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:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bayou Sunset Sangria

I demonstrated a rose rum sangria at the Bayou Boogaloo. Events like the Boogaloo are what made me fall in love with New Orleans! I am so proud to share my love for cocktails on this beautiful day!

Bayou Sunset Sangria
(Serves 10)
Red grapes
One jalapeño pepper

3 cups Bayou white rum
11/2 cup Bayou spiced rum
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup Bissop hibiscus concentrate
2 bottles of rose wine

Using a melonballer, break down half each of the melons. Reserve melon shells as serving vessels if so inclined. Slice grapes in half and add blueberries whole. De-seed the jalapeño and slice into thin rings

To fruit salad add agave, hibiscus and half the rum, reserving the other half for the wine punch. Fruit salad can now stay fresh for up to 3 days. 

To make wine punch, just combine rum with the wine. 

When ready to serve, use one scoop of fruit salad per person over ice with 1 cup of wine punch per person. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Best Bars in America

And don't you forget it!

LeSigh.. I wish all my photos were GIFs of me at the Beagle...

Sno-Balls for Grown Ups

New Orleans has a name for frozen slushie type drinks.  Daiquiris.  These drinks are as about as far removed from an original Daiquiri as a Mango-Choco-Appletini is to an original Gin Martini.  While I have no room at my bar for a full on Daiquiri machine, I try to re-create the frozen drink craze during our hot summer months with Beverly, my industrial ice crusher.  Beverly Crusher (the smaller version is called Wesley) creates beautiful fine shaved ice more reminiscent of our famous Sno-ball stands or the shaved ice I used to get from the little old Dominican men with a huge block of ice on their shopping carts in my old neighborhood in New York City.  These men sold piraguas with hand shaved ice and homemade syrups.  My favorite here in New Orleans is called a Pink Squirrel, a cherry almond syrup that is greatly enhanced by a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk on top, a topping as common has whipped cream here at New Orleans Sno-ball stands.  Take flight with this boozed up version of the Pink Squirrel with that other form of city vermin, The Pink Pigeon.

Drink:  piragüas or as we call them in New Orleans, Sno-balls for grown ups

Pink Pigeon
¾ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Luxardo Sour Cherry Syrup
¾ oz Luxardo Amaretto
2 oz good white rum Rum (I like a local rum like Old New Orleans, Bayou or Rouraroux)
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain ½ of mixture onto a mound of crushed ice.  Pour the remaining ½ and then top with more crushed ice.  Garnish with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and a cherry.

Of course Strawberries and Cream are another natural combination.  Try this classis New Orleans Sno-Ball Boozed up:

Tiger’s Blood
2 oz Coconut Rum
1 oz Coconut Milk
1 oz simple syrup
Fresh Strawberries
Spiced Rum Whipped Cream*
Muddle about 2-3 ripe strawberries into the simple syrup.  Shake all ingredients over ice and strain ½ of mixture onto a mound of crushed ice.  Pour the remaining ½ and then top with more crushed ice.  Top with Spiced Rum Whipped Cream and fresh strawberry.

*To make the spiced Rum whipped cream, whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 Tablespoon of spiced rum and 2 tablespoons of Steens Cane Syrup.

Belinis, Sangrias and Daiquiris…on ice!
Not all snowballs are creamy.  Adding some bubbles to shaved ice created a refreshing frozen treat that dances a conga on your tongue. 

Island Bellini
1 oz Passion Fruit Puree
1 oz Peach Puree
3 oz of Moscato d Asti
3 oz Dry Cava
Pour all ingredients over crushed ice and mix gently.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a fresh peach slice if you are so inclined.

I use half moscato and half dry cava to control the sweetness to my liking.  When working with frozen ice or blended drinks, it is key to go a tad sweeter than you would normally.  The dilution of the ice needs a bit more sugar to bring forward the entire flavor of the cocktail.  Of course, all sweetness should be adjusted to your own personal preference.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The #1 most searched cocktail...

Apparently its the White Russian.  The Dude would approve.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to discuss my homage to my favorite drink when I was 21 years old, the White Russian.  Read here for more about my take on this classic, the Dude Abides.

Baby Dude!!
The Dude Abides
1 1/2 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
3/4 oz Averna cream
1/2 oz Luxardo espresso liqueur
Splash of cream
1. Shake hard and strain into a large old fashioned glass with a few fresh cubes of ice. Top with freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Good Morning!

Huey P Long giving Cocktail lessons.

If ever there was a town well versed in the Hair of the Dog, New Orleans surely is the shining city on the hill.  Morning drinks are an entire sub category here in the land of 24 hour bars.  The Lovely Ladies of Uptown think nothing of starting the day with a fortifying Brandy Milk Punch.  Every dive bar in the French Quarter makes a glorious Bloody Mary with spicy pickled green beans and okra.  And you can get these drinks to go, thus taking a invigorating perambulation while you take your tonic to shake that dog that bite you the night before. Perhaps the most famous New Orleans morning drink is the Ramos Gin Fizz.


Henry C. Ramos invented the Ramos gin fizz in 1888 at his bar, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon on Gravier Street, in New Orleans Louisiana. It was originally called the New Orleans Fizz, and is one of the city's most famous cocktails. Before Prohibition, the bar was known to have over 20 bartenders working at once, making nothing but the Ramos Gin Fizz - and still struggling to keep up with the demand. During the carnival of 1915, 32 staff were on at once, just to shake the drink. The drink's long mixing time (12 minutes) made it a very time consuming cocktail to produce.
The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans also popularized the drink, as did governor Huey P Long’s fondness for it. In July 1935, Long brought a bartender named Sam Guarino from the Roosevelt Hotel to the New Yorker Hotel in New York City to show the staff there how to make the drink, so he could have it whenever he was there. The Museum of the American Cocktail has newsreel footage of this event. The Roosevelt Hotel group trademarked the drink name in 1935 and still makes it today.

The twist that we do at SoBou is to add some house made hibiscus syrup to turn the drink pink, like our Elephant, BarBar.  We also add some Bitterman’s Orange Cream Citrate, like the old time soda jerks used to use to give the drink and extra kick.  With the healing power of protein from the cream and egg, refreshing cooling citrus, sweet and dry from the hibiscus, I’d say this would bring you back from the brink of any illness.

SoBou Gin Fizz
2 oz Beefeater Gin
1 1/2 oz cream
1 egg white
1 oz simple
3/4 oz lemon/lime
1/2 oz hibiscus syrup
dash of vanilla
1 dropper full of Bitterman’s Orange Cream Citrate

Dry shake, without ice, then add ice, shake long and hard.  In a large chilled glass add some soda water on the bottom, pour slowly to build a rich thick creamy head. Top with more soda if necessary.