This post comes to us courtesy of writer and mixologist Warren Bobrow.
The Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans just wrapped up a few short weeks ago. It almost seems like a blur between the early morning sips of carefully woven cocktails, liquid-driven lunches and afternoon tasting rooms. Evenings were spent at magnificent “spirited” dinners where each course was matched to tastes of interesting liquors, paired with modern and classic cuisines.
The distinctive language of New Orleans was punctuated by the visual metaphors of bartenders and mixologists from the world over, converging on their mother ship, the event known to all as the Tales.
You have to start prepping yourself early — as in months early — to participate in an event on the scale of the Tales. Not everyone is cut out to participate. If your idea of a cocktail only goes as far as a rum and coke, then maybe this event won’t be for you. But if you hold within your heart (and stomach) the passion for great mixology, the siren call will be loud and clear. Come home to New Orleans, let the humidity of this very European city embrace you and draw you deep inside her charms.
Over at the multitudes of tasting rooms there are drinks to be sampled from dozens of big names and not-so-big-name producers. This is the Fancy Food Show of liquor-fueled trade shows aimed directly at bartenders and mixologists.
Offsite there are other opportunities to taste unique and vibrant flavors — too many to do in one week? Perhaps yes, but it’s all about the personification of the cocktail as a literary illusion. There are stories to tell and maybe that’s what excites me about the Tales.
Using the best ice to create cocktails is essential at the Tales of the Cocktail. There even are seminars on proper ice techniques and new methods of cutting ice with chainsaws. That’s what I want in my cocktail. Hunks of chainsaw cut ice! There are companies that only make gourmet ice like Glace in California — turning out precious cones, spheres and cubes that speak clearly of the passion for great ice. Ice is important!
Cocktail from Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
Take a 300-pound block of ice and set carefully on a towel to prevent escape! Don’t have a block of ice so large? Go to a local ice house and ask them to chip off a hunk for you to work with.
If you’re nice, they might cut it up for you!
Use a small electric chainsaw with a clean blade. Wear eye protection! Ice is sharp! Cut extremely carefully with your saw. Wear heavy gloves and use an ice pick to separate large usable chips from small ones (less usable because they dilute a drink, rather than chill it).
To a cocktail shaker filled with fresh ice add:
2 shots of Bluewater USDA Certified Organic Vodka from Seattle, Washington
3 drops of Bittercube Bitters (I like their Cherry Bark Vanilla for this cocktail; you can also use the salubrious bitters from Bitter End or even the German-made bitters from Bitter Truth. Don’t have these? Try Angostura!)
Freshly squeezed lime, lemon and tangerine juice — about 1 tablespoon of each
Add all liquors and fruit juices and cube ice (save the chainsaw ice for the cocktail) to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until frost forms on the side of the shaker like the steam rising off a road after a summer thunderstorm.
Strain into a tall rocks glass with that perfect chunk of chainsaw ice. I prefer a long, tall ice cube rather than smaller chips.
Finish cocktail with exactly three drops of Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters and sip through to a finish that speaks of languid, humid days in New Orleans. Serves 1.
About the author: Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. Warren was an Iron Mixology Judge at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2012. He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011. Warren has published over three hundred articles in fewer than three years since his reinvention from executive assistant in private banking to author. Warren writes with a unique free-form style. He is a writer/mixologist on everything from cocktail flavoring and Biodynamic/organic wines to restaurant reviews. He writes for Edible Jersey, Voda Magazine, Foodista, Tasting Panel, Beverage News and Total Food Service Magazine. Warren is the “On Whiskey” columnist for OKRA Magazine in New Orleans part of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ on a Biodynamic farm.