Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Did You Hear The One About The Margarita On St. Patty's Day?: Patron Margarita Of The Year Event Recap and Tropicante Margarita Cocktail Recipe

It's that time of year again when green prevails and shamrocks bloom.  St. Patrick's ushers in, if not a patented Irish pride and acknowledgment, a certifiable reason to drink to one's unashamed delight.  Now while the Irish are known for their whiskies and gins, this here modern gent will toast the day with that spirit that will get me into the intoxicated mood to say "I don't care if I'm Jamaican, kiss me regardless!"  That spirit is tequila.

Now while there are many things that start a great party, one of the sure-shot party starters are tequila shots.  So when I combine festivity with the herbal rich crispness of tequila, I can't help but think that it's not a party till the Patron is popped.  How ironic that the makers of Patron also know how to throw a great party as well.  A couple weeks ago for National Margarita Day, Patron hosted a grand party on New York's Westside to introduce this year's selections for their annual Margarita Of The Year Contest while celebrating the beloved sweet and tart cocktail.  

On hand adding to the festivities of the day were the seven contenders for the contest all offering up freshly-made delicious variations inspired by a curated selection of great ingredients for their cultivated offering of a margarita.  The global spin of flavors was pretty epic from the English Garden Margarita to the Pacific Rim Margarita to the Mumbai Margarita to my personal favorite, The Tropicante Margarita which incidentally happens to fit in splendidly if honoring green is your St. Patty's thing or you just desire a pretty amazing margarita.

The Tropicante Margarita was a standout for me because of the flavor and textural harmony.  Using Patron's Reposado and Citrónage Mango, this cocktail delved into flavors involving heat, tartness, sweetness, island life that were all rounded-out by the surprising creaminess added by the fresh avocado.  

Saint Patrick's Day is this Friday, March 17.  Check out the photos from Patron's Margarita Of The Year Contest and see the recipe for the Tropicante Margarita below and with whatever you choose to imbibe in this St. Patty's Day, please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly.

Created by Alex Kady and served at 12 @ Madison in Denver

1.75 oz Patrón Reposado
.5 oz Patrón Citrónge Mango
.5 oz Light agave syrup
1 oz Fresh lime juice
.25 Medium avocado
+ Short dash celery bitters
+ Short dash grapefruit bitters
+ Chipotle chili salt* (.5 Cup of salt : 1 T chipotle powder)
+ Sliced mango for garnish

1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.
2. Scoop out half of one side and add to cocktail tin, mashing with spoon until soft.
3. Add liquid ingredients to the tin, use a spoon to release avocado from the side of the tin, and “dry shake” the contents (without ice) until the avocado is broken up and emulsified.
4. Rim a double old fashioned glass with chipotle chili salt* and fill with ice.
5. Add ice to shaker tin and shake vigorously until well chilled.
6. Use a mesh strainer to “fine strain” the cocktail into the iced glass.
7. Garnish with a ribbon of mango.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Finest Hour Is Definitely Blue: Blue Hour Tequila Tasting Review

It occurs to me as I get older that there is something to the 'old and crotchety' label.  Let's clean that up a tad!  The 'more mature and comfortably set in your ways' label makes a lot of sense now.  You live life and experience what makes it good, what you will and won't tolerate and what makes it all memorable.  I'd like to pull positives out of the long-considered negatives and say that it's not about learning what is great and thinking that the whole word has to comply lest you get ornery with the world.  Rather, it more about learning what is great and sharing what you know since you are impassioned by your well-seasoned understanding that to share a good thing is more important than leaving folks uninformed in the dark.

With that said, I have discovered a simple wonderful tequila brand that I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing last week at an intimate tasting sponsored by the Barterhouse here in New York City's Flatiron neighborhood.  La Hora Azul (Blue Hour) Tequila is a fresh and exciting tequila brand that is labored over with skill and patience which ironically leaves it with a taste that is clean and almost as refreshing as water is to the parched.  
What I discovered with Blue Hour Tequila is a simple story with an extraordinary outcome.  Their agave collectors pick it at sunrise/sunset (dawn/twilight) or 'the blue hour' when temperatures, light and humidity are at the best for the plant picking.  It's this commitment at the very onset before initial distilling that inspires Blue Hour throughout it's whole tequila-making process.  It's clean and organic with a characteristic premium nod that makes it a true high-brow stand out in the muddled world of tequilas.

My first sampling was the Blanco, poured from the skillfully executed artisanal and patiently labored-over Blue Hour branded glass bottles, that was served over ice with a sprig of mint.  The youngest of the Blue Hour's trio was fresh, crisp and clean with the presence of the mint serving to add a distinctive element of herbal freshness that allowed the purity of the Blanco to shine through.  The next was the Reposado, the middleman, paired with a couple of cucumber slices. It was smoky and, while it had more depth than the Blanco, had a smooth flavor that created a pleasant lingering.  The third, and not usually my favorite, became my instant favorite with the Blue Hour offering.  Their most-seasoned Anejo was just perfect without the heaviness one would expect from an anejo and, when paired with the orange slice in the glass, was full-flavored and incredibly soothing without that  weight of a more-seasoned tequila.  This particular fact was quite remarkable as it was explained that by Mexican tequila grading standards, Blue Hour's Anejo is actually at a double-anejo grade quality.  That really lent credibility to the fact that this is a pure, untainted and honest tequila that in my opinion undeniably placed it at the forefront of noteworthy and top shelf tequilas that should be housed by more establishments in creating a proper and ideal tequila flavor profile for tequila connoisseurs.  

What I was also very glad to be introduced to was the pairing of the Blue Hour Tequilas with fine chocolates.  At first, my skepticism got the better of me, but my flame for tequila and love affair with chocolate had quickly turned my skepticism into intrigue.  On hand at the event was Milène Jardine Chocolatier offering simply amazing artisanal chocolate truffles that when paired with the clean Blue Hour Tequilas became a sweet, exotic, palette-cleansing decadence that offered up a new dessert profile for after-dinner or occasions.  Sourcing inspiration from international cuisines, Milène Jardine Chocolatier has flavors like Sanctuary, a ginger, turmeric and black pepper truffle inspired from Japan/India, Goddess, a hibiscus and mint truffle inspired by Egypt and Serenity, a whiskey and sea salt truffle inspired by Ireland.  

An extremely fine tequila that you'll just want to keep streamlined with minimal garnishes to preserve the flavor and fine chocolate truffles that are as labored over, rich and thought-out as the unleaded approach to the tequila sums up this tasting.  The result of one is purity and the result of the other is decadence.  A match made in heaven.   Blue Hour Tequila is becoming more readily available at your finer restaurants.  Please visit BlueHourTequila.com for more information and cocktail recipes and visit www.MileneJardine.com to experience those decadent truffles and as always please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Luck Of The Pour: Tequila Herradura X Eric Krasno "Luck Is Earned" Launch Event

It can be kind of overwhelming to think how much actually goes on in this city on any given night.  The galas only known to the invitees, the launches only privileged to those who've rsvp'ed and the tucked away performances unbeknownst to the passersby only a few feet outside the door.  We could walk right by a celebrities apartment and not even know it or, as was the case last week in the Flatiron district, have our beloved former President Obama only doors away at a Starbucks the day you decided to enjoy a Brooklyn Roasters.  

The point is that in this great city of mine you never know what you can discover that can add to your   memorable and magical New York Story.  Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of discovering the smooth sounds of a patented mash of jazz and guitar while enjoying the best of one of my favorite spirits, tequila.  The famed Cutting Room hosted an evening with deep sounds of Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Eric Krasno and the smooth cocktails from Tequila Herradura.  

The collaboration which comes on the release of Tequila Herradura's new "Luck Is Earned' campaign for Spring was a match made in heaven that showcased the reward of dedication and commitment to craft and vision.  This was evident in the rise, ride and discography that Eric Krasno broke down for the intimate audience as we sipped curated cocktails made from the original makers of reposado and blanco tequilas, Herradura.  Check out the recipe for one of the signature cocktails created for the event and the recap video below:   

The collaboration which comes on the release of Tequila Herradura's new "Luck Is Earned' campaign for Spring was a match made in heaven that showcased the reward of dedication and commitment to craft and vision.  This was evident in the rise, ride and discography that Eric Krasno broke down for the intimate audience as we sipped curated cocktails made from the original makers of reposado and blanco tequilas, Herradura.  Check out the recipe for one of the signature cocktails created for the event below: 

1.5 oz Tequila Herradura Silver
0.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
0.75 oz Agave Nectar Liquified (4:1 ratio)
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Lime Peel (Garnish)

Shake ingredients and strain into a champagne flute. Top with prosecco. Garnish with lime peel.

Eric Krasno's "Blood From A Stone" is now available on i-Tunes and Amazon and he is currently on tour, check the tour dates here.  Tequila Herradura varieties are available now at your finer alcohol and spirit retailers and as always please remember to drink responsibly.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Silver Kisses, Loving Thymes: Valentine's Day Patrón Silver Cocktail Recipe

I suppose without Valentine's Day we would just have an unusual amount of celebration and sales on Presidents and Groundhog Day.   It is February's sweet spot day today.  While most people may tell you that it's just another day and that we should never be so busy that we have to pencil love in on a calendar, I prefer to look at it through a different pair of lenses.  Or perhaps through two spirit-filled glasses.

So this is the day that you either clink two glasses together and toast your love or clasp the stem of one glass and drown out the state of no love.  For whatever you choose to do today I should hope that you'll do it no less celebratory even if there's just a party of one.  You may think champagne in tall flutes, but a well-curated cocktail can be just as appropriate if made with love by your own hands for that some special or made with special ingredients, such as pomegranate syrup, by you for you.  

Speaking of pomegranate syrup or pomegranate molasses, having that handy doesn't just provide a nice half sweet half tart ingredient, but also opens up your bar to more palatable possibilities for your selection of spirits.  Here's a great recipe that had a really great two-fold flavor profile of tart pomegranate and citrusy lemon, the sweet ushering-in of a vibrant syrup and a florally rich honey, the herbal savory bite of fresh thyme and the robust flavor of the always incredibly smooth and perfect Patrón Silver Tequila.   

Love Of A LifeThyme

1    ounce    Patrón Silver Tequila
1/2 ounce    Lemon Juice
1/4 ounce    Pomegranate Syrup or Pomegranate Molasses
1/4 ounce    Honey
Fresh Thyme
2 Dashes of Peychaud's Bitters

Add all the ingredients into a shaker.  Shake then strain into a glass that can have an optional spritz/drop of absinthe.  Another optional, but yummy move, is to float some Prosecco on top then finally garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.

Salaciously satisfying for the single cosmopolitan or appropriately romantic for the dining couple.  For whatever fuels your motivation this Valentine's Day, as always, please remember to drink responsibly.   Happy Valentine's Day folks!