This month our Mixology Monday is being hosted by Paul Clarke over at The Cocktail Chronicles. Paul decided that the theme would be New Orleans. Since most cocktail nerds attended Tales of The Cocktail 2008 (held in the Crescent City) many posts will contain delicious drinks from one of the wonderful sessions, some hilarious stories about drunken tom-foolery and possibly pictures of Jeff Morgenthaler camped out by the pool. (Seriously, did Morgenthaler really spend *that* much time by the pool?!?!?!?) Anyway, for those of us that weren’t lucky enough to attend this year, our instructions were to write about cocktails that originated in New Orleans or that are inspired by New Orleans.
The first drink I really wanted to make was a Brandy Crusta. A straightforward cocktail of brandy, curacao, lemon juice and bitters, the defining aspect of the Brandy Crusta was the garnish. We learn from Ted Haigh’s “Vintage Spririts & Forgotten Cocktails” that Joe Santini, a barman in New Orleans, invented the crusta style of cocktail. Taking a long strip of citrus peel and crusting the edge of the glass with sugar, a basic cocktail (spirits, water and bitters) was now something with a bit of flair and pizazz.
2 oz cognac
1 tsp curacao
.5 tsp lemon juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Use a peeler and get a long strip of lemon peel. Moisten the rim of your glass with lemon juice and dip in sugar. Then roll the peel so it fits into the mouth of your glass. Shake all of the cocktail ingredients and strain into your prepped glass. Add one small lump of ice.
Again, this is a very simple cocktail with the garnishing really being with show-stopper. As for taste, it’s a bit like a Sidecar, although less sweet and with less citrus swinging about. This would be a great small cocktail to serve to someone who likes pretty looking things. But honestly, a bit too labor intensive to make a bunch. Just make a garage full of sidecars. An interesting note, both the Brandy Crusta and the Sidecar are within the family of cocktails named New Orleans Sours. Ha! Another New Orleans reference!!! This family includes margaritas, corpse revivers and cosmopolitans.
In keeping with tradition here at The Den, I wanted to leave you with another cocktail. If you have been following our exploits around here you know how much I love the Sazerac and how all seems right with the world when I’m drinking a De La Louisiane cocktail. But for this outing, I decided on another thoroughly New Orleans cocktail – Ramos Gin Fizz.
History tells use that the Ramos Gin Fizz was invented around the late 1880s by a New Orleans barkeep by the name of Henry Ramos. In The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan tells us of how Mr. Ramos would hire multiple bar-backs to shake a single fizz, even to the point where it is reported that some customers would wait up to an hour to receive their drink! Well, I won’t make you wait an hour for the recipe, so here you go.
Ramos Gin Fizz
1.5 oz Gin (I used Plymouth)
0.5 oz Lemon Juice
0.5 oz Lime Juice
2 Tbls Cream
1 Egg White
0.25 oz Seltzer Water (to be honest, I didn’t measure this, just using a short burst from the iSi)
1 Tbls Powdered Sugar
4 dashes Orange Flower Water
Combine everything except the seltzer water into a mixing glass. Top with the mixing tin and shake, without ice until your arms hurt (or for as long as you can stand.) Then fill the mixing tin with ice and shake until the drink is properly chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or wine glass and top with the seltzer.
The reason you do the first shake sans ice (also called a dry shake) is to emulsify the egg and achieve a nice thick foamy meringue that will eventually float on top of the drink. Speaking of the foamy meringue, once you strain about 3/4 of the drink into the glass, swirl the remaining inside the mixing time before straining it into the glass. This allows the remaining liquid to pick up the foamy meringue that has been sticking to the ice cubes inside the tin and will give you a better head on the drink.
Even though I wasn’t able to attend Tales this year, I’ve been reading everyone’s accounts and living vicariously. One of the sessions I know I would have loved was the one on garnishes. I like to think I garnish my drinks appropriately and with something my guests find interesting, edible or both. For this MxMo I wanted to do a little something special garnish on my Ramos Gin Fizz. Keep in mind that it is my first attempt and hopefully something that as I practice, I will improve. With that, I give you the MxMo Ramos Gin Fizz.
That’s it from this Scofflaw. Hope everyone enjoyed this MxMo. Thanks again to Mr. Mixology Monday himself, Paul Clarke.