Summer’s long gone in Seattle, OK? I do not mourn the passage of time and seasons. Instead, I celebrate. How? By shifting my beverage style and preference towards Cognac cocktails. This is one (of many) reasons why I’m fond of the new book Savory Cocktails by my friend Greg Henry. Ulysses Press was kind enough to send me a copy. What do savory cocktails entail? Well, you might encounter one (or more) of these flavor sensations while mixing up a drink from Greg’s book:
Although not a bartender by trade, Greg is the excellent, accoladed food blogger behind Sippity Sup–Serious Fun Food. And he often blogs in his bathrobe. (Disclosure: Gleaned from the acknowledgements rather than first-hand experience. Though if Greg would have me over to his place for cocktails, I’d gladly take his blogging fashion cues.) Greg is smart and curious enough to reach out to bartenders near and far for inspiration and guidance in creating Savory Cocktails. And, as a cook, he brings a lot of unique and (yes, of course, duh) savory flavors to the table/bar. Aren’t you curious to pick up a cocktail book that employs and deploys these kind of ingredients for your imbibing pleasure? Peruse and contemplate:
Clove, agave, habenero, beets, juniper berry, rhubarb, green tea, chamomile tea, yuzu bitters, Hawaiian sea salt, butternut squash, pink peppercorns, savory (the herb, naturally), fennel (save the fronds!), muddled tomatoes, black truffles (!!!), porcini mushroom powder (!!! times infinity), and beef broth. Yes, BEEF BROTH.
Naturally, I wanted to sample many, if not all of these cocktail creations. But my home bar consists of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and watermelon beer. Not to despair! I turned to my cocktail confidant and Sun Liquor Lounge Bar Manager Chelsea to help me out. For the sake of simplicity (and strength) I picked out two Cognac-themed cocktails for her to make. And like a great chef or mixer of drinks, sometimes you don’t have all the ingredients on hand so you have to improvise a bit. I e-mailed Chelsea the (basic) ingredient list of the duo of cocktails I wanted her to make, and let her run wild with what she had on hand. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Savory Cocktails to check out Greg’s instructions for constructing a French Green Dragon, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate the adventurous spirit(s) and creativity. (BTW, Chelsea’s FGD is pictured at the top of this post.)
The top of the coaster shows the original ingredients/ratios and the bottom shows Chelsea’s twist. And I scribbled in the “2 dashes Angostura”, which was her a la minute tweak.
Cocktail number two? Silk and Gators. An absence of Sherry took this cocktail in a darker, more brooding direction with Port. And a chance for Chelsea to demonstrate a most dramatic, whooshing of en fuego citrus oil as the grand finale. This will warm you on those chilly fall nights. It has heft. And, once again, you can see there was a few last-minute adjustments to the recipe.
Savory Cocktails goes into more depth concerning the specific, preferred ingredients and includes step-by-step technique. Which is useful for both accomplished cocktail mixers and those who struggle to make a decent gin and tonic. (Not surprisingly, I fall in the latter category. But I can pour you a mean sparkling rosé. Though I don’t know if you can call a pink, bubbly wine “mean”.)
As Greg says in the introduction to a cocktail of his own invention, The Chaparral, “Cocktails, even the best of them, often rely on those that came before.” And while Savory Cocktails is certainly a nod to that tradition, its culinary bent and original contributions provide a forward-looking guide to your future cocktailing pleasure. JAMESON*
*Inside joke for faithful SippitySup readers.