Thursday, March 19, 2015

Down Near the Ganges-via Morristown, NJ

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I’ve recently moved from my home of 14 years to an apartment.  Aside from the shock of going from the deep forest to a bustling city, my entire experience of living is enhanced by what others in the building are eating during their meals.  This couldn’t be more true than walking through a building where there is no outdoor air coming in, unless the apartment windows are open, nor cooking odors being wafted outside by expensive vent hoods.  There are none in this building.  So the smells of other people’s dinners is in my face for the three second intervals I experience as I pass by their apartments.  In my brief tour of culinary odors, I’ve found that a gentleman and his wife live just a few doors away.  They are clearly from India by the sweet smells of coriander, garlic, toasty naan breads, ghee, saffron and cardamom.  And to my delight as I walk by their apartment, they seem to love to cook beautiful meals.  Furthermore, whoever is cooking is extremely passionate, (at least in the 3 second whiff that I get walking past their door) about the art of Indian cooking.  I consider myself very lucky to have this nasal expression run through me and it has infused my mind with possibilities for cocktails.

Spring is coming soon, only in my brain evidently, because outside it is still rather chilly.  I need a cocktail to wake up my sense of taste, because clearly my sense of smell is being taken care of by my neighbors.  They are doing something that has awoken my sense of place and significance in the universe.  I want to work with new flavors and with this, re-awaken your palate as well. 

Down in the Caribbean, the water systems are suspect at best.  You should not drink the local water.  The same holds true for the ice, it is also made with the local water.  Until you get used to it, and you may never fully get used to drinking poison, you should drink coconut water.  Not only is coconut water good for your belly, but also it won’t make you sick like the tap water is certainly going to do.  And in a craft cocktail, where flavor and balance move from hand to hand seamlessly, the quality of the ingredients is most important.  I’ve found a new product that fits this lens of quality and their packaging shows me that they are concerned with the sanitary nature of their product as well.  “Amy and Brian” are responsible for the “All-Natural” Coconut Juice with Lime, a delicious mixture of young coconut water with fresh lime juice.  This is just gorgeous stuff and I couldn’t wait to make ice out of a can of this thirst quenching elixir. 

The physical reaction of the melting coconut and lime ice takes my cocktails to a higher level. This one is an amalgamation of surprise and delight… No doubt! 

I’m incredibly passionate about Neisson White Rhum Agricole from Martinique. It tastes like the rum of my memories.  The ones spent sailing the islands of the Caribbean on my family’s former Little Harbor yacht. These are the ones that choose not to ever forget because the combination of Rhum Agricole and frozen coconut water is imprinted in my brain.

Mixing coconut water (and lime juice) ice with this incredibly emotional Rhum Agricole is a match made only in the islands, where the water is dangerous enough before adding the fresh-100 Proof Rhum into the equation.  So that’s why you are supposed to take the “regular” ice out of your diet in the islands.  It’s just not safe to drink it!  Do your belly a favor!

Rhum Agricole is much better for you!  And that lovely can of coconut water and lime frozen into ice?  Let’s just say that your health will improve now that your stomach is feeling better.

Neisson White Rhum Agricole is a lovely expression of night blooming nicotine flowers, the sap of freshly cut- sweet cane juice and crushed stones.  The sugar cane that makes this Rhum so unique grew on the black volcanic soil next to active volcano named Mount Pelée.  

To this simple cocktail I add a few swigs of the Creole Bitters from the Bitter Truth.  Similar in color to Peychaud’s Bitters (red) these carefully made bitters are night and day different than Peychaud’s.  They are woven with fresh nutmeg and other Caribbean baking spices- perfectly geared to a cocktail with coconut water and lime- along with Rhum Agricole from Neisson.  Top this off with some sweetness in the form of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron (easily found) and mix the drink with your finger or a Boston Shaker.  I garnish this drink with an edible nasturtium flower.  A hand cut peel of orange or grapefruit makes for a durable finish.  I yearn for flavors like this in my drinks. They will wake up my palate in no time flat.  And my neighbors from India made me think in aroma.  Not a bad way to think!

Down Near the Ganges-via Morristown, NJ
Ingredients for two persons:
4 oz. Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc (unaged-white Rhum Agricole) 
3 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron
4 (2 inch) cubes of Coconut Water and lime ice, made from Amy & Brian’s All Natural Coconut Juice with lime
2 oz. unflavored Seltzer Water
4 shakes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

The night prior, fill a silicone ice tray with your coconut and lime water, freeze overnight

Chill two “Old Fashioned” glasses with water and regular bar ice, pour out when frosty

Add 1 (2 inch) cube of coconut water ice to your glass.
Meanwhile in a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with coconut and lime water ice
Add the Rhum Agricole
Add the Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron
Cap and shake hard to combine
Pour over the large coconut water/lime ice cube
Top with a bit of seltzer for fizz
Shake the Bitter Truth Creole Bitters over the top
Garnish with a wide grapefruit or orange zest
Add an edible tropical flower for fun!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!

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