Archive for polynesian palaces

Old Fashioned in ChinaTown

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by cocktailvultures

chinatown new logoWe were comparing youthful experiences with alcohol and discovered that it was not uncommon to have your first mixed drink in a Chinese restaurant. Not a sleek, spare sushi bar or even a Szechuan café — no, it was a quasi-Polynesian Chop Suey Palace with tired décor and waiters in threadbare red jackets who didn’t ask for ID.

If we could walk back into that dark and dreamy place in the Chinatown of our youth and get behind the bar, this is the drink we’d put together. Serve it with a pu-pu platter or your next bag of take-out. Try ordering one in a good cocktail bar — we think your bartender will be intrigued when you ask for “an Old-Fashioned in Chinatown.”

To an empty shaker, add:

1 heaping teaspoon canned Mandarin Oranges
2-3 chunks canned Pineapple
2 Maraschino Cherries
1 barspoon maraschino cherry syrup
3 ounces Bourbon
1 ounce homemade ginger syrup (recipe to follow)
1 heavy dash Angostura Orange Bitters
Pinch 5 Spice Powder

Muddle well. Add ice.

Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a cherry and pineapple spear. Another tiny whisper of 5 Spice Powder over the top of the drink adds fragrance.

Homemade Ginger Syrup

Take a generous “hand” of unpeeled fresh ginger and chop it thoroughly — alternately, hack it up and throw it in a food processor. Measure the result and add it to a saucepan along with 1.5 times the same amount of water (for example: if you wind up with 1 cup of ginger, use 1.5 cups of water). Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Let cool for a minute or two, then strain and measure the remaining water (I strain mine into a large heat-worthy measuring bowl). Add an equal amount of sugar (1 cup water gets 1 cup sugar) to the warm ginger-water and keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. If you’re not going to use it right away, add a jot of white rum or vodka as a preservative and refrigerate. Keeps for about a week.

(Quickie-Cheat: substitute  ginger ale for the club soda in the cocktail above and leave out the ginger syrup.)

Always drink responsibly; always drink well.


Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Girl Drink Drunk, Meet the Vulture Squadron with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

My interest in cocktails began in my childhood, watching my Grandma Helen entertain lavishly in her Hell’s Kitchen apartment. She was determined and powerful as she whirred Brandy Alexanders for the holidays and stirred giant pots of Tom Collinses out on the summer streets of New York. Surely this was a lovely way to make people happy.

A good friend threw me a copy of Bernard Devoto’s “The Hour” back in the Nineties and my obsession with vintage cocktails began. I started collecting and devouring books of recipes and searching for equipment and glassware. I visited the emerging cocktailian bars in New York City, sampling drinks made by the new gurus in the field and learning what I liked and what I thought worked. My interest branched out into tropical drinks and I made pilgrimages to what Polynesian palaces remained, just so I could see how terrible most Tiki drinks had become and get ideas about how to reverse that unfortunate trend. I made the Cocktail Hour an important part of my life and in so doing, I started to evolve an idea of the value of true hospitality, and the very real magic I could bestow upon others with that beautiful, frosted glass.

A couple of years ago I began collaborating in my home lab with Joe Netherworld. His culinary skills and wild imagination lent a whole new reach to what I was doing. With his background as an artist and sculptor, he brought a different eye and a talented pair of hands to our garnishes and presentation. We started inviting our local Vulture Squadron to sample our wares. When two snarky know-it-alls decide their drinks are as good as anyone else’s, what’s to stop them? And here we are: the Cocktail Vultures.