Thursday, October 5, 2017

Where There Is Smoke There is Fire, A Champagne Story

I have been thinking about color lately, how we perceive color not only with our eyes, but with other senses as well.  Many super tasters describe flavors in colors, in textures, or in other contextual analogies - all of which are descriptions that help our brains understand the experience of tasting and imbibing. 

What if we challenged ourselves to taste in hyper-environment - an immersive environment designed to accentuate the flavors of a liquid?  Would this hyper-environment influence the way we taste?  Could it increase our pleasure and enjoyment? 


If we think about flavor as a color, we can then visualize or illustrate those layers of flavor through saturation of hue and the transparency of those hues.  I wanted these images to portray this idea of layering - the layering of flavor, the layering of color.

I collaborated with Victoria Wright for this shoot - an incredibly talented photographer who beautifully captures a dreamy feeling of calm and serenity into all of her photos.  She was, as always, a pleasure to collaborate with.  We took to the desert with a case of champagne and a box of smoke bombs to explore these ideas of color, layers, and ultimately, flavor. 

We partnered with the prestigious champagne house, G.H. Mumm Champagne, a house founded in 1827 known for their exquisite cuvee.  Each cocktail is starts with the idea of a simple champagne cocktail made with homemade syrups of exotic flavors saturated colors.  Mumm is a perfect champagne to use in cocktails because it mixes well, its flavors jive well with the bright, fresh flavors in all of these cocktails.

I hope you enjoy this series as much as we enjoyed making it. 




Green

1 oz Kiwi Syrup
4 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne








Blue

1 Sugar Cube
4 dashes Angostura
10 Blue Butterfly Tea Flowers, Whole
4 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne



Purple

2 oz Gin
1/4 oz Crème de Violette
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne






Red

1 oz Prickly Pear Syrup
4 oz G.H. Mumm Champagn







Yellow

1-1/2 oz Pineapple Puree
1-1/2 oz Blended Rum
3/4 oz Lime
3/4 oz Mint Simple Syrup
3 oz G.H. Mumm Champagne





Photography: Victoria Wright
Creative Direction: Emily Arden Wells, Gastronomsita
Glassware: Waterford Mixology Coupes, Viski Raye Glasses, Lehmann Glass Jamesse Prestige Grand Champagne
Champagne:  G.H. Mumm Champagne
Nails: Base Coat, Denver
Yellow & Red Dress: Asos
Sunnies: Karen Walker


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Friday, September 15, 2017

The Perfect Gibson


Gibsons can be divisive.  You either love them, or you hate them. 

Fortunately for those who have maybe had a bad Gibson or two, there is a way to improve this cocktail, making it eternally enjoyable. 

First of all, be selective with your gin.  In my personal opinion, Gibsons are best when made with an herbaceous gin such as Monkey 47.  Monkey 47 is made from 47 botanicals, and has dominant flavors of wood, dried citrus, spice, and fresh aromas reminiscent of the forest after a heavy rain. 

A perfect Gibson is made with just a touch of Dry Vermouth, and a beautiful, pickled pearl onion.  Make sure you have a quality dry vermouth on hand, one that is not terribly opinionated such as Dolin Dry. 


In my opinion, the best cocktail onions are made by Filthy, and fortunately for lovers of Gibsons and Monkey 47 alike, they made a limited edition release of Monkey 47 Filthy Onions made with the same botanicals as the gin itself.  These onions are sweet, briny, and complex and are a perfect treat at the end of the drink. 


I have no idea how to get these onions in the real world, but I've asked the twitterverse, so let me get back to you on that one. 

The Perfect Monkey 47 Gibson Martini

3 oz Monkey 47 Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 Filthy Monkey 47 Pearl Onion

Stir gin & vermouth with ice in a mixing glass until chilled.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a pearl onion and a stylish cocktail pick.

Enjoy!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Watermelon Frozé


Yeah, yeah, yeah, the heat has broken and we are moving from the dog days of summer and into fall.  I hear you.  I'm going to keep drinking Watermelon Frozé anyway.  (And I know you want some, too). 

This recipe is extremely easy, and is wonderful when you serve it in those cute little mini watermelons.  Seriously, there is nothing I love more than drinking boozy beverages out of fruit vessels.  Nothing.


But I digress.  The trick to froze greatness is selecting a fruit-forward rosé - one with a darker color (and a lower price point).  After all, each rosé has its place in the world: some deserve a place in a wine glass un-tainted by fruit and additional booze, and some deserve a place in a blender with sugar, mint, and frozen watermelon. 


The day before, open that bottle of $9 rosé (seriously, don't spend more than that) and pour it into a large vessel such as a pie dish or a casserole dish and stick it in the freezer.  Carefully, cut the tops off of your mini watermelons, and scoop out the fruit making sure not to puncture the watermelon rind.  Place the fruit in a bowl and freeze overnight.


Day of, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend with ice.  Garnish with fresh orchids and a sprig of fresh mint! 


Cheers!


Watermelon Frozé

1 750ml Bottle of Rosé, Frozen Overnight
2 Mini Watermelons, Fruit Removed and Frozen Overnight
1 Cup Mint Simple Syurp
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

Add frozen rosé, frozen watermelon, simple syrup and lemon juice to a blender.  Add ice and blend until smooth.  Pour into carved out mini watermelons, and garnish with a fresh orchid and a sprig of mint. 


Mint Simple Syrup

1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Fresh Mint

Add water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.  Add mint and let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Remove mint, and let cool.


Also - big thanks to Imbibe Magazine for featuring my Watermelon Frozé photo in their summer #imbibegram round up! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Gooseberry Fitty Fitty Martini


One of the best surprises I had this summer was realizing we have gooseberries growing in our new front yard (did I tell you we left New York?  We left New York).  By late summer they were a dark red color, and bright and tangy to eat.  I have made a few things with them this summer, but my favorite is this Gooseberry Fitty Fitty Martini.

This cocktail was inspired by the vermouth service at New York's Caffe Dante, where they pour chilled vermouth over frozen grapes as to not let the vermouth dilute while you enjoy the drink.  In my opinion, Martinis deserve the same attention to temperature - they need to remain consistently cold, but with out dilution, and certainly without a "cocktail stone" that will be sure to break that vintage crystal coupe.


I put the gooseberries in the freezer, and tested a few martini options with the frozen gooseberries at the bottom of the glass.  My hands down favorite combination for this cocktail is half vodka and half Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth made from a white wine base and infused with fennel, coriander, cardamom, elderflower, cherry, anise, and chamomile. 



Both of the Lo-Fi vermouths, sweet and dry, are really incredible - I cannot recommend them enough.  They are fantastic poured over a king cube or stirred into a simple cocktail (I say simple because you want to let these vermouths show off a bit).  For this cocktail I used Purus Vodka, a clean tasting Italian vodka made from organic grains and water sourced from the Italian Alps.  This particular vodka works well in this cocktail because it lets the vermouth play the lead role. 

This cocktail has quickly become one of our new house favorites - and is worth spending hours harvesting those sweet little gooseberries when they become full and ripe.  I have a Tupperware container full of the little berries stashed in the freezer with hopes of rationing them through the winter. 



I imagine this cocktail could be easily re-created using fresh currants or small gooseberries found in the market - just pop in them in the freezer the night before you plan to imbibe. 

Gooseberry Fitty Fitty Martini
Created by Gastronomista

1.5 oz Purus Vodka
1.5 oz Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth
1/4 cup Frozen Gooseberries

Place frozen gooseberries in the bottom of a coupe, and set aside.  In a mixing glass, stir the vodka and vermouth with ice until chilled, and strain into the coupe over the gooseberries. 

Enjoy!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Coconuts for Coconuts (And Rum)


In my opinion, one of life's simple joys is a fresh coconut with a splash of blended rum, especially when sitting on a beach with your toes in the waves. 

But, sometimes we can't get to the beach, so why not bring the beach to you?!? 


Fortunately, most grocery stores carry young coconuts (at least once in a while), so it's easy to bring home the tropics and enjoy one of the planet's simplest & tastiest tiki cocktials. 


Here's how to do it:

Bang through the top of the coconut using a King Coco Coconut mallet, peel back the top of the coconut, drink an ounce or two of the coconut water, add rum. 

Easy!

I really enjoy a rummy coconut with Appleton Reserve Signature Reserve Rum, although feel free to experiment with your favorite rums, I'm sure there are a lot of other delicious combinations! 

Don't forget to garnish your coconut, it might be a simple cocktail, but it deserves a fresh orchid or two.  Because, #TikiVibes.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cherry Blackberry Port Wine Popsicles


My favorite part of summer is always the end – when the days are starting to cool off a bit and the air has a bit of magic in it.  The market is always filled with ripe fruit, namely those deep crimson summer berries that come into season in August. 

The end of August may mean the summer to some, but to me it always means that there is another month of gorgeous weather and plenty of time to enjoy the sun.  What better for sunny days than popsicles?  Especially when made with those perfectly ripe berries, port wine, and a touch of coconut milk for an extra summery taste.  For these pops I used Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Porto, a classic port that has bright and fresh flavors that work especially well with bing cherries.



These boozy pops will be a perfect summery treat for your Labor Day picnic, a delightfully sweet finish to a delicious holiday weekend. 



Cherry Blackberry Sandeman Popsicles
Created by Gastronomista

½ Cup Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port
1 Cup Fresh Cherries
1 Cup Blackberries
¼ Cup Water
¼ Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
½ Cup Coconut Milk

Pit and half cherries, and reserve ¼ cup.  Slice blackberries in half, and reserve ¼ cup.  In a sauce pan, simmer ¾ cup cherries, ¾ cup blackberries, sugar, water, and lime juice until cooked.  Let chill.  Blend until smooth and add Port. 

For popsicle assembly: pour coconut milk into the bottom of the popsicle molds.  Add 3-4 pieces of cherries and blackberries per popsicle, and top with port and berry mixture.  Add popsicle sticks and place in the freezer overnight. 





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