Cocktail of the Month: Interesting Cocktails for Mature Connoisseaurs
BY SUSAN HORNIK
“If we’re very lucky, we age like a great wine, gaining with time balance, depth, and finesse.” –wine vintner, Kathryn Walt Hall.
It’s no wonder that people are more discriminating with the kinds of beer, spirits or wine they enjoy drinking. With so much to try, large food/drink events like The Los Angeles Times’ The Taste, and the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival increasing in popularity, there are numerous opportunities to try something new.
Bombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward does not think age plays as much importance in 2015. “It is more of a mindset. In the past, consumers in their 50’s have found a drinking routine and stayed with that drink of choice forever, such as a Bombay Sapphire Gin Martini. Recently, with the combination of added freedom (a generation of having families in their mid-20’s and their children have ‘flown the nest’) and social pressure to stay younger, consumers in their 50’s are actually more experimental with drink choices and will take the bartenders recommendation. Now, you will see them drinking Negronis, 50:50 Martinis (equal parts Bombay Sapphire and Martini Dry Vermouth) and exciting variations on the Collins with local or seasonal fruits/herbs. They have the financial freedom to be experimental with their drink choice and a seasoned palate to appreciate them too.”
Having fresh ingredients in a cocktail is very attractive to people to people over 50. “After growing up with Julia Childs making gourmet food look easy on television and then Alice Waters first showcasing the benefits of artisan, farm-to-table food, baby boomers desire for healthier, more flavorful food has fueled the popularity of urban farmer’s markets,” noted J.J. Weiner, beverage director at The Culver Hotel.
Weiner continued: “These days, we see that trend reflected in the cocktail choices. We find that our 50 + guests look for craft cocktails on a lounge menu, and are delighted to see the increasing use of herbs and other fresh ingredients in their drinks.”
Weiner says he became interested in market cocktails a few years back while working as a mixologist. “I would go to the Culver City Farmers Market every Tuesday and buy opal basil for a mojito or farm fresh eggs for a pisco sour.”
Back at The Culver Hotel, the chef prepares a house-made lavender syrup to be utilized in one of the signature cocktails at the Lobby Lounge, the Lavender Collins.
Now that Kathleen Delgado is in her 50’s, she is into more “refined” sipping. “I stopped caring about less calories or diets now that I’m the most comfortable with myself as I’ve ever been. Nothing too sweet on the palate but sipping fine bourbon or tequila really resonates with my taste buds. I still love my red wine most of all and plan something along those lines soon. Everything in moderation is best suited to this or any age. I don’t put any limitations on myself in any aspect of my life and never view things from a “this age” perspective; I just enjoy.”
At her antique French farmhouse home decor and lifestyle boutique, Vintageweave, Delgado has started a liquor education series. “I once read that when two people really and truly connect they will often have idea sex. I met spirits journalist Brad Japhe and was immediately drawn to his vast knowledge and this is our idea baby: Spirits Unplugged, a series of education soirées. We bring people together in a fun way with adult libations in a party setting, utilizing all the vintage table decor I love.” A portion of the series planned: Bow ties & Bourbon, Monocles & Mezcal, Tiaras & Tequila, whisky & wigs, absinthe & ascots.
People over 50 have showed an increased interest in whiskey-related drinks, said Ireland’s Stephen Teeling, owner of Teeling Whiskey. “We have done bartender education so that our over 50 consumers can learn more about whiskey. The company recently unveiled the new Teeling Single Malt Whiskey. “Single Malt is made 100 per cent from a range of different ages of malted barley, including malt whiskey distilled 24 years ago. The vatting in Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon casks leads to an Irish Malt whiskey with complex personality and character. The Teeling Single Malt is vibrant with notes of melon, figs, toffee and lemon on the nose, a balance mix of dry fruits, citrus, vanilla, spice and clove flavors and a long finish with sweetness in harmony with dry tannins,” Teeling said.
“Wine is a great companion with food, and in moderation, it’s great for your health,” said Anttonio Rollo, president of Sicilia DOC, a consortium of wine producers developed to help get people to think differently about Sicilian wine and to protect and promote the region.” Life is too short to not have a glass of wine with your meal!”
According to their statistics, the U.S. recently surpassed France and Italy in the consumption of wine.
The Los Angeles Times’ The Taste, and the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival both featured a dynamic assortment of bartenders, alcohol brand ambassadors and mixologists — otherwise known as spirits professionals, an apt name, considering spirits were high throughout the weekend. (The spirits being served probably helped!).
At the LA Food & Wine Festival, chef Yousef Ghalaini from FIG in Santa Monica made charred Mediterranean octopus with crispy pork belly and rice. “The spices we used pair well with all the wines being offered today,” said Ghalaini.
While people over 50 often express concern about the calories in alcohol, cocktails with less sugar and other ingredients like agave nectar, coconut water, natural sweetener fruits all have lower calories as a result, said Chris Kramer, general manager/mixologist of The Larchmont restaurant, an upscale craftsman bungalow restaurant which attracts numerous Hollywood A listers.
“My philosophy is perfect ingredients, the freshest vegetables, fruit and herbal things I can forage from the farmers market, no simple syrups and no sugars. I use honey and liqueurs to do the sweetening; orange juice, for example, is a sweetener to me,” said Kramer.
Kramer “puts a strong lean on modernism while keeping an eye on tradition” with his bar attendees in the over 50 demo. “I believe in educating guests on ingredients and spirits, I look for new ingredients constantly. One of my favorite customers is one who returns and always asks me ‘what new things have you got for me?!’ This inspires me! I love the enthusiasm building around mixology today, people are getting back to the 1920’s, when cocktails were appreciated for quality and craftsmanship.”
2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
4 oz Heirloom tomato juice
3 dashes worcestershire sauce
1 oz. lemon juice
1 dash smoky hot sauce (more upon request)
Combine gin, heirloom tomato juice, and lemon juice. Add ice. Stir in 3 dashes of worcestershire sauce + smoky hot sauce to desired level of spiciness. Garnish with candied bacon.
2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz. lime juice
.5 oz Peach nectar
3 sprigs muddled Mint
Top with ginger bee
Chris Kramer’s (celebratedspirits.com) “ juicy little baby” for fall is called “Made in the Shade.
Here’s the recipe:
.5 oz honey
Half a Granny Smith Apple and two cucumber wheels
Muddle all contents in a shaker
Shake with ice then strain into Collins glass over ice
Use a thin slice of apple and mint for garnish
Lavender Collins Recipe
3Ž4 ounce Lavender Simple Syrup
3Ž4 ounce lemon juice
3Ž4 ounce Crème de Violette
1 3Ž4 ounce Vodka
Combine lavender syrup, lemon juice, crème de violette and vodka in a cocktail shaker. Top with ice, shake vigorously. Strain into an iced collins glass. Top with sparkling water andstir. Garnish with fresh lavender bud.
The Tipperary (Single Serving)
50ml Teeling Single Grain 20ml
Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica, Dolin or similar)
10ml Green Chartreuse
2 dash Peychauds bitters (5 Litre Batch, 60 portions)
3000ml Teeling Single Grain 1200ml
Sweet Vermouth 600ml Green Chartreuse
120 dash Peychauds Bitters
To Prepare Drink – Add all ingredients (or 80ml of batch) to mixing glass with ice and stir until required dilution is achieved – Strain into a chilled small coupe or Nick and Nora style glass (5oz size) – Garnish with an expressed lemon peel
The Tipperary is an old pre-prohibition cocktail that first started to appear in cocktail books around the early years of the last century. There are two variations listed in the Savoy Cocktail book, one that is similar to the drink we know today but with all ingredients in equal parts, the second version is really strange, being an amalgamation of orange juice, grenadine, french vermouth, dry gin and green mint.
Said Teeling: “A recipe for the cocktail can be originally found in a book by Hugo R. Ensslin, in his 1916 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks, as well as in Harry McElhone’s 1922 text, ABC of Mixing Cocktails. The drink is a variation on another classic cocktail called the Bijou which shares similar ingredients but replaces Irish whiskey with gin. For a modern palate, we change the proportions from those in the Savoy Cocktail book to make it more whiskey led and include a couple of dashes of cocktail bitters. The cocktail is inextricably linked to the classic 1912 song, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” however it is thought that the song is predated by the cocktail, according to Albert Stevens Crockett in the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Regardless, the song is still linked with the cocktail thanks to the shared name. Concerning the song: it was written in by Jack Judge in 1912. Outside of that, we know that Judge was the offspring of Irish parents, and that John McCormack helped contribute to its’ worldwide popularity by recording it in 1914. The song has the rumours that it was created for a five shilling bet, and was performed at a concert hall the night after it was produced. Reports say that the song was sung during the First World War by an Irish regiment, where it was adopted by other regiments shortly thereafter.