Suzi’s Blog

Cookbook Review Redux: Whiskey Cocktails by Warren Bobrow

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Last December 20, just before Christmas, I reviewed this wonderful book devoted to whiskey by supremo expert Warren Bobrow. Bad time of year, perhaps, to review a book because we are all so busy then. But now, with the Super Bowl upon us, beverages are a high concern. So I encourage you to look at this book and consider the wonderful punch recipe below — a recipe ideally targeted for a football game where Peyton Manning gets his second ring.

Yes, I'm a Peyton fan. Yes, I know someone named Cam is playing, too.

Whiskey Cocktails has wonderful spins on old classic, accelerated with Warren's masterful mixologist touches. I'll be published one tomorrow. If you never a fan of the Arnold Palmer cocktail, you will be now. See you tomorrow. In the meantime, please read on and drink on.

I recently reviewed a magnificent cocktail book: Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Resotrative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails and Elixier by Warren Bobrow.

I love those hrubs — mixtures of fruits or savories with sugar and vinegar — that give us new directions in cocktial creation. Bold new directions.

Warrend is an expert on mixology: the current trends, the history, the very chemistry that mystifies and pelases us. He demonstrates all his skills in his 2014 work Whisky Cocktials. There are, I know, a number of whiskey books on the store shelves. This book may have an equal out there, but I don't think there could possibly be one better.

The book is organized, naturally, around whiskey style. So, after an introduction to it history, there are chapters for

  • Tennessee Sipping Whisky
  • Craft Whisky Made from Alternative Grains
  • White Whiskey
  • Rye Whiskey
  • Scotch Whiskey
  • Whiskey Around the Globe

And there is the Cooking with Whiskey chapter that I have to mention at the end of this post.

Each chapter has a description of that whiskey type presenting the how, what, and why factors that lends distinction to each brew. And then, then come the recipes. This is not your simple Manhattan or Whiskey Sour book. The titles are kick ass — well, this is a whiskey book — and the actual cocktails are marvelous. If I could dream one of these up, I’d be very proud. Warren has a whole book of ideas. Ideas like:

German Pavilion with Mezcal

Runaway Mountain Train with Blueberries and Maple Syrup

Late Summer Fizz with Pimm’s, Apple Cider, Allspice, and Vermouth

Sailor’s Dilemma with Beef Broth [I’m not kidding]

Rye Whiskey Slushee with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb Tea Liqueur

Slightly Askew Old-Fashioned with Fernet Branca, Vermouth, Sage Tea Liqueur and Mole Bitters

Ah, you begin to see the story. This is imagination run wild. But even my imagination cannot quite fathom what these mixtures will taste like. I can’t. My own recourse is, one page at a time, to make them, taste them, and let my wonder intensify.

And where to begin? Well, it’s the week before Christmas and we have New Year’s Eve to celebrate too. Warren knows that, for some whiskey drinkers, using it in a punch is heresy. He’s an advocate of heresy. Here is his recipe for To the Disfavor of Some Gentlemen Punch:

To the Disfavor of Some Gentlemen Punch

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces (175 ml) Grilled Pineapple Juice (see page 156)
  • 6 ounces (175 ml) Grilled Orange Juice (see page 156)
  • 6 ounces (175 ml) Grilled Grapefruit Juice (see page 156)
  • 6 ounces (175 ml) Basic Simple Syrup (see page 156)
  • About 16 ice cubes made from frozen coconut water (unsweetened coconut works best)
  • 8 ounces (235 ml) Tennessee sipping whiskey
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 liter bottle sparkling natural mineral water

Preparation:

Grill and juice the pineapple and citrus fruits. Add the ice to a large punch bowl, and then pour the juices and simple syrup over the ice. Pour in the whiskey and submerge the sprigs of thyme in the fruity mix. Finally, add the sparkling water, and stir gently (you don’t want to lose the effervescence of the sparkling water). Let your guests ladle the punch into vintage Victorian teacups—and make sure you have enough supplies on hand to whip up another batch.


Now, I’ve shown you this recipe for a couple of reasons. One, you just might enjoy this during your holidays. Two, I wanted you to see the detailed extremes Warren goes to. Grilled Orange Juice? Yes, the answer is on Page 156 of the book and I do want you to consider adding it to your library. In case you can’t’ get a copy in time, just grill your fruits, cut into pieces and put into one of those press juicers [two metal halves that come down to press the last drop out of the fruit].

I like the touch here of ice cubes made from coconut water. Warren did not suggest suspended mint leaves in the cubes, but, gee, it’s a thought.

That’s what Whiskey Cocktails will make you do. Think, ponder, experiment, and sip. Sip to your delight.

Oh the cooking chapter? How about Roast Turkey with Bourbon Whiskey Gravy. Or Bourbon and Maple Syrup-Glazed Ham and Swiss Sandwiches. You can drink your whiskey or you can eat it. Or do both at the same time. What could be better?

Gooey Double-Chocolate Mocha Cookies from Theo Chocolate

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The word “gooey” is increasing popular. If you use the Google Ngram app, you can track a history of word usage all the way back to 1800. Gooey did not appear at all until about 1900. Usage crept up to 1940, leveled until the early 1960’s and now doubles every 10 years or so. People are into gooey.

And people like chocolate and the chocolate/mocha combo appears on almost every cooking website. So what could be better than a cookie that is gooey, chocolate – actually double-chocolate, and touched with mocha?

If you ever again have to pull an all-nighter and wonder how on earth you can do it, then these cookies will mean [1] you don’t need a drug dealer and [2] you might actually get through two nights in a row.

And, they taste good. The recipe is from Theo Chocolate, the new chocolate inspired cookbook from Seattle’s Theo chocolate company. Great book, great chocolate, and a true comfort food recipe.


Gooey Double-Chocolate Mocha Cookies

Yield: about 24 cookies [depending on how much batter you taste test]

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces Theo 70 percent dark chocolate, chopped, divided, or other high quality chocolate
  • ¼ cup [½ stick] unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup (1 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground Fair Trade coffee beans
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (5 ½ ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt 7 ounces of the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler and set aside to cool slightly.

 Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together into a small bowl, stir in the coffee, and set the bowl aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a whisk by hand), whip the eggs and sugar together on medium speed until very thick and pale, 3 to 4 minutes (about 8 minutes by hand). Add the vanilla and mix well. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture, then the dry ingredients, and finally the remaining 3 ounces chopped chocolate and the walnuts.

Use 2 spoons or a small cookie scoop to drop rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they’re puffed, shiny, and cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet—they will be very fragile.


Source: Theo Chocolate by Debra Music, Joe Whinney and Leora Bloom

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for1/30th second at ISO‑3200

 

TBT Recipe: Cucumber Sauce for Salmon and More

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It's Thursday and I've been doing TBT cookbook review for some time. Now, for Thursdays, I'm adding a TBT recipe, too. Suzi and I are digging back to find — out of over 2000 posts — the really scrumptous recipes we love and that we hope you'll. Here's one from just about a year ago.

This cucumber idea comes from Northwest Bounty published in 1988. It’s a lovely book, particularly for a guy like me who grew up in Oregon. Reading the book now is to have refreshed memories of the salmon and strawberries that were so central to my life.

Ah, salmon. We had it alder smoked year round. When I moved to the East and tried  NYC “smoked salmon” I was, and remained, totally confused. Alder is better. Different and much better.

Whether your salmon is alder altered or broiled or barbecued, this Cucumber Sauce is a delight. Happily, the sauce has life beyond salmon. Atop sliced tomatoes, it creates a lovely, lively salad.

The flavor of cucumber is deceptive. It’s not overpowering, yet it can slide in and rather prominently affect any dish it is a part of. Normally we dice or puree the cucumber to make it integral to the final dish. We get that cucumber in our mouth.

There are two exceptions to that rule. One is home-made cucumber vodka, which is the component for a perfect green martini:

http://www.cookingbythebook.com/dedicated-drinkers-diary/spring-green-cucumber-martini/

And the second exception is this sauce recipe. A water, vinegar, sugar and salt combination is put in the fridge with some cucumber slices. After an hour, or more, the cucumber is removed and the liquid is “thickened” by adding sour cream. You don’t eat cucumber but you are rewarded with its very delicate yet penetrating flavor.

The teaspoon of dill here is added atop the sauce for a little flavor and lots of color. If you want more flavor, then increase the dill and stir it into the sauce.


Cucumber Sauce

Yield: serves 8 for adornment of salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1 English or burpless cucumber, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill [or more!]

Preparation:

Remove seeds from cucumber, and cut across into thin slices. In a mixing bowl, combine water, salt, sugar, and vinegar. When sugar and salt are dissolved, add cucumber. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. When ready to serve, drain cucumber and fold into sour cream. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Source: Northwest Bounty by Schuyler Ingle and Sharon Kramis [Simon and Schuster, 1988]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.0 for 1/30th second at ISO‑200