Monthly Archives: August 2012

Run for the Roses Redux

I have a feeling that people from Kentucky will have some not-so-kind words for me after this post, because I think I’m about to completely bastardize the classic mint julep that they know and love. But I’m moving forward with reckless abandon because I’m come up with something totally delicious, and I feel as though I need to share it with the world.

First, I’m gonna get a little fancy with it. Instead of the traditional simple syrup, I came up with a mint-basil-ginger simple syrup that is pretty fantastic and probably useful in all kinds of ways. Combine this stuff with some barbecue sauce for an amazing baby back rib glaze?! I think yes. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of Arrested Development lately.

But I digress. Here’s how to get the job done:

Mint-Basil-Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup ginger soda syrup (optional)
Basil
Mint

It’s kind of up to you on how crazy you want to go with the mint and basil. I used about 12 leaves of each, but I think I’d use more next time to really amp up the mint and basil flavor. Also, the ginger syrup is optional – it’s delicious without it, but definitely adds a little flair.

First, muddle the mint and basil. Don’t skip this step, as it gets all of the oils out of the leaves and allows them to really flavor the syrup.

Next, make up your simple syrup. In case you’ve never done this before, it’s super easy – just take equal parts water and white sugar, put them in a pot over a low heat and stir until all of the sugar dissolves. Very important that the heat is low so that the sugar doesn’t burn.

Throw your muddled mint and basil in the pot over that same low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take it off the heat, allow the mixture to cool, and then pop it in the fridge in a sealed container for about 24 hours. Finally, once you’ve let it sit, filter it through a fine mesh filter (I used my French press), and you’re done!

Now that you’ve done the hard work and been patient, allowing all of the mint and basil to infuse, it’s time to make that drink! Let me state again – this is pretty far from a traditional mint julep, and I may just post a more traditional recipe soon. But it’s one of my favorite drinks I’ve made in a while, so I’m not ashamed, dammit! Anyway, here it is.

Savannah Julep
*3 parts bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve – it’s one my personal favorites)
*1 part Domain de Canton
*3 parts seltzer (I used lemon-lime seltzer, put plain should also work just fine)
*2 parts grapefruit juice (make sure it’s fancy – the crappy stuff will ruin a drink)
*1 part Mint-Basil-Ginger Simple Syrup
*Lime juice

With the lime juice, it’s kind of up to you. I used quite a bit – it really helps to balance the sweetness of the simple syrup which, while totally delicious, can overpower the drink just a bit.

That’s it! It really is excellent if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work.

So I’m outta here – but I’ll be back after the holiday weekend with some new deliciousness. I’m currently cold-brewing coffee – which is surprisingly easy – so I’ll let you guys know how that goes. But for now, see ya soon!

P.S. From time to time, I might start recommending some new music that I’m really into. Today’s current obsession is Wim. These Aussies have just come out with a new album, and I think it’s pretty fantastic. There’s definitely a little bit of Radiohead influence there, and people seem to be saying that they sound like “if Rufus Wainwright was the frontman for Grizzly Bear.” It’s a pretty fair assessment, but that’s not to say that the album isn’t original and entirely listenable. It’s also extremely varied, so it keeps you on your toes a little. Anyway, highly recommended – it’s on repeat right now and I’m not tired of it, so I assume that’s a good thing. Until next time!

Advertisements

Southern Livin’

As I perfect my mint julep recipe that will be sure to cause a wave in the cocktail community, I figured I would post a few thoughts on my move from New York to Savannah. It’s been an interesting experiment so far, so I figured I’d let you in on it. Here are a few quick and random musings:

Unemployment!
-So, for the first time in forever, I’m unemployed! It’s by choice, mostly. Everyone should try it! It’s very relaxing. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Today’s duties include a yoga class, some light yard work, installing a new rod in Bri’s closet, putting up the reed fence in our backyard and making a bunch of iced coffee for the morning. I’m a great house husband, in case anyone was wondering.

Southern Hospitality
-People talk about it all the time, I know. But it really does exist! I still can’t get over how often people say hi on the street. I’ve actually done such a 180 on the whole thing that I’m actively disappointed when people don’t say hi to me when they pass me by. It’s weird and kind of wonderful.

Car Culture
-For the first time in 14 years, I have a car! I am a completely avid supporter of alternative transportation, and totally loved living in a city where I didn’t need car to get around. So it’s with a little bit of embarrassment that I say…holy shit, I love having a car. The grocery shopping alone! Beautiful! Also, I can drive to the beach in 20 minutes. Cool.

Population
-Clearly moving from a city of 8 million people to a city of 130,000, things are gonna be a bit different. But I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying the space. Not just in my house, but less activity everywhere. It’s nice not to have to face a bazillion people on a daily basis.

Of course, not everything is perfect. Self-motivation is tough, guys! The stunning creative energy that permeates everything in New York certainly isn’t here. And goddamn, it rains a lot here. Plus…we don’t have  Trader Joe’s, which is clearly the most disappointing thing of all.

All in all, I miss the people in New York like crazy, but shockingly, I don’t miss the city. I always thought it was impossible to leave New York, but I’m living proof that you won’t immediately die if and when you do.

I’ll leave you with some photos of my before and after. Allow me to get incredibly cheesy here for a second, but I really love how beauty can come in many different forms. Thanks y’all!

Back in the Saddle

Hey y’all!

First of all, let me apologize for the very long sabbatical I’ve taken from this blog. Not that anyone REALLY cares much about this blog, but since I’ve moved down to the South, I find myself with a new found sense of hospitality, so apologies all around. Seriously, I could really get used to this whole “saying hi to random strangers on the street thing”. It’s oddly comforting. Having a 3-bedroom house with a front porch and a backyard for less money than I was paying in New York a’int too shabby either.

I’m currently honing a fancy mint julep recipe in honor of my new surroundings, which will be here soon, but for now, I’ve been working on some other beauties that I think are pretty scrumptious. Here’s one now!

Did I mention that I have a front porch? Somehow a front porch makes a cocktail taste that much better.

I call this one The Oliver Cromwell (more about that in a second).

The Oliver Cromwell

*3 parts Jameson (I know. I really enjoy making drinks with Jameson. Don’t you?!)
*1 part Domain de Canton (delicious ginger liqueur, if you haven’t tried it – great with Prosecco too!)
*3 parts seltzer (I REALLY suggest using raspberry flavored seltzer – I’m really into this in cocktails lately, and I promise it works)
*2 parts limeade (I use Simply Limeade – it’s fantastic)
*1 part Hibiscus soda syrup (check out P & H Soda Co. – they do great work and their stuff works really well in cocktails)
*1/2 part lemon juice
*1/2 part lime juice
*Few dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

It’s a great, refreshing, summer drink that definitely goes down a little too easily. And it’s pretty to look at too!

Now, about the name. Hibiscus is also known as Sorrel in Jamaica, and amazingly enough, when I was trying to come up with a name for this drink, I stumbled across a fascinating fact and some fascinating history to go along with it. Perhaps some of you are smarter than me and knew this already, but apparently the second largest ethnic group in Jamaica is people of Irish heritage. It all stems from when Oliver Cromwell captured Jamaica in the mid-1600s. He imported tens of thousands of Irish slaves from English-controlled Barbados to work in Jamaica, which is why today, you find towns with such surprising names in Jamaica as Irish Town and Belfast. I’d get more into the history, but it just kind of gets depressing – Cromwell was an asshole!

Anywho, I’m signing off for now, but hey, you got a history lesson along with a delicious new cocktail! I feel like I’ve grown as a person.

More soon! And thanks.