Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bring Back The Cocktail Hour

I love to go to the library and check out new cookbooks and kind of get to know them a little before I make a purchase. A few weeks ago I came home with a stack of great books. A few diy/design books, and a stack of cookbooks. There were two in the bunch I loved enough to buy, one was Design Sponge and the other Mix Shake Stir a book all about cocktails.

What makes this book a keeper? First of all the book was beautiful to look at which is key for me as a visual artist. Second of all the recipes were from Danny Meyer’s restaurants. I have never been to any of his places in NYC but I do have his Union Square CafĂ© book that I use often and love.

I have been thinking a lot about cocktails lately. For this I have pinterest to thank as well as Coryanne my virtual friend over at Housewife Bliss. Coryanne and I have not yet met in person but we talk back and forth on social media. She is a really fun gal, check out her blog.

You see Coryanne is always posting different cocktail ideas and talking about the cocktail hour. It always sounds intriguing.  My morning ritual is to go on pinterest and check the home page for any inspiring colors, photography, or recipes. I have noticed some very beautiful modern cocktail ideas that have inspired me. So when I came across Danny Meyer's book it gave me a reason to try some new cocktail recipes and got me thinking about the whole cocktail culture.

The 1950’s was where my mind was wandering when thinking of the cocktail hour.  The wife would meet her husband at the door with a stiff one after a hard day at the office. Usually you picture June Clever types with their string of pearls and cinched 18 inch waist.

In the 50's the cocktails that were in fashion were the Tom Collins, Manhattan, gimlet, and martini of course.

Times have changed quite a bit in the cocktail arena. As with the food trends, cocktails follow and there are some very clever and fresh cocktails out there that I am just dying to try.
The other night I greeted my husband with this beautiful blood orange margarita. No pearls and no June Cleaver dress.  I totally love the sweet salt sour thing that margaritas have going for them. 

With cocktails today the innovation is endless. Fresh squeezed juices, infusions, herbs, fruit garnishes are where it is at. A bar in NYC even uses rocks (from Italy of course) infused with vermouth for their signature martini.

So even though we don’t necessarily have the glamour going like they did in the 50’s we can create our own version of the cocktail hour. Invite a few friends and give yourself a reason to try some new cocktail recipes. I have to say it is a lot of fun and really doing it well is a lot like cooking. Using the best ingredients you can afford and putting them together in the right proportions, choosing the right glass and garnish. Voila your having a cocktail party!

Blood Orange Margarita
from Blue Smoke Restaurant in NYC

1 lime wedge
coarse salt, preferred is Maldon, for rim of glass
2 oz tequilla, preferably Sauza Hornitos
1 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 oz orange liqueur, preferably GranGala
1/2 oz simple syrup*
3/4 oz Blood Orange puree**
1 lime wheel, garnish
1 blood orange wheel, garnish

Make simple syrup and blood orange puree. Take cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Take glass and rub rim with lime wedge. Put salt on small plate and turn glass upside down and gently rub until rim of glass is coated in salt. 

Pour all measured ingredients into shaker and shake. Using strainer strain over ice filled glass and garnish with lime and blood orange wheel. 

*simple syrup is made by putting equal quantities of sugar and water in a pan on the stove. Boil until sugar melts. I used 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water. 

**blood orange puree is 4 blood oranges, peeled, segmented, seeded, 1 Tbsp simple syrup, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice. Combine all in blender until smooth. 

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