Thursday, November 05, 2015

My Sherry Appreciation Extends to the Cask, Baby!

Yo. This is good juice. Cask strength and full of nutty raisin goodness from the oloroso Sherry butts that this rum gets finished in. Sips like a cognac. The stuff that dreams are made of, y'all. 

My Sherry Appreciation Extends to the Cask, Baby!

Yo. This is good juice. Cask strength and full of nutty raisin goodness from the oloroso Sherry butts that this rum gets finished in. Sips like a cognac. The stuff that dreams are made of, y'all. 

Extraordinary Sherry Pairing

Last night I went on a Sherry bar crawl in Nola asking my #sherrybroads to pair amazing food with wine. Molly from R'Evolution called this Sherry "ethereal" so I just had to have it.
A beautiful 12 year old Palo Cortado from Gonz├ílez Byass, the Leonor is nutty with a hint of spice and an extended finish. An amber colored dream. Christine from Angeline paired it with a new fish from Chef Alex: clams with wild boar sausage. This pairing was to die for. Stunningly delicious. It's no wonder we are Sherry Broad City here in Nola. Come check this out, y'all. 

Sherry Galore!

I am so proud to work at a restaurant with a great Sherry selection. This wine is taylor made to go with food. And our food is ideal for Sherry too! Try the conch crocettes with a Manzanilla. Or an oloroso with our steak tartar. Our curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi is crying out for an Amontillado. 

And don't forget the sweet stuff at the end of your meal!  Px and chocolate? To die for!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sherry Cobbler

There are certain cocktails that are less about the ingredients and more about the presentation.  The way the drink feels in your hands.  The proximity of the straw to some aromatic garnish.  The feel of the chilled vessel as touches your lips.  The Sherry Cobbler is one of those drinks.  The type of sherry you should use?  A dry one, like a Fino or Amontillado.  But really anytime could make a great cobbler.  The type of sugar? Superfine.  Or simple, or pineapple gum syrup.  Maybe even a spoonful of seasonal jam.  The citrus?  Orange, or lime, or lemon or even grapefruit or Satsuma here in New Orleans.  Hell throw some berries on there, strawberry, raspberry blackberry...See where I am going?  There is a lot of flexibility in this cocktail and you can use your judgment and personal taste to make it just the way you want.

The Construction.  Now here is where you might want to stick to the blueprints.  Crushed ice and a straw.  Much like a Julep, this drink is all about presentation.  There is nothing better than slurping up this icy, nutty, fruit, citrus, cocktail through a straw.  This is the perfect place for a metal straw.

Please read this piece form 2007 and read the master, David Wondric, wax poetic and downright Baker-esque about the Cobbler:

At Compere Lapin, our version is fortified with rum and served in a beautiful highball glass with garnish dusted with sugar, ala beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  Nice New Orleans twist along with the name, an illusion to our famous Meyer the Hatter store.

Meyer Cobbler
1 1/2 oz demerara rum
3/4 oz Amontilado sherry
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz demerara syrup
dash of ango bitters
lemon and orange wheel in the tin
Garnish: orange wheel, berries, mint and powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients in a tin with 2-3 cubes.  Strain over crushed ice.  Garnish and use a straw!!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Still Searching for My Adonis

Aphrodite and Adonis..always in the hunt.

In honor of #SherryWeek, I'd like to share my very favorite Sherry cocktail.  I was asked once what is the sexiest cocktail a guy can order from me.  Definitely the Adonis.  Its low alcohol, was featured in my favorite cocktail book, The Savoy, and its a sherrific take on a Manhattan.  Dating from that time when the Manhattan was king, the Adonis was created in the 1880's and named for the first Broadway musical to have more that 500 performances.  See?  It appeals to my theatrical background as well.  Plus, can you imagine anything more sexy than a man ordering and Adonis?  He'd be my Adonis for sure.
The original called for Fino Sherry, but I met the wonderful Dinah Sanders in my bar who has a different take in her book The Art of the Shim, a book of low alcohol cocktails.  She uses a dry oloroso.  My favorite in that style is from Bodega of Gutierrez Colosia.  Situated on the Bay of Cadiz, this sherry ages 12 years in the solera system by the sea, lending to it a salty dry quality that makes it perfect for sipping with cured meats, or with this perfect cocktail.  Sangre y Trabajardo means the blood and the worker.  The cooper who made the sherry used to share his hard work with his butcher neighbors.  
For more info about this great sherry, check out this blog post from the Formaggio Kitchen:
And try ordering an Adonis the next time you go into a cocktail bar.  Who knows, the bartender may fall in love with you!

1½ oz. dry oloroso sherry
1½ oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: orange peel

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with peel expressing the oils on to the top of the drink.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Barnacle Daiquiri

I wanted to be in Red Hook today.  I wanted to go to the Barnacle Parade.  I wanted to surprise the crew at Fort Defiance and have a tiki drink with Zac Overman.  I wanted to shake daiquiris behind the bar.  But money, timing and a real bad ear infection seemed to conspire against me.  So I made this daiquiri as a whim, inspired by Cassie's, my co-worker, version with a mist of absinthe in the glass and the white rum split with Red Hook riesling.  Yes!  A wine cocktail!  And its delicious!

Below is the recipe and the video I made to send to St John and Zac at the Fort.

Barnacle Daiquiri

1 oz Red Hook Riesling
1 oz white rum
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz lime juice
mist of absinthe

Shake all but absinthe and strain into a chilled cocktail glass misted with absinthe.  Yhay Absinthe!

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.