Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Going Out All Dolled Up...

Before I get into this weeks' cocktailian post, I want to take a moment to get all sentimental on you. As I briefly mentioned in my most recent article, I've noticed something of a (massive) spike in visitor traffic to the humble little blog you now find yourself reading. That so many of you from such wide and varied locales consider my ramblings worth your time is really inspiring, so thank you kindly for stopping by. Similar thanks to the wonderful online communities of cocktailian writers, bloggers and foodies for their generous advice, encouragement, linkage & overall good-will...

Among these wonderful groups is the shiny-new foodie community Foodbuzz.com, which has just recently gone live & whose lovely badge you may have noticed gracing my site. Simply put, it is a veritable hub of inspirational activity - with featured publishers and contributing members churning out brilliant articles and recipes in just about every conceivable area of food & drink. For the official press release & explanation of what Foodbuzz is about, check here. Alternately you can just get a (visually-stunning) glance at some of their finest contributors with their inaugural 24, 24, 24 video. Barring those, just leap right into the fray with a visit to the main site...

Similarly, a huge thanks to our friends at Liqurious.com (formerly the well-missed Tastespotting.com) for showcasing photos of not only my, but dozens of my favorite bloggers' drinks! Especial thanks to the mysterious individual ( ? ) who keeps adding me to the queue there!

A final thanks to Gabriel from Cocktailnerd.com and Rick of Kaiserpenguin.com for their tireless work in establishing the Mixoloseum - a fantastic chat forum where cocktailians from all over might gather to discuss our favorite mixological projects & plans in authentic "nineties-style". This friendly forum (home of the fantastically-entertaining weekly TDN) also plays host to themed panel discussions, often visited by venerable names in the mixological multiverse, where it is a truly-inspirational venue. This was certainly the case during the most recent panel on garnishing cocktails:

Led by Tiare of A Mountain of Crushed Ice & Rick, with a gracious (& insightful) appearance by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry of Exotic/Tiki-drink fame, this discussion was a showcase of some of the most beautiful (& functional) examples of garnish I've ever seen, paired with historical information on the topic by the 'Bum and lots of banter on how to accomplish such artistry at home. As a fitting conclusion to this panel, Tiare has proposed a Garnish Contest open to all. So, as a conclusion to my (not-so-brief) lapse into thankful sentimentality, here are my entries - delicious cocktails both - which showcase the effects a particular garnish can have on a libation's enjoyment (©):

Blood & Brandy
1½ oz. VSOP Brandy (Raynal)
½ oz. Rhum Agricole Blanc (La Favorite)
1 Teaspoon: Campari
1 oz. fresh Blood Orange juice
1 oz. Simple syrup
1x fresh Egg white
2 dashes: Peychaud's bitters
Combine ingredients, except bitters, in a mixing glass and dry shake to incorporate & emulsify. Add ice and shake well before straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Dash bitters on top of foam & swirl into a pattern with a toothpick before adding a flamed twist of Blood Orange.

Sudanese Rose
1½ oz. Rhum Agricole Blanc (La Favorite)
½ oz. Lillet Blonde
2 oz. Karkade (Hibiscus tisane, Jaimaica also works fine)
3-4 dashes: Hibiscus Grenadine
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass & stir well with plenty of ice. Strain into a double-rocks glass, half-filled with ice. Garnish with a twist of Lime, sprig of fresh Peppermint & an organic Rose petal.

Both cocktails make visually-appealing (IMHO) use of aromatic garnishes - ones which contribute primarily to the olfactory aspects of the libations in question. The Peychaud's used in the Blood & Brandy sits delicately atop the foam created by the egg white, while the flamed Blood Orange peel adds both flavor & aroma to said foam (and through it, the liquid slumbering beneath). As the Sudanese Rose is a composition in subtle floral & botanical flavors, the addition of the acidic citrus oil provides a nice contrasting element to these tastes - helping to keep them in line, as it were. The aromas of the peppermint and rose provide a refreshing olfactory experience to match & enhance the tart flavors of the Hibiscus tisane in the cocktail. Neither beverage, like so many other (equally dolled-up) libations would be even remotely the same, were they to go out sans garnish...
Cheers & Thanks again!

5 comments:

Tiare said...

Great post Chris! you said it all.

And thanks for the 2 very beautiful entries! would you please go to my blog and add these in the comments of the:

"GARNISH SESSION, COCKTAIL GARNISH CONTEST AND TDN AT MIXOLOSEUM" post?

Cheers!

Tiare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Guilty as charged!

Thanks for the shout-out, and glad you're liking Liqurious. One little clarification: TasteSpotting -used- to be one of our sister sites, but now they're separately owned and operated. Liqurious is still part of NOTCOT, which was the original home of TS. (Confused yet?)

And if you want to submit your own stuff, please feel free. It's pretty easy, but drop me a note if you need a mini-tutorial.

Kaiser Penguin said...

Thanks for the love Chris! Delightful cocktails you have there as well!

Chris "Rookie" Stanley said...

Tiare - Thanks very much & all set in the comments! Thank you also for running such a fantastic TDN Panel!

Anita - Thank you so much for putting me up at Liqurious time & time again. Slightly confusing, but I think I get it. As for putting my own entries up, unless you'd like me to, I'd almost rather an independent person of good taste (such as yourself) did it - I'd rather have that sort of impartial perspective.

Rick - No worries mate; TDN is always a riot and even just popping in at the Mixoloseum is always nice. It really allows for this little community to grow & for all of us to get to talk real-time about this wonderful hobby of ours (among other things)...
I know you and Gabe (and Tiare & everybody else) have been working so hard on it, and that work is appreciated quite a bit.