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Cocktail Recipes, Drinks, Travel

Cocktails from Chicago: The 13 Degrees at The Gage

May 7, 2013
chicago_skyline
The 13 Degrees cocktail from the Gage is by barman Thomas Mooneyham.

The 13 Degrees cocktail — with prosecco, sage, velvet falernum and gin — was created by Chicago barman Thomas Mooneyham at The Gage.

I just came back from visiting my family in Chicagoland. I mostly hung out in the ‘burbs, but I did foray into the city one afternoon. I saw the Picasso exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago . It was great seeing the genesis of his famous Chicago woman/bird sculpture as well as a series of pen-and-ink drawings.

Looking at art made me thirsty and hungry, so I went across Michigan Avenue to The Gage, a lively new American restaurant and tavern.  It was a warm day at the 13 Degrees was perfectly smooth and refreshing, with lots of wonderful herbal flavors from the Velvet Falernum and the Death’s Door Gin, which is made in the Midwest.

Creator Thomas Mooneyham, who was kind enough to share his recipe, makes the drink unique with his pear-sage syrup. But flavored syrups like this one are actually quite easy to make at home following the instructions below.

13 Degrees

3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
3/4 ounce Death’s Door Gin
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce pear-sage syrup (see note)
Prosecco float
sage leaf

Add the Velvet Falernum, gin, lime juice and pear-sage syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Add prosecco float. For the garnish, slap or spank the sage leaf between your hands and place on top of the drink.
Makes 1 cocktail

Note: To make your own pear-sage syrup, boil 2 cups pear nectar or juice with 1 cup sugar and 2 sage leaves in a 2-quart pot. Once it boils, turn it down to simmer for 10 minutes then turn off and let the syrup steep. Once it’s cool, strain it, then bottle it and refrigerate for up to a week.

Celebrity Chefs, Food + Recipes

Gale Gand’s Salted Butter Caramel Recipe…Mmmm!

October 27, 2010
salted_caramel_goodness

A tiny pool of Gale Gand’s Salted Butter Caramel graced this chocolate pot de cremè.

Is there anything better than salted butter caramel?

I think not. I mean who doesn’t like the taste of sugar? But it’s even better with a bit of saltiness to make you want — no need — to take another bite. That’s why it’s so hard to put down that bag of kettle corn from the farmer’s market. Or why the addictive caramel and cheese corn mix first served at Garrett’s Popcorn in Chicago is widely imitated.

Salted caramel is usually associated with Brittany in France, where it’s called caramel au beurre salèe. The style is said to have been created in the 1970s by a chocolatier and caramelier named Henri Le Roux. He added some of the region’s famous grey sea salt — aka fleur de sel de Guerande — to his pot of caramel. I have tasted Le Roux’s salted caramels — which come in an assorted box with flavors like caramelized apple tatin, bitter chocolate and orange ginger — and they were worth every penny.

For some reason, I was slightly intimidated by the thought of making salted caramel at home. But Gale Gand, the Chicago pastry chef, made it look so easy when she was the special guest at the Sweet Sundays breakfast earlier this week at Epcot Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World.

I picked up a good tip: Gale dropped little spots of caramel on a white plate to judge whether it was dark enough. In just a few minutes it went from pale gold to deep maple, so it doesn’t take long.

She served it atop a Chocolate Pot de Cremè with a Black Pepper Whipped Cream, but I can imagine lots of other ways to enjoy it, like on homemade caramel apples or in a salted caramel ice cream, like the one I adore from Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco.

Her recipe is so simple it’s Tweetable.

Gale Gand’s Salted Butter Caramel
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tsp. fleur de sel

Boil the sugar and water until it gets to the desired shade of golden brown. When it’s there, let it cool a bit. Whisk in the cream until it’s fully incorporated and then add the salt. Voila!

Cocktail Recipes

The Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: The Aviation

September 20, 2009
aviation_cocktail_charles_joly

Aviation has been on my mind. Both the kind that you sip and the kind that involves checking in and taking off your shoes.  I guess that’s probably because I’m getting ready to travel to my hometown Chicago for Bubbly Bar book parties on October 1, 2 and 3.

But Chicago was also the first place I tasted the Aviation. It was on an election night — that momentous election night of 2008 — visit to The Drawing Room in the Gold Coast area. Scanning cleverly written menu, I spotted an Aviation, which included gin, maraschino and violet liqueur — I was in.

Since it was a quiet night, head mixologist Charles Joly brought the custom-made bar cart to the table and started making our drinks. As he worked, he told the story of the Aviation. I’d never understood why the clear combination of gin, maraschino and lemon labeled an Aviation on most menus warranted such a lofty name. But Joly explained that the original version of the drink — created just as commercial flight was becoming popular — included the liqueur Creme de Violette which stained it a pale blue. With the violet liqueur, an Aviation matches the color of the wild blue yonder.

Charles Joly, head mixologist of the Drawing Room, explained the story behind the Aviation cocktail. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

Charles Joly, head mixologist of the Drawing Room, explained the story behind the Aviation cocktail. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

I had another Aviation recently at a tasting by Preiss Imports, a rather low key San Diego spirit importer with a screaming good portfolio of 500 liqueurs and spirits. Two of their imports include the Italian cherry liqueur Luxardo Maraschino and Parfait Amour, a perfectly lovely French spirit created from violets.

No matter which violet liqueur you choose, a properly made Aviation has a fresh, bracing and fragrant flavor that takes you on a tasty journey.

Aviation
2 ounces dry gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 ounce violet liqueur
lemon zest, for garnish

Add the gin, lemon juice, maraschino and violet liqueur to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 30 times. Strain into a cocktail glass like a vintage champagne coupe if you have one. Garnish with the lemon zest.

Bubbly Events

Bubbles on Tour: Bubbly Bar Book Events

September 14, 2009
Signing books at the Hotel Solamar on Aug. 26 at the San Diego launch party presented by Slow Food Urban San Diego  and Domaine Chandon - what a blast!

Signing books at the Hotel Solamar on Aug. 26 at the San Diego launch party presented by Slow Food Urban San Diego and Domaine Chandon - what a blast!

It’s been quite the whirlwind since my book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails (Clarkson Potter, $16.99) launched a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how many different skills it takes to be an author; not only do you need to know enough about a topic to write about it, once you’ve done so and had the incredible good fortune to get a book published, then you need to become an expert at marketing, event planning and logistics! All that is to say that with the help of some friends, I’ve put together some fun Bubbly Bar book events that will start happening around the country in a couple weeks.

If you’re a Bubbly Girl – or even if you just like to have fun while tasting some sparkling wine cocktails and learning something new, then I hope you’ll come out to join the fun as I make my way around the country. Stay tuned for more events in NYC, San Francisco, Atlanta and San Diego but here’s where I’ll be for the next month or so:

Chicago

Oct. 1.  – Pops for Champagne 601 N. State St. 6 to 8 p.m.
Come learn how to make great autumn cocktails with Domaine Carneros – America’s first estate grown organic sparkling wine and fine artisanal spirits. Ticket are $25 and include a signed book, cocktails and nibbles at America’s most acclaimed champagne bar. To RSVP, email rsvp@popsforchampagne.com

Oct. 3 – Shop & Sip at M2 Boutique, 3527 N. Southport Ave. 12 to 4 p.m.
We’ll have fun sipping fizz and browsing through fabulous fall fashions including TANO leather handbags at 20% off at this value-conscious boutique. Free event, no RSVP required.

Los Angeles

Oct. 7 – Moet Champagne Cocktails & A Sparkling Book Party at The Edison, 108 W. Second Ave. 5:30 to 7:30
p.m. Meet me in the Tesla Lounge for an intimate literary cocktail party featuring Moet & Chandon champagne cocktails and appetizers at this unique vintage-style bar in downtown LA. Wear business or cocktail attire – the Edison has a dress code. Stick around for the sexy cabaret show starting at 8 in the main bar. Tickets are $20 and include a signed book and bubbly. All guests must pre-pay by Oct. 3 by emailing maria at thebubblygirl.com.

NYC

Oct. 12  – The Bombay Bubbly Experience at Beekman’s Bar & Books, 889 1st Ave (At 50th) 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
We’ll explore the unique synergy between fine aromatic Bombay Sapphire gin and bubbly at this cocktail demo and party at Beekman’s, a warm and clubby bar that’s filled with thousands of books. I’ll be mixing drinks along with resident bartender Ben Scorah – GQ Magazine’s NYC Bartender of the Year- and Bombay Sapphire U.S. Mixologist James Moreland.  Tickets are $25 and include cocktails, food and signed books. For information on reservations, email maria at thebubblygirl.com

Napa County

Oct. 24- Cocktail clinics & book signing at Domaine Chandon, 1 California Drive, Yountville. I’ll be lounging in the gift shop of this modern showcase winery and giving two cocktail clinics featuring drinks from the book throughout the day. Cocktails from The Bubbly Bar will also be available for purchase at the tasting bar. Come up and make a day of it by taking a behind the scenes tour of the winery and treating yourself to a bubblicious lunch or dinner at Etoile! Free event!

Washington DC

Nov. 4 – Cava and Latin Libations at Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW, Washington DC 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Masa 14 is the hot new restaurant by Richard Sandoval and Kaz Okochi that serves Latin and Asian small plates in a hip setting. We’ll explore the fine Spanish sparkling wine called cava and Latin libations from The Bubbly Bar paired with small plates from the restaurant. Tickets are $35 and include, drinks, food and a signed book. Make reservations through www.hooksbookevents.com or call 202-328-1414.

NYC

Dec. 12 – Book signing & Weekend Tasting at Harlem Vintage, 2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd. 4 to 7 p.m. Perrier-Jouet Champagne will be the featured champagne at this tasting and book signing at Harlem Vintage in this famous neighborhood that was home to lots of gin joints and speakeasies dating back to the classic cocktail era. A bottle of international bubbly and a signed copy of the Bubbly Bar make a fabulous and fast holiday gift. Harlem’s own Hue-Man Bookstore will be our book-selling partner for this special tasting. Free event!