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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

Cocktails for a Cause

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benefit

© Citymeals-on-Wheels
All-star food-and-cocktail pairings for a good cause.

 

In NYC, the Surrey Hotel’s awesome new Bar Pleiades is hosting a spectacular pairing event tomorrow (Wednesday, January 20). Here are three great reasons to stop by:

1)   Mixologist extraordinaire Cameron Bogue, formerly the bar genius at Daniel Boulud’s Vancouver outpost of DB Bistro Moderne, will be making excellent winter cocktails, including a warming brandy shaken with roasted butternut squash puree and Meyer lemon juice.
2)    Look for bar snacks from Café Boulud’s ultratalented chef Gavin Kaysen and guest chefs George Mendes of NYC’s Aldea, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of L.A.’s meat-centric Animal and Nate Appleman of the forthcoming Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria.
3)    Ticket proceeds benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. Click here to eat and drink well, while contributing to a good cause.

Recipes

How to Help Haiti

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The New York Times’s blog, The Lede, has amazingly in-depth coverage of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on Tuesday, including ways to help out. One method endorsed by the White House is texting “HAITI” to “90999” to donate $10 to the American Red Cross (the charge will appear on your cell-phone bill). To be able to donate even more, I invite you to throw a fundraising party with drinks like the Haitian Apricot (prepared with rum and apricot brandy) and Caribbean dishes like fried sweet plantains.

Recipes

The (Drink) Situation on MTV’s Jersey Shore: Ron Ron Juice

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© John Kernick

Muscle-head Ronnie on MTV’s Jersey Shore is the last guy I’d expect to see drinking a girly cocktail, but surprisingly his pre-partying drink of choice is his eponymous “Ron Ron Juice,” a fuchsia-colored concoction of watermelon, cherries, cranberry juice and copious amounts of vodka blended with ice, which he always prepares bare-chested. “It gets the night going,” he says. “Whenever that stuff [sic] comes out it’s always a filthy night.”

Ah yes, “Ron Ron Juice” does often serve as useful fuel for one of Ronnie’s many bar fights.

“It’s the root of all evil,” says DJ Pauly D. Plus, there’s nothing like a little “Ron Ron Juice” to provide the energy to “beat up the beat” of house music at da club. “First, we start off by banging the ground, we’re banging it as the beat builds ‘cause that beat’s hittin’ us so we’re fightin’ back, it’s like we beat up that beat,” says DJ Pauly D.

Here, a more refined selection of fruity cocktails to get fists pumping:
Watermelon-Tequila Cocktails (pictured)
Watermelon Sangria
Watermelon Coolers

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

 

Cocktails

A Real Speakeasy

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The fantastic Ann Lien, F&W's senior copy editor, went to a party so secret for New Year's Eve that she won't even tell me where it was held. Here, she reports:

Nowadays, you can throw an olive and hit yet another new speakeasy-style bar. But on New Year's Eve, I was invited to a true speakeasy in New York City: Both the party and location (behind a half-lowered metal gate) were so secret that guests were forbidden to Tweet or post on Facebook about it by name. Once inside the red-draped den, I was surrounded by people dressed in costumes evoking 1920s Paris/Berlin or 1930s Shanghai and treated to burlesque dancers, fire-breathers, live bands, chorus girls dressed like Marlene Dietrich and aerialists swinging on suspended hoops.

On the bar menu were such Prohibition-era cocktails as the Sidecar, the Old-Fashioned and absinthe (minus the hallucinogenic wormwood). However, there was one drink called Madame Shanghai's Secret Potion that you could only get by hunting down the cigarette girl and slipping her a few bills. Sure enough, after I found her, from beneath her tray she produced a tiny, opaque medicine bottle—small enough to fit in my purse—filled with a rum cocktail. It was delicious.

Though this party’s name can't be revealed, you can throw your own speakeasy gathering by making the same classic cocktails. Try F&W's inspired versions of the Old-Fashioned and even absinthe drinks. The Sidecar can be found in the 2009 F&W Cocktails book, which is still available on foodandwine.com or Amazon. I know I won't be waiting a whole year before I taste these drinks again!

Cocktails

36 Hours in New Orleans: Part 1

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Domenica

© Domenica
The dining room at Domenica, John Besh's new restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel.

 

I just made my first trip to New Orleans and after canvassing friends, chefs and cocktail experts plotted an epic eating and drinking itinerary. This is one city where classic spots rival—maybe even one-up—new places. Some highlights:

Saturday afternoon: Shrimp and oyster po’boys (dressed, of course) at Mahony’s, a new favorite of F&W Best New Chef 1999 John Besh.
 
Late afternoon: Historical cocktail crawl through the French Quarter with stops at Muriels, Old  Absinthe House, the bar at Antoine’s and Pat O’Briens (for the essential Hurricane).

Evening: Dinner at Domenica, John Besh’s stylish new Italian restaurant in the recently renovated Roosevelt Hotel. Besh protégé Alon Shaya oversees the kitchen and is a talent to watch. On the menu: crispy-thin, bubbly-crusted pizzas; a salad of thinly shaved tentacles of octopus carpaccio mixed with citrus and fennel; torn sheets of pasta (stracci) in a thick oxtail gravy with fried chicken livers; slow-roasted goat with chanterelles.
 
Post-dinner: Pre-night-out Sazerac at the Roosevelt’s legendary Sazerac Bar.

Late-night: The Cure is a much-buzzed-about cocktail spot uptown in a renovated 1905 firehouse. Co-owner and head mixologist Neal Bodenheimer opened the place in February and makes everything from the bitters to the cocktail cherries in-house. Bar Tonique lies on the outer edges of the French Quarter on Rampart Street. Bodenheimer also developed the cocktail list for this serious drink spot run by the crew of the Delachaise. It has a quieter vibe than The Cure, but equally excellent artisanal cocktails like the Champagne Cocktail, made with grapefruit bitters.

Super, super late-night: Mimi’s for live music, a night-ending pint of Abita Purple Haze and some tapas-style bar snacks including the "Trust Me”—that night, local braised lamb in gravy.

Cocktails

Buenos Aires Cocktails

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Albert's Rocket at Home Hotel
 I eat meat pretty sparingly, so my trip to Buenos Aires helped me fill my beef quota well into 2010. I was craving vegetables only two days into the trip, but luckily, I found an inventive way to get them: cocktails. The Home Hotel, funded by U2 producer Flood and Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour back in 2005, has vintage wallpaper, an enchanting back garden and a fantastic bar. The Scarlett the Tart, made with beet juice, was a deep fuchsia, but my favorite drink was Albert's Rocket, made with tequila, egg whites, simple syrup, lime, olive oil and arugula. With the greens strained out, only a hint of the arugula's pepperiness remained, giving the frothy drink a great kick.

Cocktails

F&W’s Cocktail Clinic

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© Tina Rupp

Currently showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: “May Your Glass Be Ever Full: Drinking in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europe,” featuring glassware like a crystal goblet from 1745 engraved with the words, “The Hell Fire Club.” Here, our own glassware guide with excellent cocktails to serve in each type of glass:

Coupe: 10 superb cocktails for the coupe like the margarita-like Flor de Jalisco and the grapefruity Hemingway Daiquiri
Rocks: 10 outstanding cocktails for the rocks glass like the Manzarita, a tequila smash prepared with apple juice and cinnamon (pictured), and the citrusy Hibiscus Petal
Highball: 10 terrific cocktails for the highball like the almond-flavored Fog Cutter, a classic tiki drink, and El Gusano Rojo, prepared with ginger beer and mezcal
Martini: 10 exceptional cocktails for the martini glass like the classic martini and the lemon-basil martini
Flute: 7 great cocktails for the flute like the Americana, prepared with Champagne, bourbon and sliced peaches, and the minty Champagne mojito

Cocktails

Daniel Boulud’s New Bar

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bar

© Wanderplay Studio
The design of Bar Pleiades is a nod to Coco Chanel and the lines of a '30s Art Deco bar cart.

 

New York City’s Upper East Side finally has a serious cocktail spot. Last Thursday, prolific restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s newest project, Bar Pleiades, opened with a cocktail program run by mixologist Cameron Bogue (formerly at DB Bistro Moderne’s Vancouver outpost). The bar is part of the $60 million dollar makeover of the historic Surrey hotel, which will reopen in November. Like the menus at the recently reimagined Café Boulud next door, Bogue’s cocktails are inspired by la tradition (classic French cuisine), la saison (seasonality), le potager (the vegetable garden) and le voyage (global flavors). Bogue makes everything from the rhubarb bitters in his Sloe Gin Fizz to the fermented ginger beer that gets mixed with saffron-roasted pear vodka and yuzu for his Beijing Mule—an ode to his recent motorcycle voyage across Asia.

Cocktails

New York Fashion Week with Padma Lakshmi and Mary-Kate & Ashley

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Top Chef host, cookbook author and former model Padma Lakshmi kicked off New York City's fashion week by judging hors d'oeuvres created by six fashion celebs in a cook-off at Bergdorf Goodman's BG Restaurant. The contestants included designers Peter Som (panko-fried oysters with blood-orange gastrique and tartar sauce) and Naeem Khan (chicken with 26 Indian spices, wrapped in lettuce), but the hands-down winning dish, according to Padma (and F&W's omniscient Kate Krader), was Lela Rose's corn crepe topped with lobster and a cilantro–pine nut salsa. Midway through the competition, Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue, peeked into the room, threw her head back with a rarely captured laugh and exited into the fashion ether.

Later that night, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen served watermelon-and-candied-ginger martinis to a packed room of crazed fans in an effort to promote their clothing lines Elizabeth & James and The Row. A few minutes into the service, Ashley said, "Is there music?" and the staff turned on some beats. Any good bar patron knows that you should always tip the bartender, so I dropped a dollar on the bar (a move that confused Mary-Kate and made it into the next day's paper). After all, leaving a tip never goes out of style–even if it's for a couple of billionaires.

Menus

Miami's Excellent Eos

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© Jen Murphy
The Fresh Pepper cocktail at Eos in Miami

Before flying back to NYC after my quick trip to Miami last week, I made sure to check out Eos, the new restaurant from star chef Michael Psilakis (of NYC's Kefi, Mia Dona, Anthos and Gus & Gabriel Gastropub. Eos is on the 15th floor of the new Viceroy Hotel, which combines the whimsical design of both Kelly Wearstler and Philippe Starck. The food was exceptionally tasty and beautifully plated—from the orange marlin sashimi with speck, apricot and pistachio butter to the ultratender smoked octopus to the decadent lobster-and-sea-urchin risotto with caviar, fried herbs and egg yolk. Another surprise: an ambitious cocktail list. I politely declined the server’s top pick, the Pepper Fresh, but she sent me one anyway and it was one of the most unusual drinks I’ve ever tasted—a mix of vodka and freshly squeezed lime and yellow bell pepper juices muddled with spearmint. Bell pepper juice in a cocktail? Somehow it worked geniously. 

 

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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.