Cafe Rumaro cold brew cocktail; A delicious pick me up before or after dinner

A cold brew cocktail perfect for before or after dinner

A cold brew cocktail perfect for before or after dinner

Cold brew coffee is one of my summer favorites, and surprisingly easy to make. Add your choice of whiskey, rum or vodka, cream and simple syrup and it transforms into as a delicious pick me up at cocktail hour.

But what if you’re looking for coffee inspiration after dinner to enjoy with a  creamy cheese, tiramasu or butter cookies? Forget the boring Irish coffee and try mixing up this cocktail inspired by a recent evening filled with overindulgence. It hits all marks as both a digestif and an after dinner treat. The silky smooth cold brew melds perfectly with aged rum, bitter-sweet Amaro and just a touch of cherry cordial. Not too sweet, just a hint of spice and roasted, caramelized flavor. Something to satisfy those wanting something a bit out of the ordinary.

Each spirit compliments the dark, rich cold brewed coffee.

Each spirit compliments the dark, rich cold brewed coffee.

Cafe Rumaro

1.5 oz Cold Brew, you may use your favorite such as Stumptown or use this easy recipe

1.5 oz Diplomatico Reserva Rum

1.5 oz Ramazzotti Amaro

1 oz Wisniak cherry cordial

1 oz selter

Garnish with one of my Boozy cherries

Add cold brew, Amaro, Rum, cherry cordial to tall cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir with long bar spoon and top with seltzer. Garnish with cherry. Enjoy!!!!

 

Spirit Tasting Notes-

Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Venezuela- Rich and full, with golden syrup, Demerara and a hint of treacle. This 8 years old rum, product of the Batch distillation process, has reassuringly weighty oak in the background – polished mahogany notes. Hints of cinnamon, over-ripe oranges or orange liqueur and bitter dark chocolate. Amazingly smooth, gentle texture – like being stroked with a silk glove. Chocolate velvetiness on the palate, with creamy oak spice and citrus notes counteracting the syrupy sweetness. A sweet cocoa caress, with shimmering spices.- producer

Ramazzotti Amaro, Piedmont, Italy- Ausano Ramazzotti created the formula for Ramazzotti in his small Milan laboratory in 1815. His proved an immediate success. The recipe contains neither colouring nor artificial additives and is still secret today. Its most distinctive flavours are the Sicilian sweet oranges, bitter oranges from Curaçao, star anise and cardamom.- producer

 Wisniak  Cherry Cordial, Poland-  A fine representation of the elegant old Polish cherry liqueurs. The advantageous climate and soil conditions in Poland yield succulent black cherry varieties. Their sweet, ruby-colored juice with aromatic flavor of an incomparable bouquet produce… WISNIAK! Its low alcohol content and unique taste are sure to please the most discriminating connoisseurs.” -producer

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Eating Raoul’s, NYC’s sexiest burger

raouls

Admittedly I’m a French bistro junkie. Over the years I’ve been to more bistro’s in NYC than I can count and I’ve a list of tried and true favorites I return to again and again. I remember visiting Raoul’s for the stellar steak frites and planned to return, however somehow it had dropped off my radar until I read a piece in Esquire recently claiming it served the best burger in America. Now you can find Raoul’s on many a top bistro list, but you’d be hard pressed to find it on any of NYC’s favorite burger lists. From writer Josh Ozersky’s description a revisit to this Soho classic was definitely in order.

Sparkling rose and house made chips to start things off

Sparkling rose and house made chips to start things off

For many years I hardly touched red meat but when I treated myself to a burger I had a 1 mile rule before and after dinner to walk off the guilt. Since it was a beautiful summer night, and considering the decadent review, I took a leisurely stroll to Soho after work wondering if I’d get to Raoul’s in time to snag one of the 12 daily orders of the famed burger available only at the bar, which doesn’t contain more than 8 or 10 seats. Being a Saturday night in NYC I was able to find a seat when I arrived at 6:15, way before the weekend dinner rush. After being greeted by Doug (one of the nicest bartenders I’ve had the pleasure to meet), I ordered a refreshing sparkling rose from Languedoc and sampled some of the slightly spicy house made chips given gratis at the bar. Truly a great pairing to start my night!

Doug explained that during the week they regularly sell out of the burgers at 6 pm (a mere 30 minutes after they open at 5:30) but on weekends the average is 7:30. Looking around every other bar patron there was quietly entranced over a plate of burger and fries so I decided to order and see what all the fuss was about.

Sexy burger heaven

Sexy burger heaven………

The fuss? Definitely. Worth. It. Some may think it bougie to dress a burger like this but it lives up to all it’s fancy trappings. This dish is true food porn, a divine guilty pleasure, like a lover you know is bad for you it tempts you to surrender your sanity and save your regrets for the morning after. The luscious brisket-heavy LaFrieda blend patty is topped with a dollop of triple-cream St. Andre cheese, wilted watercress, paper-thin slices of cornichon, slathered with just the correct amount of piquant pepper mayo and served a top a glistening brioche bun, along with a dish of cognac cream dipping sauce dotted with green peppercorns and crispy shoestring fries cooked in duck fat. Another glass of sparkling rose cut the richness of the meat and the cream sauce as well as being a good match with the fries.

Others may wax poetic about American cheese topped patties with gourmet bacon and house made ketchup but I’ve found my burger love. Now, if  I can just sneak back downtown at the correct time when I get a craving……

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Easy, boozy, cocktail cherries!

Easy, boozy, cocktail cherries!

Easy, boozy, cocktail cherries!

Cherries are abundant this year, and there’s nothing better than transforming them into a batch of boozy, sweet, cocktail cherries. Not only can you garnish your drinks with these beauties, the syrup used to store then in makes a fabulous addition to summer sippers and punches that cool you off when the temperature soars.

Homemade cherry pitter!

Homemade cherry pitter!

Without a proper pitter this can be challenging, but, with a little research I made a cherry pitter from an old fork and went to town on a giant bowl of fruit last week to fire up a batch of my favorite recipe. This pitter is simple to make, cheap, and it works! Find an old flimsy fork (the inexpensive type work best), bend the two outer tines down and create two little hooks with the inner ones and your set! Insert hook on bottom of fruit sliding up till you reach top of pit and gently pull out pit. Work over a bowl to catch any juices that may seep out.

Once you finish pitting the cherries the rest of the process is a piece of cake! This easy recipe will have you turning your nose up at ordinary maraschino cherries. Why settle for less than the best when you can make these with so little effort?

Boozy cocktail cherries

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 inch piece orange zest

1 pound sweet cherries, pitted

1 cup of maraschino liqueur  ( I use Luxardo, but any of these will work)

Place sugar, water, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon in large sauce pot and simmer on medium heat till stirring occasionally. Let liquid come to a slow boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add cherries to pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add maraschino liqueur. Let mixture come to room temperature uncovered. Transfer to sterile container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Boozy beauties!

Boozy beauties!

Use these in any sour, punch, juice based cocktail or to top a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Just don’t pop them in your kid’s Shirley Temple, remember, they’re for adults only!

 

 

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Killer Cucumber Cooler; The ultimate Summer cocktail for refreshment

Refreshingly delicious

Refreshingly delicious

I’ve been playing around with flavors for summer simple syrups using veggies and herbs. Cucumber syrup whether infused with herbal notes or on its own has come out as the clear winner for refreshment again and again! It can be mixed with citrus and sparkling wine, used as base in non alcoholic lemonade or mixed with white liquors such as Corn Whiskey, Vodka and Gin for a killer cocktail. One of my favorite syrup variations includes cucumber with the addition of fresh basil, it adds a beautiful aroma and subtle flavor that is simply delicious.

Thinking of spirits to mix with this magic elixir I experimented with my favorite Gin, G’Vine Florisian, a French offering made from  the subtle and rare green grape flower and neutral spirits distilled from grapes, G’Vine is delicate and floral, light and smooth, and is very mixable. It’s the Gin that changed the way I thought about Gin, often too strongly flavored for me.

With the dog days of summer on the way you may want to keep this special syrup on hand at all times. Mix up a pitcher of my cocktail, sit by the pool, on the roof or head for the beach and relax!

 

Florisian Cucumber Cooler

1 oz G’vine Florisian Gin

2 oz Cucumber Basil Syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

Splash St Germain liquor

Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine

Seltzer or Club Soda

Build over ice in shaker and strain into chilled wine glass filled with ice. Top with equal parts club soda and Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. I like Veuve Ambal sparkling but you may use any dry sparkler. Enjoy!

Cucumber  basil syrup

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1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 shredded Persian cucumbers

12 basil leaves cut in thin strips

Heat sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat till boiling and mixture turns clear. Add cucumber and basil and remove from heat. Stir to incorporate solids into syrup. Cover and let mixture come to room temp and refrigerate for 4 hours. Strain solids from liquid, make sure to press liquid from cucumbers. Will keep up to two weeks in fridge.

 

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Île de la Beauté Rosé, Dom. Fazi, 2013; A refreshing Summer steal from Corsica

A Summer steal under $10

A Summer steal under $10

Admittedly I’ve tasted very little Corsican wine, but, by chance my favorite go to refresher of last summer and this season both hail from this island in the Mediterranean Sea, to the west of Italy and to the southeast of the French mainland. Corsica is known for its rugged, steep terrain, savage beauty, ancient winemaking history and an assortment of native grapes including Sciaccarellu, a thick-skinned gem used to make meaty, peppery, reds and an aromatic, herbal rose that pairs well with many summer starters.

My current favorite summer sipper,  Domaine Fazi, IGP Ile de la Beute (translation, Island of Beauty!) Corsican Rose is made from a combination of Sciaccarellu – 35%; Merlot – 30%; Grenache – 25%, and  Cinsault -10%, all vinified separately using cold liquid stabilization and cool fermentation to preserve the unique flavors and aromas of the grapes. A truly magical mix of fruit that creates a simply delicious wine for under $10! With just a whisper of herbal spice, ripe berries and a long, balanced finish this relatively low alcohol (11.5%) wine is one to have on hand all season. This wine is just GOOD! Try it with everything from tapas to simple grilled dishes or with my tasty turkey burger below. I suggest ordering a case as at this price its sure to go fast. Available at Astor Wines, $9.96

 

Mediterranean Turkey Burger

The best turkey burger you'll ever eat!

The best turkey burger you’ll ever eat!

Makes 4 burgers

1 pound ground Turkey

1/4 cup finely chopped Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

2 med shallot finely chopped

1 teaspoon course grind pepper

1 teaspoon sumac spice,

1 teaspoon lemon zest

For garnish- 1 cup sautéed spinach, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

1 cup Mt. Vikos Feta cheese, crumbled and drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sriracha sauce to tast

e Lightly mix all spices and chopped veggies into ground turkey. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Form into burgers and cook on lightly oiled preheated grill, about 5 minutes for first side, flip and top with feta, cook additional 5 minutes. Do not push down on patty while cooking as you want a juicy burger! Place on warm toasted roll with sautéed spinach, Sriracha sauce and tomato. Pour some rose and enjoy!

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