Tuesday, July 14, 2009

art of choke

1 oz White Rum
1 oz Cynar
1/8 oz Lime Juice
1/8 oz Demerara Syrup (2:1)
1/4 oz+ Green Chartreuse (to taste)

Muddle a mint sprig with the other ingredients. Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

After the Martin Miller cocktail reception for the bloggers on Tuesday night last week, Andrea and I decided to go out to Cure. We ignored the advice to take a taxi out there and decided to walk. Not sure how far down St. Charles before we should turn to get onto Freret Street, we turned early and enjoyed a nice walk... um, through what we later learned are the Magnolia Projects. I cannot tell if it was years of experience walking through bad parts of Boston and a summer walking through all of Manhattan or just plain luck, but we made it through unscathed save for a few comments hurled at us. One of the bartenders gave us not only major props for walking the 4 miles from the French Quarter to the bar but for seeing the sights. Honestly, we were more disturbed about the suicidal cockroaches that would dash under out footfalls on the sidewalk. Apparently, the Magnolia Projects are not what they used to be during the pre-Katrina days, but the Crips writing and other gang evidence was still evident.

So after an hour walk, it was definitely time for a drink! Cure had their normal menu plus a special smaller one just for Tales of the Cocktail. The latter one was taken directly from their Rogue Cocktails book which helped to promote its sale (part of the reason we bought it). Bartender Maksym Pazuniak made my first drink, the Art of Choke, from the shorter cocktail list. The rum and Cynar pairing seemed to bring out different aspects from the Cynar than we have tasted when paired with other spirits. The drink had a surprising amount of mint flavor and it worked rather well with the Chartreuse. Usually mint is more of a smell than a taste, but perhaps the pairing with Chartreuse and/or Cynar promoted some synergy on the taste buds. The Rogue book cites bartender Kyle Davidson as the source and describes the drink as follows, "Picture yourself in the limestone-walled courtyard of an Italian villa off the coast of the Riviera. You are surrounded by fragrant herbs and flowers, and the sea air is blowing gently. The sun is bright, but it's not hot, and you have nothing to do all day but relax and savor the sensations all around you. Drinking this cocktail is kind of like that if somebody suddenly punched you in the stomach just as you were beginning to doze off in the sun. In a good way." While the quantity of drinks in the book is not grand, the quality of the recipes is high and edgy and the text is replete with a similar sense of humor as the Art of Choke's entry.

For my second drink, I asked Rhiannon Enlil to make their Black and Blue Grass off of their regular menu. Sazerac Rye, Averna, Aperol, Peychaud's and Angostura Bitters with a grapefruit twist. This Black Manhattan-like drink was pre-batched so I did not get a recipe and it was served on the rocks (I later found it posted on BarNotes and made it here). After that drink, we decided to walk home through the safer Garden District -- great scenery, but rather uneventful save for a kitty who wanted to follow us home.

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