Listen up, Negroni lovers. The other night I was with my parents at Hinoki and the Bird and, on the Negroni section of their drink menu, I spied a drink called The Kingston Negroni. The bartender heartily recommended it and so I gave my nod of approval. “Let’s do this thing,” I said, but not really, I didn’t really say that.
But this drink. This drink! It is so good. It’s a riff on a Negroni, not nearly as bitter, but just as bracing. The best part is you can easily recreate it at home with three ingredients: Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Gran Classico (a bitter Italian apertif similar to Campari), and Carpano sweet vermouth. Combine them in equal parts, serve over ice, and add some orange peel. Suddenly you’ll be whisked away to Jamaica by way of Italy and your dinner guests will be dazzled at your drink-making prowess. But really all you did was shop for unique liquors and then stir them together. Be careful, though…one too many of these and you may actually wake up in Jamaica.
Looking for a refreshing summer drink? Try this one on for size. On Sunday night, we went over to our friends Mark and Diana’s and they served up a delightful twist on the Pimm’s Cup, a cocktail called The Porch Swing which they learned from Blue Smoke in New York (the restaurant that also catered their wedding). What’s nice about it is it’s not too sweet, it’s not too alcoholic, it’s not too bubbly, but it’s very satisfying on a hot day. Here’s how you make it.
Yes, I made this smoothie. I didn’t really use a recipe; though, if you shuffle through the contents of my brain, you’ll probably realize I memorized a recipe out of Mad Hungry that I blogged about once here. The key to it all is: instead of using ice? You use frozen berries. And the rest sort of happens willy-nilly.
When I heard that Doug and Bryan of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop were making a Thin Mint Milkshake, a part of me thought: “Whoah, I wonder how they make that?” I also thought: “I wish I lived in New York still so I could taste that.”
Then, the other day, after Craig and I took a hike in Bronson Canyon, we stopped into Gelson’s (our local grocery store) to pick up a few things and encountered a Girl Scout standing outside.
Cocktail-wise, Craig–who’s now our official bartender–has two drinks up his sleeve. The first, a Sidecar, I wrote about a few weeks ago. Now he has a new one, perfect for these chilly-weather months: a Manhattan.
My planned Christmas gift for Craig this year was a copy of The P.D.T. Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall, based on the drinks at P.D.T. (Please Don’t Tell) in New York which was just named the best bar in the world by Drinks International. It’s a bar that’s hidden inside a hot dog restaurant; to get there you have to go through a telephone booth. Any time that I ever tried to go there, I was always turned away and told to make a reservation next time. But I’m not bitter over bitters. As things worked out, I was sent a press copy of The P.D.T. book last week and even though I could’ve saved it to give Craig on December 24th (or is it the 25th that you give gifts? This Jew doesn’t understand Christmas) I decided to give it to him now. And Craig, who’s often aspired to building up our bar and making drinks for our dinner parties, couldn’t have been more delighted.
You can taste great food in your head long after you first experience it. That’s the case for me and the rhubarb cocktail I drank at Franny’s in 2009. Most rhubarb drinks have a cooked quality to them; the rhubarb is generally poached in a sugar syrup. The Franny’s rhubarb drink (which, apparently, is made with Aperol) is nothing like that. The rhubarb flavor (which comes from juicing rhubarb raw) is intense and sharp and the cocktail, as a whole, is incredibly bracing. It’s the kind of drink that makes you sit up in your seat, alert and ready for dinner.
The best drink I’ve drunk in recent memory was the basil lime daiquiri I drank at ABC Kitchen, Jean-George’s highly praised farm-to-table restaurant attached to ABC Carpet. The drink positively glowed with its fluorescent green color and intense basil-y aroma. Here, let me show you a picture….