Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pickleback Redux - Beets!

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

I've loved beets ever since I was a kid - especially when pickled in cider vinegar with loads of cinnamon and cloves.  I used to eat them straight out of the jar as a midnight snack.  I was always hypnotically transfixed by the vibrant magenta hue of beets - something I continue to find to be mesmerizing.  

I also have a bit of a Kombucha obsession - and when I purchased the new Beet Health-Ade Kombucha I was impressed that they were able to retain the vibrancy of the beets.  So, naturally I wanted to make it into a cocktail!

I instantly thought of a pickleback - a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice.  The kombucha has a slight vinegary taste to it, so it's an honorable substitution. 

The Beet Pickleback can be done in two ways. 

Option 1 - Shot of White Whiskey (I used Jim Beam Ghost - a filtered bourbon) followed by a shot of Beet Kombucha.

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Option 2 - A Beet Pickleback Cocktail made with White Whiskey, Beet Kombucha, Simple Syrup, an Applewood Smoked Salt Rim, and Garnished with Pink Peppercorns and a Quick Pickled Beet Slice.

I'll take the latter, thank you very much.

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

It's a bit like a briny bloody mary, but with more sweetness thanks to the beets and the corn in the bourbon.  The smoked salt rim makes this cocktail extra savory, and adds a wonderful smoked aroma to the cocktail.  The pink peppercorn adds just a touch of spiciness with a subtle floral flavor, and the peppercorns look mighty pretty floating in this deceptive pink drink.  This is an awesomely surprising cocktail.  In the words of Taylor Swift:  "This.  Sick.  Beet."

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Beet Pickleback Cocktail
Created by Gastronomista

1 oz Jim Beam Ghost
2 oz Beet Kombucha
1/2 oz 1:1 Simple Syrup

Applewood Smoked Salt for Garnish
Pink Peppercorns for Garnish

Swipe rim of glass with fresh lemon juice, and rim glass with Applewood Smoked Salt.  In a mixing glass, stir White Whiskey, Beet Kombucha, and Simple Syrup with Ice for 30 seconds, and strain into the cocktail coupe.  Garnish with a Quick Pickled Beet Slice.

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Quick Pickled Beets

Slice Beets into Thin Slices.  Place in a bowl with 1/2 Cup White Vinegar, 1/2 Tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes, and then strain.  Add peppercorns, sugar, or salt to taste. 

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Gastronomista Beet Pickleback

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anthony Bourdain Interview - Craft and The Virtues of Doing Things the Hard, Slow Way

Anthony Bourdain - Photo by Brent Herrig
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Bourdain to discuss his latest project, the short film series Raw Craft and his role as lead juror for the American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Awards. In partnership with The Balvenie, the Awards events were held over a lovely lunch hosted at New York’s Le Bernardin, and honored the four finalists with clips from the series of each of the artists and their work. The series takes the viewer into the workshops of artisans and craftspeople making beautiful, quality objects that are reminiscent of another era. Instead of close ups of flaming grills, food markets, and seafood towers, the films feature shots of red hot steel, metal grinders, and details of intricate stitching.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Green Beast Pipette

As my most loyal readers know, I have an ongoing obsession with beautiful glassware.  So, when I saw an Absinthe Pipe for the first time, I pretty much lost my proverbial sh*t.

Absinthe Pipes are by no means a vintage re-creation, have no historical ties, nor dusty stories of notable authors sitting around Parisian cafes drinking absinthe in a glass pipe.  They have likely come to market in the last 20-25 years or so in Prague, a novelty item to increase the fetishization of absinthe.  Which, I'm ok with.

Most people serve the pipe filled with crushed ice and the absinthe poured on top, instead letting ice water slowly drip into a glass of absinthe.  There are some pipes that are shaped to hold the ice and the sugar in separate glass bubbles, which makes it all seem somehow more exotic.  Some light the absinthe on fire in the pipe, and then quickly drink it (although this seems like a sure way to lose one's eyebrows, so I will be staying away from this method as I quite like my eyebrows).

I prepared one of my favorite cocktails to make in the pipette, The Green Beast.  It's such a simple cocktail, great to make for single servings (especially in a glass pipe) or to prepare as a punch for parties.


The Green Beast

1 oz Pernod Absinthe (Original Recipe)
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz 1:1 Simple Syrup
4 oz Water

Shake with Ice and Strain into the Pipette.  Garnish with a Cucumber Ribbon.


Styling Notes
Glass Pipe - Courtesy of Pernod-Ricard
Pewter Tray - Vagabond House

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Isfahan Rose - A Cocktail Inspired by Middle Eastern Desserts

In 2002 I traveled to Iran when I was studying with the Architectural Association of London.  It was a life-changing trip.  It was a miracle that I was even able to go given the political climate, but my professors at the AA were relentless (and thrived on the joy of taking an American to the "Axis of Evil").  Iran was everything but evil.  In the streets the people were incredibly kind, generous, and had only curiosity about me, the only American on the trip.  

Photo by Tim den Dekker
The architecture was devastatingly beautiful, the mosques overwhelming and humbling, and the food brought me to my knees.  I still vividly remember some of the gorgeous meals we had - traditional stews with layers of meat, rice, fresh herbs and loads of saffron, the dried figs purchased for a few dollars from street vendors, the smells of spices in the bazaars, and fresh cheese sandwiches with nuts and honey that we ate on the side of the dusty highway as we made our way across the country.  The traditional sweet, Gaz quickly became an obsession. The nougat candy made with rosewater and pistachios that was soft, creamy, and will forever remind me of that magical trip to Iran.

Photo via Wikipedia
When I was developing this cocktail I was first thinking about Turkish Delight, the jelly sweet with rose water and pistachios.  I have always loved Turkish Delight - my grandmother used to send boxes of it to us for the Holidays.  I always found it to be so exotic - the powdered sugar, the sweet jelly-like sweets that contrasted with the nuts hidden inside.

I wanted this cocktail to have a creamy softness to it - to be almost like a cloud.  After I made it, I realized that it was not Turkish Delight inspired as I had hoped, but instead inspired by the nougat Gaz that I fell in love with so many years ago.  It is soft and subtle with the pistachio and the rosewater evident from the first sip.  My favorite part is finale - the candied pistachios sink to the bottom and are a delicious treat at the end of the drink.

This cocktail has since brought back a flood of memories of that amazing trip and the incredible young architects I traveled with.  I hope that one day I will be able to return to Iran and once again, bask in its beauty.

The Isfahan Rose
Created by Gastronomista

1 Egg White
1-1/2 oz Gin (I used Martin Miller's Gin)
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Pistachio Orgeat (recipe below)
1/4 oz Creme or Half & Half
3 Drops Rose Water
1 oz Seltzer

Combine Egg White, Gin, Lemon Juice, Orgeat, Creme, and Rose Water in a Boston Shaker and shake for about 30 seconds.  Open and add ice.  Shake for another 30 seconds.  Strain into a cocktail coupe and top with seltzer water (I used Fever Tree Spring Club Soda).  Garnish with a few rose petals and candied pistachios.

 Pistachio Orgeat
Adapted from Cider & Rye

1/2 Pound Shelled Pistachios
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1-1/2 cups water

Crush Pistachios either in a food processor or place in a bag and crush with a hammer.  Add to a small pot and simmer with sugar and water.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, and let cool.

Transfer cooled mixture into a non-reactive container such as a glass jar and let sit overnight.

The next day, set up a strainer over a large bowl with cheesecloth large enough to contain all the pistachios.  Place mixture into the strainer with the cheesecloth and let strain into the bowl below.  When enough of the syrup has strained out, use the cheesecloth to press more syrup out of the nuts.

Transfer syrup into a small bottle.

Place the remaining nuts on a baking tray with tin foil and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes on 350.  Use the candied pistachios for the garnish, but they are also delicious over yogurt or for snacking!

The resulting syrup is gorgeous - pure pistachio.

Pistachio Orgeat


Styling Notes
Silver Plate - Vintage
Bottle Opener - Vintage
Cocktail Coupes - Waterford Elegance Collection 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Negroni After - From Nowness

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Lovers of the Negroni -  THIS is a cocktail video.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

SodaStream Play - Giveaway!

Did you know that SodaStream users drink 43% more water!?!  (Um, this is totally what I need to get my hydration plan back on schedule).  Well good news, today I'm giving away a Soda Stream Play!  For YOU! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

White Pike Cardamom Old Fashioned

I've had a longstanding obsession with White Pike Whiskey for a while.  You can read me wax on about how much I love the bottle and the brand here, but today I'm craving a drink

I love the sweetness of White Pike that comes from the corn, and that smoky tobacco flavor that comes from the spelt and the malted wheat.  I was inspired to make a white whiskey old fashioned, something clean, simple, and easy to make.

I chose Cardamom Bitters for the old fashioned because I thought the bright, grassy, herbal flavor would work well with the sweetness of the corn whiskey, and I was right.  Stirred with a bit of simple syrup, this cocktail is creamy but crisp, and almost tastes like a middle eastern pastry.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


White Pike Cardamom Old Fashioned
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz White Pike
1/4 oz 1:1 Simple Syrup
4 dashes Cardamom Bitters

Lemon Peel and Whole Cardamom Pods to Garnish.

Stir with ice and strain into a low ball glass with a large ice cube.  Top with a few Cardamom Pods, express a lemon peel on the surface of the drink, twist, and serve.


2 VIP Whisky Live NYC Tickets - Giveaway - CLOSED

Calling all NYC Whisky Lovers!  Love whisky?  Want to try ALL THE WHISKY?!?!

Good news!

I have 2 VIP Tickets to Whisky Live NYC, next week February 25th for two lucky winners!

: : : THE GIVEAWAY : : :

$149 Value

Wednesday, February 25th  5:30 - 10pm

The admission ticket is all inclusive, and includes a souvenir Glencairn tasting glass, event program, full dinner buffet, live entertainment and access to the whisky sampling event.

Buffet on offer from 6pm to 9pm.

: : : HOW TO ENTER : : :

Leave a comment on THIS POST naming 10 of the participating brands.  HINT>>

*Extra entry* Re-Gram with the hashtag #GastroWhiskyLiveNYCGiveaway 

*Extra entry* Tweet and Tag #GastroNespressoGiveaway 

Giveaway closes Tuesday February 24th 10am EST. Winner will be selected randomly and will be emailed that day.

Thank you for Whisky Live for sponsoring this giveaway and GOOD LUCK! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Common's Advice for Up-and-Coming Creative Talent at the Tanqueray Trunk Show

Photo Courtesy of Team Epiphany
New York City is deep in the throes of Fashion Week - designers are hustling to put the finishing touches on their collections, fashion bloggers darting from one presentation to the next, and the clinking of cocktail glasses can be heard in copious parties spread across town. 

This year, the iconic gin brand Tanqueray has taken an innovative approach to Fashion Week events and has launched the Tanqueray Trunk Show.  A series of events focusing on mentorship to inspire and motivate up-and-coming talent in design and fashion. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bacardí Triangle - 3 Rummy Days

It may be frigid and icy here in NYC, but today I'm reminiscing on a recent trip to Puerto Rico for the Bacardí Triangle.  At the end of October, I was invited to what was to be a massive 3 day party celebrating all things rum and electronic dance music with pool parties, endless cocktails, and a concert on a private island.  It did not take much convincing.  I was in. 

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