I find it particularly fun to look back on my life and trace the twists and turns that bring us in contact with persons and opportunities. Our guest blogger today is one of those winding roads that always makes me smile, and though we have never met face to face, I am quite pleased and proud to be sharing our blog space with this special friend from LA. I invite you to read her story, leave a comment and then visit her blog. Brittany Sage lives in Los Angeles, Ca with her husband Wade. She loves writing about her adventures with food, fashion and fun on Lipstickandleopardprint.com.
My husband, Wade and I met in 2004 while he was tending bar. The first thing he made me was a French 75. It was love at first sight for both! Since then there has been a resurgence of mixology amongst the foodie culture. Cocktails from yesteryear are being reinvented all the time. Here are our favorite cocktails and how we make them.
The French 75 has been around since 1915. This is the real deal old-school cocktail, with it’s namesake stemming from “the feeling of being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun”. In other words this drink will do the job. These days, however, this drink has survived the times and can be served among the classiest of the old school cocktails. Originally, it was made with powdered sugar but we like to use homemade simple syrup as a fun and delicious substitute. Here is a slightly modified way of recreating the original cocktail with a couple of twists that will definitely improve your end results.
Brittany’s French 75
2 ounces dry gin
1 teaspoon simple syrup (recipe 50/50 water and raw cane sugar)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
3 ounces sparkling french rose
In a cocktail shaker, shake the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice with ice vigorously. Strain into a martini or other long stemmed glass. Top with sparkling wine or champagne (if you are feeling decadent). Garnish with a fresh twist of lemon.
This is the easiest thing in the world to make. In a sauce pan, simply melt 1 part sugar with 1 part water. We like to use raw or turbinado sugar because it is rich and pure.
Use the wide end of a zester in a spiral motion to create the perfect lemon twist!
Wade’s Rye Manhattan
The key to making this drink is simply to use the right ingredients and to stir instead of shaking it. When you shake a Manhattan the vermouth tends to get foamy and change the flavor noticeably. Let the ingredients do the talking not the bartender! I like to use small batch rye whiskey because of its distinctive flavor characteristics. Also, choose a good bottle of rouge or sweat vermouth, such as Dolin. this can effect the flavor dramatically.
As a bartender, I would strongly advise using a good bitters and there are many. Good aromatic bitters tend to have a spicy quality, finishing with notes of clove. Try them all, they will last you a lifetime and can be used in many other creations. I also like to use a rye based bourbon because of it is full bodied and spicy. Perhaps, the most impressive impact you can make with this cocktail is the maraschino cherry.Try the real deal and you will be hooked! I always thought I hated maraschino cherries because of those unnaturally bright red things they try to pass off as edible in most bars. However, the imported (and more expensive) variety are well worth the investment. They have a dense texture and a refined flavor that you’ll never forget.
4 ounces small batch bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of bitters.
Can be stirred with a spoon and served on the rocks or strained into a martini glass. Garnish with real maraschino cherry!
Good ice is essential in making a great cocktail! Buy a silicone ice cube tray that actually produces ice in the shape of a cube. Experiment using different kinds of specialty water. Using good water for your ice makes a huge difference in the end result.