Our bartender recommends…
Straight or on the rocks bourbon is a strong standard. The bracing bite at the back of the throat is reassuring to losers and sobering to winners. The former knows that, “Every dog has his day.” George Patton reminds the latter, “All glory is fleeting.” Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Evan Williams—it is all good.
This recipe was developed for my friend, Alan Leewood. Alan assures me his signature drink is decidedly “top drawer.”
2 ounces Absolut Peppar vodka
¾ tablespoon of dry vermouth
2 large olives stuffed with bleu cheese
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the liquid ingredients. Shake ingredients for 30 seconds or until the shaker is too cold to hold in the hand. Pour off the ice into a martini glass and add 2 olives.
This cocktail was developed just after the war. That would be enough for us, but it is a wonderful drink. When in New Orleans try this at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Well played…
Need: 3 ounces of Brandy, tablespoon of triple sec, squeeze of lemon juice. Rim a martini glass with sugar.
All three ingredients go into a well iced cocktail shaker, and shake until very cold. Pour off into the sugar-rimmed glass. Enjoy.
The Old Fashioned is simplicity. Like the prise d’ fer it is a solid standard that has lasted for centuries.
Place a teaspoon of sugar or a sugar cube in a rocks glass. Saturate the sugar with four or five splashes of Angostura bitters and muddle thoroughly. Add a splash of water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Now, add the bourbon or rye to the muddled mix. Spin a large ice cube into the solution. Finally, ladle a teaspoon or less of Campari atop the large ice cube.
Need a cherry or an orange? They serve it that way down the street.
“Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” Dr. Samuel Johnson
Gin and Tonic
Tall or short glass. Cut a lime into quarters, and add sufficient ice to the glass. Liberally rub the rim of the glass with lime, and then squeeze plenty of lime juice over the ice. Do not skimp during this process. Pour in 2 ounces of high-end gin and top off with tonic. Toss the squeezed limes into the tumbler and enjoy. The perfect finish to a bout on the piste or chukkar on the field.
This cocktail was concocted by Bond in Casino Royale and named after the heroine. The cocktail was invented by Fleming and friend Ivar Bryce
According to Kingsley Amis the quinine in Kina Lillet would be too bitter and Lillet vermouth should be used instead.
3 measures of Gordon’s gin
1 measure of vodka
½ measure of Kina Lillet
Shake until ice cold and serve in a deep champagne goblet with a large thin slice of lemon peel. Watch for suspects and assassins.
First served in America at the Spanish pavilion of the 1964 World’s Fair. Sangria translates as “blood.” Need I say more?
750 ml (one bottle) of red wine
4 ounces of Triple Sec
4 ounces of brandy
4 ounces of orange juice
4 ounces of cranberry juice
4 ounces of bar syrup (Collins bar syrup is available at most liquor stores)
Pour the ingredients into a carafe. Add the slices of apples, oranges, limes, lemons, grapes—whatever is handy. Cinnamon sticks are welcome. Serve immediately, chilled or at room temperature. Repeat–you’ll want to make a double batch. Avoid the obvious flaw of adding soda or sparkling water.
Campari and Pelligrino
Campari is a classic aperitif. We love this just before dinner, and the mix of water make a brilliant appearance at the bar.
Pour nearly 2 ounces of Campari into a short glass. Place a large ice cube into the Campari. Swirl this so as to chill the Campari. Now, add an equal measure of Pellegrino water. Garnish with slice of orange. You may begin the evening.
Caipirinha translates as “little peasant girl” and this notion escapes me. There is nothing little, peasanty or girlish about this drink. Enjoy this concoction instead of a margarita, and the rewards are soon obvious. This is the official cocktail of Brazil. Cachaça is the liquor used as the base. This hoochie, sugar cane brandy is often mistaken for rum.
Cut a lime into small chunks and pitch them into the bottom of a sturdy rocks glass. Use a muddler to press out the juice. Add 3 teaspoons of sugar and muddle yet again. You will create syrup complete with seeds. Add ice atop this soup and don’t remove the lime chunks. Finally, fill the glass with the cachaça liquor. Stir as you drink.
I have to believe that Olympic foilist Margherita Granbassi would love this recipe for the classic blended Margarita.
Needed: One can of limeaide, tequila, triple sec, water, ice and blender, amaretto
Unload the limeaide into the blender. Next, measure the tequila, triple sec and water into the limaide can in equal amounts–1/3 tequila, 1/3 triple sec, 1/3 water. Pour the contents into the blender along with the limeaide. Finally, pack the blender with ice and blend away. The more you blend the finer the slush. Finish by pouring a shot of amaretto atop the slushy drink. We pour Disaronno Originale here at the club.
Perfect–just like Margherita herself.
Our recommended sans-alcohol libation. This mixture is tough to beat after 15-point tournament bouts and is refreshing and restorative. Drink it down quickly for best effect.
Load a rocks glass half-full of ice. Pour in orange juice to cover the ice and finish with San Pellegrino water.
Maker’s Mark Cocktail
This one is simple, elegant and packs a punch. “I’ll have a Maker’s Mark, neat. Shaken with a twist of lime.”
Laszlo’s Kâramanèh (Bombay Sapphire Martini)
Charter member Matt Laszlo orders this gin martini after a demanding day of brand management. Simple, elegant—just what the doctor ordered. After the first sip ML is often heard to gasp, “Kâramanèh” without explanation.
A full 3 ounces of Bombay Sapphire gin are delivered into a shaker crammed with ice. Shake contents for 30 seconds or until the shaker is too cold to comfortably hold. Strain off liquid contents into martini glass. Add 3 Santa Barbara bleu cheese olives.
The Pimms Cup–Geraci’s Weakness
While walking the dimly lit streets of New Orleans I felt my cell vibrate in my pocket. PG–Paul Gearaci was calling, “Are you really in New Orleans? That’s great! You must go to the Napoleon House and ask for a Pimms Cup. You have to!” For all I knew I was going request the Pimm’s Cup only to be conked on the head and sold into white slavery. Half an hour later I knew why PG placed this demand on me. The Pimms Cup is refreshing with a nice bite. Geraci, if you have ever come to en guarde against him, has few weaknesses, but the Pimms Cup is a way to his heart. Touche!
Here’s the Recipe
Fill a tall 12 oz glass with ice and add 1 1/4 oz. Pimm’s #1 and 3 oz lemonade.
Then top off with 7up.
Garnish with cucumber.
Neil Foster’s Brandy Alexander
In addition to being a fencing instructor I am a professional magician. In fact, I graduated from the Chavez School of Magic and Prestidigitation under the direction of Mr. Neil Foster. Neil was the finest magician I’ve ever known. Others will agree. Mr. Foster was amazing.
Like my friend, Paul Geraci, Neil had a weakness. Neil Foster’s weakness was the Brandy Alexander as deliver to his table at the Magic Carpet in Colon, Michigan. After hours of rehearsal it was common for Neil to retire to the Magic Carpet and hold court by the hour. Young magicians would revel in his wonderful stories, and the laughter was exhilarated by the blended mix of ingredients shown below. Neil would shout, “Brandy Alexanders all around!” He said this as if he were broadcasting a royal proclamation. Like a friendship–simple to make and impossible to forget.
For each drink:
3 scoops of French vanilla ice cream
1 ounce of Creme de Cocoa
3 ounces of brandy
splash of homogenized milk
Whirl the ice cream, brandy and Creme de Cocoa and milk into a blender and don’t bruise the ice cream. Keep it thick. Garnish with nutmeg. Drink. Then order another round and tell more stories.
Arabic Coffee AKA Turkish Coffee: After a lavish meal nothing beat having a demitasse of coffee. Espresso is wonderful, but it is nearly passe with a Starbucks on every corner. Arabic coffee is even better. With it comes a flavor and romance that delivers more than caffeine–it provides memories, too. Ask to have your fortune foretold afterwards.
From our tapas menu…
Notes on Tapas: Tapas are a Spanish tradition that began as a way to fill the time and hunger between lunch and a late dinner. A glass of wine was offered with with bread or toast covering the top of the glass. I’ve read that tapas translates to, approximately, “lid.” The toast acted as a small plate for bites of cheese, olives, pickles and more. Tapas may be the original bar food. It is thought that the “lid” was functional–it kept the fruit flies out of the wine!
Aeoli dipping sauce is common with tapas dishes. The sauce is a 60/40 mix of mustard and mayonnaise. Spicy mustard is preferred.
Add olive oil to taste, and allow it to pool atop the sauce. Ground pepper can be sprinkled, as desired.
Need: asparagus stalks, olive oil, course pepper, slices of bacon cut into chunks, sea salt
Heat olive oil in a pan and sprinkle pepper into oil. Add asparagus. Mix asparagus in pan rolling it in the oil and pepper. The asparagus will take about 5 minutes. At about the 3 minute mark add the bacon and allow this to fry to taste. Sprinkle salt as desired.
Works well with sangria or bourbon.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
There are not too many appetizers that are better than this combination. Medium thickness bacon is wrapped about a pitted date. Oven is preheated to 375 degrees. Make up as many dates as you desire–you’ll desire plenty. Then place on a cooking sheet for about 20-25 minutes. Nothing is simpler or better as a tapas. Bacon wrapped dates are the heroin of appetizers. You have been forewarned.
As is often the case with Tapas simpler offerings are better. Bakes apples is a simple, sweet addition to a tapas menu.
Need: Apples, brown sugar, butter, brandy
Proceed: Cut bite-sized chunks of apples into a baking dish. Use a knife or spoon to smear butter on these chucks. Now, liberally sprinkle brown sugar atop the chunks. Place into an oven that is pre-heated to 400 degrees F. At about the 15 minute mark pour an ounce or two of brandy over the apples. Total baking time is about 25 minutes. The apples should still be crunchy. Serve while hot, of course.
Bananas Foster is a versatile dessert that is easy to prepare and always a crowd pleaser. If your audience doesn’t see you prepare this dish they will also ascribe to you considerable skill.
butter (exact amount depends on how many bananas)
brown sugar (exact amount depends…)
brandy or rum (a couple shots)
Heat the butter in a skillet and just as it begins to melt add the brown sugar and brandy. Stir. This will create a syrup. Add large slices of bananas and stir until the bananas are covered in the syrup and warm. Don’t over cook the fruit–you don’t want the bananas to be mushy. Serve on a plate or over ice cream. Put in crepes for a real treat.
Crepes make a wonderful tapas-like snack, and this recipe is fast and efficient. This will make about 800 ml of batter–over a dozen crepes.
half a stick of butter
2 cups of whole milk
1.5 cups of flour (white or wheat, either)
pinch of salt
a few drops of canola oil or similar
a pinch of corn meal (as desired)
Run ingredients through a blender (not the oil and corn starch) and make the batter as runny as possible with no lumps. This takes almost no time, and, once done, you have made the batter. I recommend that you store the batter in a plastic pitcher overnight. Cooler batter seems to make a better crepe for some reason.
Coat your crepe pan with a few drops of canola oil using a paper towel. Now, sprinkle the corn meal onto the oiled pan. This is a secret, really. Even seasoned crepe pan will cause batter to stick sometimes. The corn meal, sprinkled evenly, will prevent sticking altogether.
Just pour the batter onto the heated pan and go for a thin, evenly distributed batter. You’ll need to practice this process, but it’s mostly a matter of letting the batter brown lightly on one side and then on the other. You’ll appreciate the corn meal as you go to flip the crepe to the other side.
This is the classic crepe, and, I think, the best. I think it is a wonderful “morning after” snack. Squeeze half a lemon onto the open face of the crepe. Fold the crepes from each side and squeeze again. Finally, liberally sprinkle powdered sugar over the crepe and serve. Add a dollop of plain yogurt if desired. Cup of black coffee and lemon crepe? Perfect.