Archive for July, 2013

July 29, 2013

The Village Whiskey Sazerac

Village Whiskey Sazerac

I’ve discovered a new favorite cocktail, the Sazerac from  Village Whiskey, a Jose Garces restaurant, with locations in Philly and The Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Created long ago in New Orleans, a basic Sazerac includes rye whiskey, 2 kinds of bitters, simple syrup (or crushed sugar cube & water) and a twist of lemon. A double old-fashioned glass is rinsed with absinthe, and then the cocktail is strained into the glass and served neat. I’ve been told whiskey should be stirred not shaken, the opposite of the James Bond martini. Here’s a little history, compliments of Esquire magazine if you’re interested.

What makes the Village Whiskey version outstanding is their orange and vanilla infused rye whiskey. Smooth and just a little sweet, this is a sipping drink, not to be thrown back like shots or enjoyed through a straw like other fruity cocktails. This is an old-fashioned whiskey cocktail meant to be savored like a good scotch.

When I was at the restaurant, I asked to speak with the bartender hoping to learn how to make a Sazerac at home. She was happy to share their secret. After visiting 2 liquor stores and placing a special order for the Peychaud’s bitters, I had everything needed. I gathered from the bartender that brand mattered, so I stuck to their specific instructions.

Don’t be turned off by the need to infuse your whiskey.  It’s super easy and when done, you’ll have it for a long time to enjoy. Kinda makes you feel like a mixologist.

Village Whiskey Sazerac

INGREDIENTS TO INFUSE THE WHISKEY

  • 1 bottle Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • 1 large navel orange, peeled in strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 decanter or decorative bottle

Slip the strips of orange peel directly into the bottle of whiskey. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the pod into the whiskey bottle. Put the lid back on the bottle and turn to distribute the orange and vanilla. Let sit for 48 hours to infuse.

Village Whiskey Sazerac

Line a funnel with a few layers of cheese cloth and place it over a decanter or other decorative bottle. Pour the infused whiskey through the funnel to strain out the orange and vanilla bean. That’s it! Store with your other liquor and enjoy.

Village Whiskey Sazerac

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE  A VILLAGE WHISKEY SAZERAC

  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz infused rye whiskey
  • Vieux Carre absinthe, to rinse the glass

Pour the first 4 ingredients over a couple of ice cubes in a glass and stir… no shaking. In a separate double old-fashioned, pour a few drops of the Vieux Carre absinthe and turn to coat the glass. Dump out any remaining. Strain the Sazerac into the glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.

HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUP

Equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It’s great to have on hand for making all kinds of drinks. I usually make a 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar ratio, it makes the perfect amount.

And there you have a Village Whiskey Sazerac. Be careful, they’re deceivingly strong. Enjoy!

July 9, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

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I was buying strawberries from the local farm daily this season. And we ate them by the quart, daily. I did nothing creative, short of mashing them up with a fork and mixing them in my morning yogurt or pouring that same concoction on top of frozen yogurt. Their juicy, sweet deliciousness was all we needed. No sugar, nothing. The plain strawberries were perfect.

Alas, strawberry season has come to a close where we live. I’m ok with that. Not because I ate my weight in strawberries, but looking at it in a more positive light, it means we’re one step closer to tomatoes and corn. And I’m happy to announce that we just had our first peaches of the season. Delicious!

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I felt obligated to muster up one creative strawberry concoction with the last of the berries, so I opted for Dave Lebovitz’s Strawberry Rhubarb sorbet. If you haven’t made sorbet, you must give it a try. It’s simple to make, and a healthier dessert choice. In the past I’ve made both mango and blackberry sorbet. Both are equally refreshing summer treats.

Adapted from Dave Lebovitz

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 lb rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 4-5 stalks)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

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Put the sliced rhubarb, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Cover and allow to simmer until the rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and bring to room temperature. If you’re impatient like me, once the bowl cools slightly, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

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Meanwhile, hull and slice your strawberries. Place them in the bowl of a food processor along with the cooled rhubarb and lemon juice. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a container or bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled completely. Emphasis on completely. I recommend making the mixture the day before you plan to make the sorbet.

Following the instructions on your ice cream machine, pour the chilled strawberry rhubarb mixture into the bowl of the machine and blend.

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If you can keep everyone from eating it right out of the machine, place it into an air-tight container in your freezer. For my next trick, I think I will be trying peach sorbet. How yummy will that be?!

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