Posts tagged ‘Chef Jose Garces’

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


  • 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


  • 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.


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!

December 20, 2012

Tinto & Jim’s in Philly


We enjoyed a relaxing last-minute overnight in Philadelphia last weekend. I love living in Bucks County, PA. We live less than an hour from Center City Philly and less than 90 minutes from NYC. Fantastic! In need of a little getaway, we stayed at the Hotel Sofitel on 17th Street. The Sofitel is always a pleasure. Great service, friendly staff and the rooms are really nice. The room was a bargain at $156 for the night. The best rate we could find in New York for the same night in a comparable hotel was over $300. The Sofitel is located in Rittenhouse Square, so you can walk to lots of shops and restaurants.

Saturday night dinner at Tinto, a Chef Jose Garces restaurant, was excellent. This is our favorite kind of eating, small plates. I’d always prefer to eat a little bit of everything, rather than just one entrée.  Tinto’s menu offers delicious Spanish cuisine from the Basque Country. We shared at least 8 dishes (I lost count), heavy on the meat. Alan couldn’t resist ordering the Jambón Imbérico. This is the fancy ham… kind of like a Spanish version of prosciutto. We were told by our server that the pigs are fed a diet of acorns and the meat is cured for more than 2 years. The market price for Imbérico was $35.00. It was our splurge and well worth it.

We also ordered the mixed cheese plate that included two of my favorites, Petit Basque and Manchego. There was a decadent rice dish with white asparagus and manchego, lamb skewers with bacon and sherry, a canapé of duck confit with serrano ham and cherry, and the two small plates below. It might seem like a lot of food, but it was perfect. I loved tasting all the flavors, like a trip through Spain.

Albóndigos served with a poached egg…

Tinto's Albondigas

My favorite of the night, a canapé with berkshire pork belly, honey lacquer and shaved apples…

Tinto's Pork Belly Canape


Chef Garces owns several well-regarded restaurants around Philly. Next door to Tinto is Village Whiskey, also owned by Garces. We were told they have the best burger in town. We’ll have to try that next time.


What would a trip to Philly be without a cheese steak? Sunday lunch at Jim’s Steaks on South Street was in order. After trying most of the well-known cheese steak joints in the city, we’ve decided Jim’s is our favorite. People from the Philadelphia area take their cheese steaks very seriously. If someone has a different opinion, I’d love to hear it. We were trying to figure out why the cheese steaks in Philly are so much better than anywhere else in the country. Alan has even had one at a place in Los Angeles that is owned by a guy from Philadelphia, but they’re just not the same. If you know the secret, please share.


It warrants mentioning that in my humble opinion a proper Philly cheese steak should have “whiz,” not provolone or American cheese, and fried onions. That’s it!


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