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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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A Mad Men Star's Cocktail Party

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bryan batt

© Paul Costello
Bryan Batt is mad for cocktails.



I try to boycott TV in the summer, but I totally confess that I’ve been counting down for Sunday night, when season four of Mad Men premieres. It’s the perfect excuse to throw a 1960s-style cocktail party. I asked Bryan Batt, who plays Sal Romano on the show, what he’ll be mixing this weekend. “I’m a purist, so a classic Manhattan or dry Martini,” he said. For more ideas, check out our story with Bryan from the May issue, featuring awesome cocktails and food like paprika-smoked baby back ribs from one of his favorite New Orleans bars, Cure.

Cocktails

Adult Slushies at DC’s new Estadio

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F&W's awesome DC stringer Amanda McClements

F&W’s outstanding Washington, DC, correspondent, Amanda McClements, is way ahead of me when it comes to an ingenious plan to stay hydrated during this hideous heat wave. Here’s her early look at DC’s brand new Estadio, featuring a menu of very cool (no pun intended) “slushitos”:

I’ve picked my poison for the dog days of summer, and it comes from a slushy machine. Adult frozen drinks, a.k.a. slushitos, have hit Washington, DC, at Estadio, Mark Kuller’s new Spanish tapas joint that opened on 14th Street last week. Among bar manager Adam Bernbach’s knockout flavors: the Spanish-inspired quince with lemon, paprika, Scotch and sherry. “I was playing around with membrillo, and something about it reminded me of Scotch,” Bernbach says. “I thought it would be really fun.” Also churning in the slushy machine: fresh strawberries with lime, basil, Campari and gin. Bernbach plans to offer new slushito flavors each month.

© Amanda McClements
Estadio's adult slushies

Estadio’s chef is Haidar Karoum, who also heads the kitchen at Kuller’s wine-centric restaurant Proof. Karoum’s menu includes excellent pintxos and tapas like jamón croquetas, a blood-sausage bocadillo with Cabrales cheese, and grilled octopus with potato-and-caper salad. Also moonlighting from Proof is wine director Sebastian Zutant, whose list at Estadio is almost exclusively Spanish. He’s mixing some of the wines into cocktails; I love the Txakoli with lemon soda and orange bitters (will I see it soon as a slushito??). They're served out of spout-shaped glass porrons (wine pitcher) that you tip directly into your mouth—or sometimes, if you’re not careful, onto your shirt.

Cocktails

San Francisco’s New Burritt Room

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The Kerouac Cocktail at The Burritt Room in San Francisco.

© Kristin Donnelly
The Kerouac Cocktail.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, my fiancé and I mapped out a cocktail crawl. On the list: the whiskey-focused Rickhouse, Michael Mina’s Clock Bar and the brand new, much-buzzed-about Comstock Saloon. Our first stop, however, was the two-week-old Burritt Room in the new Crescent Hotel, where Kevin Diedrich (a veteran of Bourbon & Branch, PDT and Clover Club) designed the drinks. We loved the red velvet bar stools, the spooky white piano and the exposed brick walls, dimly lit by chandeliers. The perfectly balanced Kerouac Cocktail, a mixture of reposado tequila, Aperol, Cointreau and grapefruit and lemon juices was a great way to start the night—but we became so enamored with Diedrich and his cocktail list (each drink is only $10, and the descriptions are written up like old-fashioned recipes) that our crawl came to a standstill as we ordered more drinks.

Cocktails

How to Support Gulf Coast Fishermen

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train

© Patrón Tequila
Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express


    
The St. Bernard Project, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that helped rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, is now helping the fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Their goal is to raise $75,000 to rebuild houses and provide mental health services for fishermen and their families. To raise funds, they’ve partnered with The Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express, a restored 1926 railway car that will be traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New Orleans and Los Angeles this month. Top chefs and mixologists from each city will host Patrón-spiked cocktail parties and dinners aboard the train.

Currently in Chicago, the train's next stop is Track 31 in Washington D.C.’s Union Station June 8th and 9th. Louisiana chefs like Brian Landry of Galatoire’s in New Orleans will be teaming up with DC-area stars like Jeff Tunks, Todd Thrasher, David Guas and Robert Wiedmaier to create Southern-inflected menus that will feature seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here for tickets and future dates.
 
 

Cocktails

Drinking Vodka Cocktails with the Dallas Cowboys

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© Kate Krader
Dallas Cowboys Kyle Kosier and Jason Witten dwarf chef Tim Love

I’ve seen a lot of cocktails recently. After all, F&W's outstanding and just-out Cocktails 2010 required a lot of tasting and testing. Still, my most recent highlight was co-hosting a party at the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas, to launch Belvedere's brand-newest vodka, Pink Grapefruit. How's this for a party, which featured cocktail pairings all the way through dinner?

The Food Texas rock star chef Tim Love making crazy-inspired dishes ranging from pillowy ricotta gnocchi with rattlesnake sausage to Kobe beef cap with crispy fried salsify.
The Cocktails Belvedere’s head mixologist Claire Smith paired all the food with genius, not-too-sweet drinks. That gnocchi, for instance, was served with Cerveza Preparada, a mix of orange vodka, blood orange juice and local micro-brewed wheat beer.
The Guests Local editors, chefs, mixologists. And the Dallas Cowboys! Well, two of them, namely adorable Pro Bowler Jason Witten (the best tight end in the NFC) and guard Kyle Kosier.
The After Party At the funky White Elephant Saloon, complete with shots of Tuaca from their very own Tuaca machine.

Menus

A Wine Geek's Dream Wine Bar

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anfora

© Jamie Tiampo
Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanale.

I'm a regular at NYC’s Dell'anima and L'Artusi, the two awesome wine-centric West Village Italian restaurants run by chef Gabe Thompson and sommelier Joe Campanale. Their newest project, Anfora, officially opens tonight. I got a sneak preview of the wine bar at friends-and-family on Friday. Here, the highlights:

1) Campanale has organized his wine list by producer, with an emphasis on sustainable, biodynamic and organic wine. And instead of simply listing wine names and vintages, he has included a photograph of every producer, along with information about the producers and the wines.
2) The stellar by-the-glass selection includes two anfora-aged wines, including Cantino Giardino's Coda di Volpe, an ancient grape grown in Campania since Roman times. (An anfora is a traditional earthen wine vessel used to store and transport wines).
3) Food highlights include lamb ragù sliders with Pecorino Romano and an intense Italian hero with mortadella, soppressata, speck, aged provolone, aioli, mustard and pepper relish. Plus, pastry genius Katherine Thompson has developed amazing sweets, like a rhubarb zuppa inglese.
4) There are also great cocktails, like the Farmer's Friend (rum, rhubarb, mint) and local craft beers on tap.
5) Just two doors down from always-crowded Dell’anima, this 50-seat spot may be the cushiest waiting area in the city with its super-comfy Cabernet-colored banquette seating. And the über-wine-geek will love the quilted topographic maps of wine regions like the Mosel hanging on the walls.

Cocktails

Derby Drinking and Fight Night Eats

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derby

© Eleven Madison Park
Chef Daniel Humm at last year's Derby party.

I couldn’t be more excited about the weekend. During the day, I’ll be drinking mint juleps at Eleven Madison Park’s awesome Kentucky Derby party. Chef Daniel Humm has created Southern-inspired dishes like hush puppies with turkey leg confit and sorrel butter, biscuits with country ham and rhubarb marmalade, and fried chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup. The Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark will also be hosting bourbon tastings. (Maker’s Mark gave Humm some moonshine-esque White Dog–unaged Maker’s Mark bourbon–to play around with, and he's created a mignonette out of it for the oysters at the raw bar.)

At night, I’m amped to watch Floyd Mayweather, Jr., take on Sugar Shane Mosley in the boxing ring. After an unhealthy day of Southern-fried indulgence, I’ll be cooking a healthy dinner for friends inspired by dishes from Boston chef (and boxing hobbyist) Barbara Lynch.


Cocktails

Kentucky Derby Juleps: The Numbers

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The Tupelo Julep

© Daniel Krieger

The other day, my colleague Kelly Snowden obsessed about Kentucky Derby juleps—specifically where to drink them in Brooklyn, and where to find some excellent recipes for mint juleps and Champagne juleps (at foodandwine.com of course). Now on to some cool statistics from Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby). To make the 120,000 (!) mint juleps that Levy restaurants will serve over the course of the weekend, here's what's on their shopping list:

*7,800 liters of bourbon
*Some 300,000 pounds of shaved ice
*2,250 pounds of mint. And this year, it’s all sourced from local (i.e., Kentuckiana) farms. Which is great news.

Entertaining

Kentucky Derby Day Juleps

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The Tupelo Julep

© Daniel Krieger

This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby, and even though I know it's all about the horses, who can blame me for thinking of refreshments instead, when the contenders have names like Sidney's Candy and Ice Box? If I were in Brooklyn this weekend I'd get my julep fix at the Vanderbilt, Saul Bolton's six-month-old Prospect Heights restaurant, which put a julep variation on the menu a few weeks ago. My Kentucky-born, bourbon-loving husband might chastise me for liking their well-balanced Tupelo Julep, made with rye, cognac and apricot-mint syrup instead of the traditional bourbon and mint, but he would agree that the bartender, Brian Patrick Floyd, gets the ice perfect, so that the glass frosts over as the drink slowly melts. Variations of the julep abound; here are a few to try at your own Derby party:

Mint Julep
Blanca Julep
Parsley-Gin Julep
Champagne Julep

Cocktails

Mumbai Nightlife

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Aer

© Red Lion
Aer at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai.

Thursday is the night to go out in Mumbai and I had India’s top fashion photographer, Farrokh Chothia (he shot the striking photos hanging in Vermillion restaurant, escorting me past the ropes of the city’s newest bars.

Farrokh met me at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, which will be reopened in its entirety this July, once the tower wings have been restored (they suffered damage in the 2008 terrorist attacks). The hotel’s legendary Harbour Bar (it became Mumbai’s first licensed bar when it opened in 1933) just reopened at the end of March with a great list of Prohibition-era cocktails that are theatrically mixed and poured, plus there's also an extensive selection of single malts and whiskeys.

After watching a night polo gam at Mahalaxmi raccourse, we checked out Tote on the Turf next door. Malini and Rahul Akerkar, the couple behind Indigo, opened this enormous new restaurant and bar last September. Up-and-coming architect Kapil Gupta is responsible for the space, which has 40-foot vaulted ceilings designed to look like tree branches. Its lineup of DJs and a smart drink list that includes the signature Tote Mary (a Bloody Mary with balsamic vinegar and crushed cucumbers) has made midtown suddenly cool.

For the best view of the city, we went to Aer, the posh new bar on the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel. Elsie Nanji is responsible for the futuristic design and great accents like Ross Lovegrove’s Love bench as well as chairs and stools from Driade’s Tokyo-Pop series.

After three supertrendy spots full of beautiful people, I was ready for something more laid-back. Farrokh took me to Blue Frog,  an awesome live-music venue in an old warehouse in Lower Parel that’s been brilliantly redesigned. We ended our night there, rocking out to a Pearl Jam tribute band with some of Farrok's friends from Vogue India.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.