed like the perfect inspiration to honor America’s new direction.”

This drink is DELICIOUS! I tried it for the first time today and think it’s just beautiful. Perfect for all kinds of drinker. The Port, Sherry and Bourbon make an incredibly delicious mix. It is balanced with both a strength and sweetness to it. If you can get the ingredients together, it’s certainly worth a shot making it at home.

So there you have it, 3 somewhat random drinks to sip on this week as you watch the polls go one way or the other.

!!!!DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY!!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Drink of the Week, Events

Drink of the Week

Olson’s Revenge

  • 1 oz Grand Marinier
  • 3/4 oz Mezcal
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • 3 dashes house made serrano bitters
  • Sage leaf

Shake and strain in to a glass.

Garnish: A sage leaf

This is the drink that I enjoyed most at the Bar Room Brawl event in New Orleans for TOTC.  It was created by Alex Bookless (although named by the wonderful Derek Brown) and served by the bartenders of The Passenger/Columbia Room from Washington DC.

The drink itself is beautifully balanced and hits almost every taste element. ¬†It is a little sweet, a little spicy, has a touch of sourness and a smoky after-taste. ¬†I found it so easy to drink, I had at least 4 at the event! ¬†I admit i’m not sure how one could re-create this at home without the serrano bitters, but perhaps a little serrano chili would give the same effect. ¬†You don’t want it to be too spicy, but the slight heat certainly adds to the enjoyment of this cocktail.

Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Drink of the Week

My Tale of Tales 2012

I can’t quite believe that it’s already been nearly two weeks since I returned from the sticky summer heat of New Orleans!…So much for blogging as I went along!?

I could use the excuse that there was just no time to blog, but lets be honest, I was more often than not far too intoxicated busy to document correctly!  What can I say though, this was the 10 year anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC)!

Many of my blogging companions have long since posted there highlights from the trip, but one of the reasons I have taken so long to write this post is because I am almost overwhelmed with where to begin. ¬†There were many more parties, tastings and seminars than I have space to cover here so I am going to give a very brief break down of the events that interested, excited or inspired myself and my darling mixologist boyfriend FutureGreg (FG) in particular. This isn’t to say that there weren’t many more during the week that were great, these are just the ones that stood out and made it to MY tale of Tales.

Lets begin at the beginning…

On the shuttle from Louis Armstrong airport to our hotel in French Quarter we found ourselves stuck in a fair bit of traffic due to the arrival of President Obama,¬†who was visiting for the day. Ok, so this isn’t really all that relevant to TOTC, but come on, what a cool start to have the President wave at some of the World’s best bartenders!

An Absolut Welcome

Event: Absolut Welcome Party       Location: Contemporary Arts Center

First stop was the Absolut Welcome party. ¬†For those of you who read my posts regularly, you might recall I reported on the Absolut Stuga event last month for Tasting Panel Magazine. ¬†In that piece I noted how Absolut had managed to bring Sweden to Hollywood with the placement of small swedish cottages and snowy white trees around the room…fast forward to Wednesday night and I found myself again standing in Sweden, only this time I was in New Orleans.

The Absolut team had done a great job transforming the Contemporary Art Museum in to a Swedish landscape, complete with falling snow. I must mention, the snow was a beautiful touch but proved to be extremely impractical. I think I must have choked on at least 12 bubbly flakes blowing in the air and had many more land in my drinks, which was somewhat annoying and impossible to avoid.

Takafumi Yamada pours the Absolut

The event itself was nicely done though.  Blue lights made the room appear cold and wintery, which was a pleasant change from the humidity outside.  There were drink stations set up representing different areas of the World too. My favorites were Absolut Japan and Absolut Italia.

Hidetsugu Ueno had created the Absolut Diamond Tea drink that used local Japanese Honey and Japanese Tea a long with regular Absolut vodka.  The tea was a prominent flavor, but the drink itself was balanced and had a nice sweetness to it from the honey.  It was served over an ice ball that was skillfully carved in front of us using a Japanese ceramic knife.

Over at Absolut Italia I enjoyed a very¬†different¬†kind of drink, the Coppa Di Fiori. ¬†This was made with Absolut Citron, Cynar, Lemon juice, Mint, Simple syrup and Tonic water. It was certainly bitter, but still very enjoyable….even for my sweet tooth!

Later in the evening Simon Ford, Gary Reagan, Nick Strangeway and Lynnette Marrero¬†performed the song ‘Take a chance” by ABBA which was both hilarious and slightly disturbing! haha

   

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOTC

Event: William Grant & Sons     Location: New Orleans Museum of Art

Buses courtesy of TOTC shuttled us off to the 10 year Birthday Bash put on by William Grant & Sons.  On the ride we indulged in Hendricks flavored ice creams before arriving at an even grander Art Museum with giant candles lining the drive.

There was so much to see at this party I can only touch on a few of my favorite areas.  The Hendricks Gin spectacle was very peculiar, the bartenders would make drinks at the top of the roof and pour them down to the glasses below.

Inside there were¬†delicious¬†appetizers, desserts and drink selections provided by Glenfiddich and Belvenie. ¬†Outside there was a ‘Slap and tickle village’ (which had bartenders shaking drinks whilst jumping on trampolines), a giant birthday card to sign and burlesque dancers.

img_8017.jpg

There were photo booths, clowns, a fireworks display and plenty of cocktails to be had in amongst the artwork. As fellow blogger Dave Stolte pointed out…

“A Henry Moore statue can also double as an impromptu drinks stand in New Orleans!”

Japanese Whisky, fill me up!

Seminar: Non-Stop to Kyoto     Presented by: Neyah White & Gardner Dunn

The seminar that really stood out to myself and FG on this trip was ‘Non-Stop to Kyoto’ which was put together by Neyah White and Gardner Dunn. ¬†This was a really relaxing experience and a great escape from the craziness of Tales.

The room had been transformed in to a little Japanese hut, with a great selection of some of the best Japanese Whiskies available, ranging from Hibiki 30 year to 1984 Yamazaki Single Malt. We each sat down at our own little table and were given a blending kit with a selection of whiskies in test tubes. Neyah explained that there was no right or wrong way to put together our own drink, it was simply a teaching aid to help understand how master blenders come up with combinations.  I actually really enjoyed my creation, it was a little smoky, a little sweetness and not too hot.

I tried the Yamizaki 1984 and really liked it, it was very smooth with no dramatic heat despite being 96 proof. ¬†It had a slight cinnamon nose which I am told could come from the Japanese Oak it’s aged in. It is named after the year 1984 which was the first time they felt their product was good enough to serve as a single malt, before that date Suntory had only ever produced blended whisky.

Small bites, which included a¬†delicious¬†‘Scrambled egg on vanilla brioche with bacon caramel’, ‘Banana Mochi’ and ‘Spicy caramel popcorn’ was provided by World famous Chef¬†Michael Mina,¬†as you can imagine the dishes were incredible and I wish there had been more. ¬†The spicy sweet popcorn brought out interesting flavors in the whisky too.

Ooh how that pig packs a punch!

Event: Bon Vivants Pig & Punch    Location: Washington Sq Park

The Pig and Punch party had us drinking a variety of creations out of trash cans, yes you heard correctly, trash cans.  Obviously they were clean and filled to the brim with alcohol and fruits, but it was quite an experience to say the least. The highlight of the event was when 4 men carried the cooked beast in and placed it on a fire pit while a classic New Orleans brass band played bouncy songs as if it were a Jazz funeral.

There was plenty of food on offer.  I had sausages with Templeton rye that were awesome and some incredible sorbets and gelatos created by Luxardo and La Divina Gelateria. My favorite flavor was the peach amaretto sorbet, which was like eating liquid marzipan. Just delicious!

Crawl to the Brawl

Event: Bar Room Brawl   Location: Generations Hall

I have to say, this was a little bit of a cluster f!@k to get in to. ¬†There were long lines and too many people on the guest lists, but once inside it was well worth the wait. ¬†For those who don’t know, the idea behind Bar room brawl is to find the best bar in the US, voted in by the industry.

This year saw no Los Angeles bars nominated so FG and I decided to cheer for The Passenger/Columbia Room of DC. ¬†My review of Washington DC is coming soon, but even if we’d never been or met the incredibly talented¬†Derek Brown we still LOVED all the drinks that this bar produced that night.

Beretta from San Francisco won the title of best bar, and Bar Manager Ryan Fitzgerald collected the trophy.

We weren’t by any means disappointed with this win, it was nice to have a Californian bar take the title even if it wasn’t LA.¬†Having been to¬†Beretta¬†ourselves just this past January, I can attest to the fact that the restaurant and bar program there is truly fantastic.

It was at Beretta that I finally found out I liked brussel sprouts (after Ryan forced me to try them)…it was one of the first times I had been convinced to try something ugly and green! That particular experience was one of the reasons I started the FussyOne blog a month later, to be able to tell others like myself, “it’s ok to try scary green vegetables!”

Tastings

There were several tasting rooms and vans that popped up during the week, below are just a few of the drinks and products I enjoyed the most.

Giovanni Martinez¬†representing Chivas Regal gave me a cocktail named ‘The Green Room’¬†which had Carpano Antica Formulae, Clear Creek Pear¬†Liqueur, Miracle Mile Toasted Pecan Bitters, and Chivas 12 yr. ¬†The entire cocktail was aged in glass with oak staves that had originally stored barley wine. The drink itself was served straight up and was really strong, but full of interesting flavors.

  

Ben Davidson, The National Spirits Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Australia had prepared two other cocktails that included Chivas and were barrel-aged. These were also very strong, and tasty.  I find that the new craze of barrel-aging cocktails is a great one, it gives complexity to certain drinks and softens other. I look forward to seeing more barrel-aged cocktails coming to bars in Los Angeles soon.

I tasted the White Montanya Rum for the first time and was pretty impressed by the product as a whole. ¬†It had a slight nuttiness to it and wasn’t at all harsh like most white rums. ¬†I am generally a dark rum drinker but the rep. explained that they age this rum in oak then filter it through coconut husk charcoal so it retains the flavor, but removes the color. ¬†Nice little product.

Nick Strangeway introduced us to his new Absolut Craft line at the Flavor Innovation Workshop, which was held at the creepy historical Pharmacy Museum. ¬†He gave a really interesting talk on how he came up with and created the three new flavors he’s produced with the Absolut vodka brand. ¬†The three flavors he’s created are Smokey Tea, Herbaceous Lemon and Bitter Cherry.¬†

The Herbaceous Lemon was very interesting, because although it had a strong citric flavor Nick explained it had no actual lemon or citrus in it. He wanted to create a citrus vodka with no citrus, just using citrus flavored herbs.  He certainly achieved this because it tasted like fresh lemon zest was incorporated, but instead he had chosen to use Lemon Mertyl, Lemongrass and Lemon Thyme to create the strong lemon flavor.  It was very original and an interesting concept.

The Bitter Cherry, was indeed bitter and not really my favorite but The Smokey Tea was a really fantastic product.  It had a really nice smokiness to it which we later enjoyed in a pineapple-tini style drink that was probably one of the best drinks we had the entire trip!

All good things must come to an end…

Like I said at the start, this post can only touch on a few of my favorite parts of the trip.  Juniperlooza, The Rum & Reggae pool party, The Macallan Ice Ball plunge and The Pink Pigeon Spirited dinner were all noteworthy events also, but I could go on and on so I have to stop somewhere.

Below I have thrown in a bunch of photos that can touch on the¬†mayhem that I simply don’t have room to write about…

                         

Please note, there were a number of Bars and Restaurants that FG and I visited separate from the Tales debauchery, including Commanders Palace, Cure, Arnauds and The Carousel Bar.  I will be writing a separate post about these soon so be sure to look out for that in coming weeks.

There’s really nothing left to say now, except…

Here’s to another 10 years of Tales! ūüėÄ

3 Comments

Filed under Events, Fussy News