Friday, July 31, 2015

Going Home Again?

My 20's in a nutshell
I have another opportunity to go home to Ireland thanks to Irish whiskey!  This time it is a cocktail competition with Tullamore D.E.W.  The last time I had any experience anything from Tullamore was with a lad in the backseat of his boss's Cadillac.  

Here's hoping this experience is more satisfying!

Come out and cheer me on!

Monday, August 3rd
Finn Mc Cools
3701 Banks Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

Punch Parties!

Those dog days of summer are here and who wants to shake and stir cocktails all night?  Make it easy on yourself and whip up these fine punches and rest your weary dogs.  Enjoy the party! 

Iberian Punch
Named for the European peninsula that contains Portugal, Spain and parts of France, this party drink packs its punch with wines and grape based spirits from that region.
¼ cup Madeira (if you can find the Rare Wine Historic Series New Orleans, you’ll thank me.  The Savannah series is great too)
¼ cup Ruby Port (I use Sandeman)
1 ½ cups amontillado sherry (try Lustau Los Arcos)
¼ cup Grand Marnier
2 chilled 750-ml bottles sparkling wine (Spanish Cava works well, Champagne is you are feeling fancy)
1 ½ cups Cognac (I use Pierre Ferrand 1840)
8 lemons
1/2 cup light raw sugar
Block Ice
Apple slices cut into festive shapes and frozen grapes
Fresh Grated Nutmeg (the fresh nut is a must)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemons, and try to only remove the peel as the with pith can be bitter.
Muddle the peels in a bowl with the sugar and set aside for an hour to let the flavors combine.
Juice the lemons to make about 8oz of lemon juice. Add lemon juice to the bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the mixture, without the lemon peel into your punch bowl.
Add all the wines and liqueurs except for the Bubbles (save that for right before you serve) and add a block of ice (this can be made days before with a silicone baking dish)
For Garnish: Freeze individually picked grapes.  Right before serving, cut apples going from top to bottom and cut out festive shapes like stars, circles and trees with cookie cutters.  Add sparkling wine right before serving and grate fresh nutmeg over the entire punch bowl.
Irish Channel Punch
Satsuma is a local Louisiana citrus in season in the fall.  Its bright and bitter citrus flavor is perfect match with the subtle golden spiciness of the Irish whiskey.
Satsuma Punch
8 oz. fresh satsuma juice, plus zest
8 oz. fresh lemon juice, plus zest
8 oz sugar
750 ml strong Assam tea
1 (750 ml) bottle Irish whiskey
2 oz. Amer Hiver (Bitter orange and cinnamon liqueur)
1 oz. rosewater syrup*
Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving
Satsuma peel, for garnish
  1. In a large punch bowl, toss the satsuma zest and lemon zest with the turbinado sugar and muddle well. Let sit for one hour.

    2. Add satsuma juice, lemon juice, tea, whiskey, liqueur, and rosewater syrup; stir until sugar has dissolved. Strain, chill, and serve with a dash of grated nutmeg. Garnish with satsuma peel, if you like.
Rosewater syrup can be found in some specialty stores.  Or you can make a simple syrup and ad a few drops of rosewater to taste.

Apple Pickin’ Punch
Upstate New York, where I am from, has a fine tradition of picking apple in the autumn.  This punch would be the perfect refresher after spending a crisp fall day in the orchard with the rye giving it a nice spice.

SERVES 15-20
8 cups apple cider
3 cans (about 750ml) of dry hard cider (such as Crispen)
1 750ml bottles of ginger beer (such as Gingeroo) 
1 750ml bottle Rye Whiskey (such as Willett or Bulliet)
4 oz lemon juice
Several dashes orange bitters
1 orange sliced into rounds, and apples into Stars for garnish
Cinnamon sticks, star anise for garnish


Combine the ciders, ginger beer, whiskey, lemon juice, and bitters in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir to combine. Top with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Ladle into ice-filled punch glasses.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Life After Tales of the Cocktail

Just add gin and Campari...
My friend Lee saddles up to my bar on the last day of Tales.

"Abigail, can you make a Negroni?"

"Is this a joke?", I snap.

"I have really been enjoying them lately and I though maybe you would know how to make one."

"Come here and let me kiss you, you wonderful beautiful man!"

Yes, of course I can make a Negroni.  And when a riverboat captain comes into my bar on the last day of Tales to ask if I can make one because he has recently discovered that he likes them, I am reminded why I learned to make Negronis.  And Boulivardiers and Americanos and all those other cocktails.  We have started a movement.  And while it is fun to celebrate ourselves and nerd out about ice and pat our selves on the back with awards, I am glad I have friends like Lee who remind me why I am really doing this.. who I am reaching out to and how important those people are the other 361 days it is not "Tales".

Thank you Lee.  I hope you enjoyed your Negronis and come back for more.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I’ll Take Manhattan

My Manhattan variations 

My favorite historical cocktail is the Manhattan.  This is the drink that exemplifies the cosmic shift in the universe from New Orleans to New York.  Why I dare say the cocktail’s rise to fame and glory began the day they finished the Eire Canal.  New York City becomes the most important port in America and our elders across the pond began to take notice.  Trade brings wine, spirits and vermouth from the Old Country as well as their tired and poor yearning to drink free.  This old world drinking style combines in a glass with bitters,  American Rye whiskey, the spirit George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made,  and pour like silk woven into the new American fabric.  The drink represents the new sophistication of Industrialized America and the world wide scope that our power now reached.
On a personal note, this is the first drink I learned how to make.  My grandpa taught me when I was 7 so I literally have over 30 years of experience making a Manhattan.  My Gramps had 44 grand kids and I was a girl right in the middle trying to get his attention and since I was always obsessed with those classic cocktail placemats at the diners our family would frequent, I became his personal barman.  He liked his sweet, a  1:1 ratio bourbon to sweet vermouth.  I like mine perfect with a twist, and with Rye, natch.
It was family lore that my Grandfather’s parents met while they were working at the old Waldorf-Astoria hotel.  But I have only recently discovered that my great –grandfather worked as a Waiter and bar man and made have been under the tutelage of the famous Oscar Tschirky.
It is my personal quest to find out more of about the origins and popularity of my favorite cocktail, The Manhattan and the city where my family bloomed.

My variations

Big Chief
2 oz Bourbon (Willet Pot Still)
½ oz Averna
½ oz Punt e Mes
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a flamed orange disk

2 oz Rye (Willet Rye)
½ oz Averna
½ oz Punt e Mes
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a flamed orange disk

The bitters are in the Punt e mes and this has a darker, deeper richer Manhattan.  Make it with Rye and I call it The Longshorman, because of its similarities to a Red Hook, which is based on the Brooklyn, which, in turn, was based on the Manhattan. They are both great 3 ingredient cocktails.

New York Mutt
2 oz Irish Whiskey (love Knappogue Castle 12 year old single malt..or Power’s John Lane)
½ oz  Pierre Ferrand dry curacao
¾ oz Sweet vermouth (Cinzano)
Dash of Maraschino Liqueur
Dash of Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist
I am Irish, Italian, Sicilian, French and Austrian.  My Mom used to call me a New York Mutt.  The ingredients in this cocktail represent every country my ancestors left to come to America, specifically, New York City.

7 Steps to Hell
2 oz Scotch (Black Grouse)
½ oz  Pierre Ferrand dry curacao
¾ oz Sweet vermouth (Cinzano)
Dash of Maraschino Liqueur
3 Dash of Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist
A twist on my New York Mutt, this contains ingredients from all the countries my Grandfather Vincent served in during WWII.  He fought in Patton’s 7th army, his unit’s name?  7 Steps to Hell.  My Grammy’s nickname to this day is Hell Kitty.  She was their pin up mascot.

Old Square
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Lairds Apple Brandy, Bonded
1 oz sweet vermouth
Barspoon of Benedictine
Dash of Ango bittere
Dash of Orange bitters
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist
Really a Vieux Carre variation (which I see as a Manhattan variation for sure), but more “American” with the apple brandy and Bourbon, our official spirit as of 1964, and served up instead of on the rocks.  Came to me when I preferred my Vieux Carre’s served up and my Nola bartending friends told me emphatically that it was not a Vieux Carre if it was not served on the rocks.

Hickory Chicory Dock
2 oz Rye (Willet Rye)
1 oz Hoodoo Chicory Liquor
Dash of Orange bitters
Dash of Chocolate Mole bitters
Strain and serve up in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry
This is a nice twist if you can get your hands on this chicory liqueur.  

Perfect Pearing
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Pear Brandy
1 oz Martini Gran Lusso (Or Lillet Red)
Stir over a big rock and garnish with a dusting of fresh grated cinnamon

Really I think this is another Vieux Carre variation, but certainly rooted in the principle ideas of the Manhattan.  Spirit, Vermouth and hint of bitter or bark in a 2:1:dash ratio.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Makin’ Groceries with Rouses and NOWFE

Makin' Groceries!

This past week I had the pleasure of taking a group a folks from the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience shopping at my favorite store to makes some fresh seasonal cocktails on the fly!

Here is what we made:

Shopping List:
Angels and Cowboys 2014 Rose
Sazerac Rye
Oriza Vodka
Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
Bayou Satsuma Rum Liqueur
Gingerroo - Old New Orleans Rum
Cocktail and Sons Honeysuckle Peppercorn syrup
Cocktail and Sons Mint and verbena
Fentimens Tonic Water
Q Club soda
Bittermen’s Burlesque bitters
Bittermen’s Tiki bitters

Rouses Rooftop Basil
Rouses Rooftop Mint
Rouses Rooftop Thyme
Small nectarines
Meyer lemons
Mississippi blueberries

Honeysuckle Tonics
2 oz Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
3-4 blueberries
wheel of lime
1/2 - 1 tsp of Cocktail and Sons Honeysuckle PinkPeppercorn syrup
5 drops of Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters
Top with Fentimen’s Tonic water or Q club soda
Garnish: fresh basil

Muddle berries, lime wheel, syrup and bitters in the bottom of a glass.  add vodka and tonic or club soda.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients and garnish with a sprig of fresh slapped basil.

Rye Thyme Juleps
2 oz Sazerac Rye
1/2 - 1 tsp of Cocktail and Sons Mint Verbena syrup
lots of fresh thyme
Muddle a few sprigs of thyme in the bottom of a glass with syrup.  Add rye whiskey and crushed ice and stir.  Garnish with fresh thyme.

Watermelon Rose Sangria
One large watermelon
2 bottles of Rose
Meyer lemon
(more assorted fresh seasonal fruit here is encouraged! even JalapeƱo peppers give it a nice green spice!)
Fresh mint
Oriza Vodka
Bayou Satsuma Rum Liqueur
3 droppers full of Bittermen’s Burlesque bitters

Hollow out watermelon and reserves shell for punch bowl.  Puree watermelon meat and strain to extract juice.  Cut chunks of assorted fruit and citrus wheels to soak in the sangria.  In a large bowl, pitcher, or the watermelon shell, mix together 2 bottles of Rose, and 1/2 a bottle each of vodka and Satsuma or orange liqueur and the bitters.  Top with club soda and ice.  Garnish with fresh mint.

Low-Alcohol or No-Alcohol Cooler
2 oz Watermelon juice
Top with Gingeroo or ginger beer for zero alcohol
3-4 drops of Bittermen’s Burlesque Bitters
Garnish with lemon wheel and fresh sprig of mint.

Build over rocks in a tall glass.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Thank you New Orleans

I'd Rather Be Tubing…always.

Three years ago I moved down here without even a sure job.  This year I was named Bartender of the year.  Thank you, New Orleans.  It has been a pleasure to serve you and the thousands of people from around the world I have been blessed to have in my bar.

I will love you, no matter what.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Negroni Week

In honor of Negroni Week, we are doing a host of variations at SoBou.  A carbonated classic version, a mezcal version and even a sherry version because it is also Sherry Week!

Here is a popular nergroni variation from last year's summer menu.  

Dizzy Blonde Negroni
Build in soda siphon, batching for 7 cocktails
7 oz  Gin,
7 oz Aperol
7 oz Dolan dry vermouth,
3 ½ oz Cointreau,
3 ½ oz water
served carbonated from a soda siphon into a OF glass filled with ice
Garnish: Grapefruit twist
Both the soda siphon and the batched cocktail should be kept cold in the freezer or refrigerator to get maximum fizziness from the siphon.

This is a light aperitif cocktail.  It would pair well with cured meats, cheese, olives and pickles.  Brunchy food, it would be divine with a quiche.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crimes Against Cocktails: Fixing Mario's Mess

By now you may have heard that Mario Batali's What I am Drinking Column is an affront to all that is good and holy about cocktails. Really, New York Times?!?  Clearly they are slacking letting this fool print his disturbed ramblings on his liquid misadventures.  If this is the way this so called world acclaimed chef drinks, I never want to eat his food again.  His drinks lack creativity, proportion or any kind of thought for home drinker.  He is so out of touch, he recommends a Rum that cannot even be bought here in the United States!  His sense of entitlement and privilege just oozes from the page…oh yeah…it is the New York Times after all.  

I am gonna take it upon my self to fix the ugly messes he leaves in that newspaper that used to be known for its taste in All The News Fit To Print.  

What I'm Drinking
Uhg.  Smug Bastard
Grapefruit juice has just the right amount of sweetness to make a stiff drink seem lighter. In cahoots with some Campari, it is sublime. I make my annual and renowned red greyhounds on Sept. 19 to celebrate mutual birthdays with Jimmy Fallon and Michael Symon. Fill highballs with ice and add 1 jigger each Campari and vodka. Then add 2/3 grapefruit juice and 1/3 tonic and help us celebrate.

Ok…This one is not one of the worst.  But it can be better.  It is a universally known fact that both Campari and Tonic were made to go with Gin.  So to have Vodka, in this drinks, seems like a total waste.  Also, name dropping  is already sickly sweet.  I want to know, if as a Chef, Mario uses different categories of measurement.  "Use 1/4 cup flour and a handful of peanuts, 2 oz of olive oil and smidgen of salt"  Come ON!!  What is a Jigger, Mr. Harry Johnson?  And then 2/3 and 1/3 of what?  And you are into gourmet  right?  So you know there are good quality tonics and tonic syrups our there, right?  

Ok.  Here is my revised version of the cocktail catastrophe above.

What I Would Drink Instead
1 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/2 oz Campari
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 oz good Tonic

Served tall in a Collins glass with a grapefruit peel garnish.

Now, doesn't that sound better?

This is so crazy, I actually believe most of the posts here: