Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strawberry Fields

♫ "Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you!" ♪

This week's Greatest Drink is posted on Research Partner Kerry's birthday, and in honor of the occasion, Joe decided to whip up a specialty beverage just for her!

The unnamed concoction was put down before her and with eager samplings it was soon dubbed "Strawberry Fields."

The Recipe:

Into a cocktail shaker full of ice, add:
- a 3 count of Kahlua
- a 3 count of Grenadine,
- a generous pour of Heavy Cream

Shake "Festively"

Strain into a 16 ounce pint glass full of fresh ice

Garnish with a fresh strawberry, (or a maraschino cherries!)
Original recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem, MA.

Joe's the Bartender's Notes: Many, many years ago, I awoke one morning and lo and behold! it was my wedding day!
My wife is from Liverpool, England, so as tradition would have it, we travelled from London to her hometown for our BIG day. As days go, it was pretty good. In England, you have two wedding receptions. The first is after the actual wedding and is a sit down with family and friends. The evening reception is more informal where you invite all the fun people. Our evening reception was at the Adelphi Hotel in the center of Liverpool city.

As the Disco music, (that is how long ago it was!) thumped and our revelers gyrated in flared pants and satin tops we enjoyed a delicious strawberry beverage. I do not know exactly what the original recipe was, but have managed to replicate the flavor and texture as closely as memory serves.

If you want to make your drink extra special, try making your own grenadine syrup. Simmer a good pomegranate juice, ( I would recommend Pom,) for 15 minutes take it of the heat and add superfine sugar to taste.

A note on the Adelphi Hotel. The main staircase from the Titanic was modeled after the staircase at the Adelphi Hotel. This led to many "I'm getting a terrible sinking feeling" type jokes from my new wife.

The song "Strawberry Fields" was written by John Lennon. Strawberry Fields refers to the name of the Salvation Army's Children's Home in Liverpool.

Chris the Barfly's Notes: This drink reminded me of an extra delicious ice cream frappe , but with that extra punch to make it more "grow-up!" The drink was very sweet, with a rich and interesting character and great taste, (Hey! Just like Kerry !)

Kerry the Research Assistant's Notes: Mmmm. The Strawberry Fields is immediately reminiscent of a strawberry cream candy found in one of those Boxes of Chocolates. It is so rich and full-flavored that the taste stays with you from sip to sip! Delish!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gilligan's Island

The "research team" of Kerry, Cheryl, and your humble author took to the road this week. Our explorations brought us to a local Japanese restaurant in Downtown Salem call "Asahi," where manager and resident Mixologist, Jerri, treated us to one of her signature brews, the Gilligan's Island, (and I will try to not let my fixation on the show, or my torrid, (and entirely fictional,) romantic past with actress Ginger Grant impede my write-up!)

The Recipe:
Into a cocktail shaker full of ice add:

- 2 count 99 Bananas banana liqueur,
- 6 count pineapple juice
- A splash of cranberry juice

- Shake "Gingerly!"

- Strain into a large glass filled with fresh ice

- Garnish with a slice of orange and perhaps a cherry,

Original recipe by Jerri @ Asahi Japanese Restaurant, Salem, MA

Bartender's Notes: Especially at this time of year, when it's cold and dreary, a little tropical getaway is so nice. This is a refreshing drink that can give you just a little taste of that.

Chris's Notes: Asahi's lack of an actual bar area was more than made up for by sitting at one of the Japanese Habachi tables, watching my food get flipped around and cooked before my eyes. I felt a little backwards, though, as the Gilligan's Island tastes exactly what I always imaged Mary Ann's Banana Cream Pie to taste like, and here is me eating, I mean drinking it before dinner. This would, therefore, be an awesome after-dinner refreshment, not too strong, but with a really different and tasty flavor.

"So rich! If it were a republican it would perfect!"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Espresso Martini

Here comes Friday. The work week is over. You want a cocktail that helps you unwind, but you don't want the the long work week to catch up to you. What are you gonna do for a drink that is also a pick-me-up?

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Espresso Martini!

The Recipe:

While chilling a large martini glass, into a cocktail shaker, add:

- A 2 count of Svedka Vanilla Vodka,
- A 2 count of Svedka Original, (unflavored,) Vodka,

- Shake intently,

- Strain into the now-chilled martini glass
- Garnish with a slice of juicy orange.
Original recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem MA

Joe the Bartender's notes: I have used Van Gogh 'Double Espresso' Vodka as the lead ingredient in this week's cocktail, so for those trying this at home, make sure that you use the 'Double Espresso' and not just Van Gogh Espresso Vodka. The double espresso has a much richer, coffee flavor, the perfect color and is the best espresso flavored vodka on the market. Once again I have used Svedka vodkas, as I have mentioned in the past the Svedka flavored vodkas have a less synthetic flavor and the five times filtered vodkas have a smooth taste at an affordable price. I have seen espresso martinis that include Bailey's or some other cream liquor,or are topped with whipped cream and have that glass rimmed with chocolate powder. Espresso by its very nature does not have milk or cream in it. the addition of chocolate is again not part of an espresso coffee. These additions are not necessarily bad in fact can be rather tasty, but by adding these flavors you are making something completely different maybe a "chocolate latte martini?"
The Espresso Martini is the favorite drink of one of my bar costumers at the passage to India. He is a young good looking local actor. I am assuming he is fairly successful in his field as struggling young actors do not normally come in attached to beautiful young women or do they order martini's
While watching this budding Lawrence Olivier in action the other night I wondered what my espresso drinking costumers back in London would have thought of all this.
A little over twenty years ago I worked in a market pub in Clerkenwell, London. The Pub was a place where the Italian meat cutters from the nearby Smithfield market would stop off on their way home from an overnight shift in the market. The pubs around Smithfield opened at six in the morning to catch this trade. The meat cutters would order hot, strong very dark espresso coffee to which they would then add some lemon or orange peal and a good shot of either sambucca or grappa. They smoked toasted tobacco as they unwrapped their cheeses and breads filling the bar with shouts of "altro caffe" . The very thought of these men sitting in their blood drenched clothes and stuffing cheese into their mouths and swallowing vasts amounts of coffee and grappa still terrifies me to this day.

Chris the Barfly's notes: THIS IS MY KIND OF ICED COFFEE!!!
Sure, this is straight vodka, but an incredibly smooth and tasty beverage that is accessible enough to be appreciated immediately. The Vanilla vodka is so subtle and background that it is barely noticeable but really helps to maintain the purity and flavor of an espresso, (as opposed to a coffee-flavored drink,) while adding just a touch of sweetness.

Unanimously "upthumbed" by my research partner, (and sister,) Kerry, and gobbled back with gusto!

Possible the perfect 'Friday Nighter.' Done with work, a long week behind you. You want a damn good drink, but you don't want one that will remind you of how tired you are...

This is the one. Trust me.

Svedka Vodka Homepage

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The East Side Press

During a recent "staff meeting," it was noticed that our running poll, (those blue bars mid-way down the left side of the blog; Little more... There it is!) reflected a popularity in Brandy! In fact, Brandy ranked in second place, tied with vodka! And yet, The Greatest Drink In The World... This Week has no brandy drinks in its repertoire! This must be rectified!

Here then, now, to remedy this injustice is this weeks Greatest Drink: The East Side Press.

The Recipe:

While chilling a large martini glass, into a cocktail shaker full of ice, add:

- The juice of 1/4 of a large lemon,

- a 3 count of Cognac,

- a 2 count of Canton Ginger Liqueur,

- a teaspoon of brown sugar,

- a teaspoon of egg white,

- 4 drops of Angostura Bitters,

- Shake fervently!

- Strain into the now-chilled martini glass,

- Garnish with a large slice of fresh, juicy, orange.

Bartenders Notes: In searching for the perfect brandy-based cocktail for this week’s “Greatest Drink,” I was reminded of a regular patron from not too long ago.

It was every Friday evening, one of my favorite costumers would come into the bar; we’ll just call her, “Diva.” She’d arrive clad in faux-leopard skin or some other equally flamboyant attire, sparkling with diamonds and dripping with gold, and perch herself at her regularly reserved bar stool.

"Something delicious, Joey," she’d say, with a flirtatious little smirk and a little wave of her fingers. She’d voice nothing in particular as to what the ingredients she wanted, but always preferred a drink that's color matched her chosen outfit of the evening.

I had a special repertoire of drinks put aside just for her visits and it was from this selection that I first presented her with the East Side Press by Xavier Herit. With its rich ingredients of cognac and Canton, I felt that it would be a suitable cocktail to present to Miss Diva.

I recall the first time her well-manicured hands raised the glass to her lips and the response she gave after tasting it: “Oooh, Joey!

Even the strongest man’s knees would have quivered.

The schoolboy smile of pride was still warm on my face as the first of a chorus of "I'll have one of those, please," came from her envious and/or curious co-patrons.

Diva never did ask for the East Side Press by name, but, (and maybe this is just my imagination, but,) she did seem to be dressed more frequently in colors that matched it.

Chris' Notes: Upon first tasting, one notices that this is a strong cocktail, (in fact, research partner this week, my wife, Cheryl, felt it a little too strong for her less-seasoned palette.)

Yes, this drink is very strong, but also very sweet, (Hey! Just like me!) In fact, the strength and the sweetness of this cocktail are in such well-balanced proportion that they seem to meet, like destiny-bound lovers in a special place; a placed talked of only in fairy tales and legends...

I'm sorry. I digress.

As I was saying, the warmth of the brandy mixes really nicely with the sweet ginger and brown sugar, (and don't underestimate the influence of that slice of orange, either!) and the result is a great, delicately complex, and uncommon dessert/after dinner cocktail.

Enjoy & Cheers, Chris

Domaine de Canton Home Page