Kish and I continued our occasional sampling of new cocktails Friday night during a visit to Curio. This particular concoction is called a Salt and Pine. I ordered it because the name made was so intriguing, and made it sound like the drink must taste the sweaty floor on a basketball court (not that I know what that would taste like, of course.)
Believe it or not, this cocktail was really very good. Made with orange blossom water, vermouth, gin, lemon juice, lime juice, and salted honey syrup, finished with a lemon peel, and served in an icy, chilled glass, it had a light taste that was not too sweet. Very refreshing, indeed!
I’m not really a spirits drinker, but I’ve been enjoying our periodic forays into the world of artisanal cocktails. It’s fun to try something new.
What do the idle rich do in the modern world? Apparently, nothing. That’s why they’re called the idle rich.
In the old days, though, the rich and titled did do worthwhile things . . . like invent cocktails. Consider Count Negroni. In 1919, this Italian nobleman decided that the recent end of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic that was ravaging the world wasn’t going to keep him from experimenting with tasty combinations of different liquors and inventing a drink that he humbly named after himself. At least, that’s the takeaway I got from a bar coaster at Curio that announced that last Saturday was part of Negroni Week — and if you can’t trust a bar coaster for accurate historical information, what has the world come to?
I figured that if a Negroni was so noteworthy that it has a week named after it, it was worth a taste. For those of you, like me, who had never tried a Negroni, the basic concoction is made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, garnished with an orange peel. It’s an interesting drink, with a complex taste (and aftertaste) that includes some bitterness. It’s not a drink for everyone — but I can see where some people could grow to love it, and where the old Count might decide that he had come up with a winner.
Last night Kish and I stopped for a drink at Curio, the excellent German Village cocktail lounge connected to Harvest Pizzeria. Curio is a cozy joint with an interesting decor, a handful of private booths, and an extensive and interesting menu of concoctions, with servers and bartenders interested in providing a high-end cocktail lounge experience.
Boy, did she steer us in the right direction! Made with Old Tom gin, homemade raspberry juice, and some other ingredients, and topped with a fresh raspberry and a skewered piece of sugared ginger, the Curio version of the Floradora is a fantastic summer drink — light, fizzy, and flavorful. How did it ever fall out of favor as a popular cocktail option?
Normally I’m a wine guy. I shy away from distilled spirits because appalling incidents from my college days remain fresh in my memory.
But some nights, a cocktail sounds good. Last night we visited the Society Lounge in Cleveland, which makes many fine cocktails and maintains a well-stocked bar. When I learned that the barkeeps were locked in a Campari Cocktail Contest, with proceeds to benefit charity, I felt honor-bound to participate.
Our bartender invented a drink called The Enemy Within, with gin, Campari, Cocchi, and blackberry, garnished with lemon peel. It was excellent, looked good, and went down easy. The fact that it was named after a Star Trek episode didn’t hurt, either.
We’re in Bermuda for meetings, staying at the Fairmont Southampton. Bermuda is a quaint, charming island, surrounded by some beautiful water. We have a pretty view from our hotel room window, too.
We’ve been here before with this group, so our trip has a nice element of familiarity to it. Time for a Dark and Stormy! (For those of you who question whether it is cocktail hour, remember that Bermuda is an hour ahead of Eastern time.)
Last night Kish and I visited the Patterson House because Kish wanted to try a bacon-infused Old Fashioned, pictured above. The drink is made with Benton bacon-infused Four Roses bourbon, maple syrup, and pecan coffee bitters. Kish said it was “delish!”
The Patterson House is an amazing place that shows you what a cocktail lounge could be like if people just worked at it. It’s dark and quiet, with music playing in the background at just the right volume. Access is controlled, so you don’t have a bunch of people crowding in at the bar, shouting their orders. As a result, you actually can have a conversation, which isn’t possible at most bars I’ve been to recently. The place offers some well-made, lighter fare food options, too, to balance the alcohol consumption.
The bartenders and waiters clearly take great pride in their appearance and their craft. They work hard to make the perfect drink, and their list of drink options shows the kind of attention to detail that makes that goal feasible. From the spherical ice cubes to the vigorous shaking to the careful placement of an orange peel, this is the place to come if you want to savor a well-made drink and some pleasant conversation.
After much careful consideration, Kish has settled on a white cosmopolitan as our signature drink for this evening. Thanks to niece Amy for the suggestion!
Ingredients: 2 cups citron-flavored vodka; 3/4 cup Cointreau, 1 cup white cranberry juice, 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, lime wedges, whole cranberries, ice
Combine the vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice in a large pitcher filled with ice. Stir and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with whole cranberries and lime wedges. (Ingredients make about 8 cocktails.)
Kish likes this drink because it is tasty and looks very festive. With its red cranberries and green lime wedges, it has a definite holiday feel to it. Here’s hoping our guests tonight feel the same way!
Edited to add: The white Cosmos were a huge hit. Kish’s rep as a creative cocktail mixer continues to grow.