On Friday, make sure you check out my friend Kam Miller’s blog, Glass Half-Full in Hollywood. Kam is an experienced TV and film writer and offers fabulous advice straight from Hollywood’s movers and shakers. And speaking of shakers, she also features Friday cocktails on the blog. I’m guest-blogging there Friday about Tales of the Cocktail, the convention in New Orleans from which I just returned (and from which I’m still recovering). While I was there, I helped The Times-Picayune cover the event with blogs, photos and videos.
Let me start by recommending “Holidays with Dino” at Melbourne Civic Theatre, starring the incomparable Alfie Silva, who absolutely channels Dean Martin in this breezy, fun Christmas show. It’s a tribute to Dino and the TV hilarity of that era.
Alfie and his co-star Henry Caraballo, who’s a scream as Sammy Davis Jr., were kind enough to co-star in my hubby’s entry into the Sinatra/Drinking Made Easy cocktail competition. I filmed the video, and here it is. The drink, Come Fly With Me Ring-a-Ding-Ding, is really good, too!
I posted a gallery from this year’s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, featuring a smattering of photos from various events.For some of my cocktail photos from this trip, I used a little LED video light to add drama and translucence to the drink. It drastically changed the look of some cocktails, which might seem pale yellow or green in natural light, and then suddenly spooky and gemlike with the spotlight. This is an example from the Bombay Sapphire gin luncheon at restaurant August.
I love taking photos of cocktails with a macro lens – for many of those close-up food and drink pix, I’m using a 105mm Nikkor. It’s one of my favorite lenses; I love the sharpness, the low depth of field and the way it brings out details, like the coriander in this pretty cocktail (below) from the Pama Popstars and Bubbles Brunch.
People’s reaction to this drink, dubbed the Captain & Tennille, was interesting; two of my friends, both with sophisticated palates, were turned off by the herbs. This may have to do with the flavor debate centered around cilantro (which is the same as coriander, before it grows flowers and leaves). I once had a friend who hated cilantro so much, he wouldn’t get near parsley, either, because it reminded him of the former. Cilantro/coriander tastes soapy to some people, perhaps because of a genetically inherited palate.There’s always the possibility that a perfectly prepared drink or dish will turn off someone just because of the way her tongue is configured. But I loved this cocktail’s complexity, and apparently, I’m perfectly happy with coriander. The herbal flavor helped undercut the drink’s fruit-and-champagne sweetness.
Here’s the recipe for the cocktail, so you can taste for yourself:
CAPTAIN & TENNILLE
1 slice fresh ginger
10 coriander leaves
1 1/2 ounces Absolut Citron
1/2 ounce PAMA
1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
1 ounce fresh apple juice
Muddle ginger and coriander leaves in the base of a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake well over ice. Add champagne. Rock gently. Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a coriander flower.
Meanwhile, the gin allowed the mixologists to play extensively with sweet and savory flavors, as in the gazapacho-like Red and Yellow Snapper that started the meal. Herbal flavors were abundant. And all of it was beautiful.
Tales is a flurry of tasting rooms, fabulous meals, seminars and other events, a party where you can actually learn something. If you want to.
Hubby just made a Puhi Split. This sounds more gymnastic than it is. It’s a wonderful cocktail with macadamia nut liqueur, dark rum, Kahlua and cream. Oh, and fresh banana, blended with ice. Amazing. He found the recipe on Tiki Central. That Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut Liqueur is serious girl-drink goodness, but the guys like it, too.
It’s been a busy week for cocktail press releases in the mail. I know, these recipes are just designed to push certain kinds of liquor, but don’t they look good? Of course, I am somewhat suspicious of “elixir”-colored drinks, as the recipes designate, and I don’t generally consider Easter a big drinking holiday, but some would argue that every holiday is, especially those spent with large, dysfunctional families. I found at least one of these recipes, the Blue Egg, elsewhere online under a different name. The Blue Egg features vodka; Green Egg, absinthe; and Pink Egg, rum. What do you think of strangely colored drinks? I love Beachbum Berry’s take on the Mai Tai: “A Mai Tai should not be red. A Mai Tai should not be blue.” But judge for yourself; here’s the Green Egg: Combine 2 ounces Lucid Absinthe; 0.5 ounce lime juice; 1 ounce Coco Lopez; and Teal Elixir #5 in a shaker with ice. Strain into a tall rocks glass with ice and top with Lucid Absinthe. Garnish with a lemon, lime, and maraschino cherry.
Also this week, I got a press release congratulating me, because at last, in Florida, Bakon Vodka is available. It tastes like – yeah, you guessed it. They recommend it for Bloody Marys.
Another press release offered the Bringing Home the Bacon: Rim a shot glass with maple syrup and cover rim with bacon bits. Fill the shot glass with Hornitos Anejo (or the tequila you prefer). Simple enough. Bacon. Not just for breakfast anymore. Or maybe tequila is for breakfast? You decide.
I’m in the process of doing our taxes, which means reviewing a year’s worth of expenses, and they can be kind of disturbing when grouped into categories. Especially “Restaurants.” One of our credit cards had enough restaurant expenses that they could be traded for a small used car. Granted, many of these were accrued as I reviewed restaurants for Florida Today, but given I had a limit even on those expenses, it still means we dine out a lot. I think as I become self-employed we will still enjoy dining out, but I hope we’ll also have time for more gourmet prep at home. And I still love shooting pictures of food and drink. This photo was from a holiday/champagne cocktail shoot in FT’s television studio.