Some things do truly get better with age.
I was recently invited to attend the NY celebration of the 203rd birthday of the American cocktail, Yes, that’s right folks, 203 years ago, the concept of the cocktail as we love and know it was born.
The American cocktail was first dubbed as such in 1806 in a Hudson New York based publication known as “The Balance and Columbian Repository”. This publication defined the cocktail as a stimulating liquid composed of spirits, sugar, water and bitters. Taking a look at a classic cocktail, such as a Sazerac seems to fit this description being made up of Absinthe, Simple Syrup, a dash of Peychaud bitters, and rye whiskey. Ah, where would we be without the cocktail?
This celebration, hosted at the asian-influenced tri-level restaurant Pranna , located at 79 Madison Avenue brought out a some of the most talented and innovative mixologists in the country, to work their skills behind the bar.
A glimpse of a few of the masters at work.
Dale Degroff, otherwise known as the King of Cocktails. See his website at http://www.kingcocktail.com/
Dale Degroff was working on two different angles when behind the bar. He was dishing out Pernod Absinthe in the classic fashion as well as creating perfect passion cocktails.
The Perfect Passion Cocktail –
First make Strawberry Lychee Syrup
This is done by mixing equal parts of Strawberry and Lychee purees (such as Perfect Puree of Napa), with an equal part of Agave nectar combine well and then chill.
The Cocktail Recipe is:
1 1/2 ounces Belvedere Cytrus Vodka
1 ounce strawberry Lychee syrup
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur
Lemon peel Garnish
Assemble all the ingredients except the lemon peel garnish in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish by twisting the lemon peel over the top and dropping it into the drink
Leo Degroff, Dale’s son served up Grand Marnier Smashes.
A simple but elegant drink-
A large helping of Grand Marnier
Note:As this drink is a new take on the classic Whiskey Smash, invited by Leo’s father, Dale DeGroff it normally calls for 1 Â½ to 2oz of Whiskey normally Makers Mark. I asked Leo about the amount of Grand Marnier per drink, and he replied with “a lot”. In retrospect I’d say about 4oz would make for a nice drink.
Simon Ford, The Ambassador for Plymouth Gin served up the Cocktail 203.
Simon named this for the occasion as it was made on the fly. I think the name fits, as it embodies something old and something new. Using Plymouth Gin, which has been around since the 1700′s and a few things newer such as Canton Ginger liquor and the Zipang sparkling sake.
6-8 Blueberries Muddled
2 parts Plymouth Gin
1 Part Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Part Canton Ginger Liqeuer
1/2 Part Simple Syrup
1 Part Zipang Sparkling Sake
Shake all ingredients except Zipang and strain over fresh ice into a collins glass…top with Zipang Sparkling Sake and garnish with a 2 fresh blueberries and a lemon slice.
Clover Club Recipe
1 1/2 ounce gin
1/4 ounce grenadine
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 whole egg white
Shake very well with ice. Strain into a wine glass.
Gary Regan, of Ardent Spirits served up the Plymouth Hoe. At the moment, Gary is planning to post the recipe in a future issue of SFGate, in which he writes a weekly column. As such no recipe is currently posted. The best I could surmise besides the Plymouth Gin, is he also used Grand Marnier Navan. Once the recipe is available it will be posted in this article.
Audrey Saunders of The Pegu Club offered up a Gin Mojito incorporating Pernod Absinthe.
The recipe is currently unavailable, as I’m waiting to hear back from Audrey.
Other guest bartenders included, Allen Katz of Southern Wine and Spirits, Charlotte Voisey-Brand Ambassador for Hendricks Gin, Misty Kalkofen of Green Street in Boston, Jason Kosmas of Employees Only, Dave Wondrich, Aisha Sharpe, and Erin Williams of Pegu Club.