Having a last name with an apostrophe is tough. Mine is O’Rourke. It’s that second “our” piece that cause the confusion for people. They haven’t written down the apostrophe because they don’t know what it is. I have given them one “or” and now comes “our.” All I get then is a cold stare: hey, buddy, you can’t even spell your name.
Matt O’Connor might just share my anger at the world. His brilliant new book, The Icecreamists, is an extreme tome fondly devoted to ice cream. I blogged the Cold Sweat ice cream yesterday, the one with chile, ginger and lemongrass. Now, Matt clearly has some ambivalence about ice cream: do you eat it or drink it.
You can eat that Cold Sweat or you can drink it, drink it in the Apocalypse Now.
I do rim my cocktail glasses. With salt, with sugar, with flavored salt, with flavored sugar. You put lemon or lime juice on the rim, then dip into the salt or sugar of your fancy.
In this drink, no citrus juice. No salt. No sugar. You wet the rim with Tabasco sauce, then dip it into dried red pepper flakes. Add the Cold Sweat Ice Cream and top with chili vodka.
Just one word of caution, do not drink this and smoke and the same time. Or you will be smoking, personally, permanently.
I did not adorn my beverage with the chopped chile or ginger he suggests. I was a tad concerned about the heat level at this point and 911 response time can be slow in Olive, New York. [Yes, Matt uses “chile” and “chili” interchangeably and so do I.] I was thirstily impatient and skipped lighting the cocktail as suggested below in the recipe. So my ice cream was pretty cold. I used a spoon and ate my cocktail. It was a first. It won’t be the last.
Yield: 1 cocktail
- Tabasco sauce
- Dried red pepper flakes
- 2 scoops of Cold Sweat Ice Cream
- 1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped preserved ginger
- Chili oil
- 1 shot of chili vodka
Take 2 saucers and drizzle one with Tabasco sauce, the other in red pepper flakes. Dip the rim of a martini glass first in the Tabasco, then in the pepper flakes.
Place the ice cream in the glass. Decorate with the chopped chile and ginger, and sprinkle with the chili oil. Serve with a shot of chili vodka poured over the top and set alight.
Source: The Icecreamists by Matt O’Conner
Photo Information: Canon T21i, EFS 60MM Macro lens, F/5.6 for 1/60 second at ISO 3200 [no flash]
Ultimate is one of those words that just might seem a bit egotistical. The ultimate? The best?
“Best drink ever,” Suzen beamed at me. She meant it. “How did you do this?”
“Sugar,” I said.
“I know that. What else?”
“No. Tell me the truth or I’ll be forced to …”
“It’s Aperol.” I was telling the truth.
“How much Aperol do we have?”
In the past few months, I’ve touted Aperol as the liqueur that, for those of who find Campari too harsh, anyone can enjoy with a smile. Aperol is orange and bitter. Margaritas demand orange and sweet. How can you make Aperol work here?
You make this strawberry margarita with strawberry puree — the recipe was posted a couple of days ago here. Basically, take 4 cups of strawberry halves and ¾ cup of sugar, and put them in a blender. Let it rip for 3 minutes. Sieve if you want, but the picture above shows those pretty black seedlets that I think gives character to the drink.
The balance of flavor here is perfect. You get the orange from the Aperol, plus the undertones of bitterness to contrast with the puree which is, in a word, sweet.
The drink is seductively smooth and does not overpower you like many a margarita can. This is about enjoying flavor. You’d have to drink a boatload to get smashed. Course, it tastes so good, a boatload is feasible.
There are liqueur options below. Besides Aperol, Rick Bayless suggests optionally paring up with Cointreau or Fragoli, the Italian strawberry liqueur. There are many, many flavor combinations here to enjoy. Somewhere, you’ll find a favorite.
The recipe below calls for Strawberry Sugar for rimming the glass. It’s really optional but easily done. To make it, just put equal amounts of freeze dried strawberries and granulated sugar in spice grinder or small food processor and pulverize.
Ultimate Strawberry Margarita
Yield: 1 drink
- Strawberry sugar for rimming
- 1 lime wedge
- 1 ½ ounces blue agave blanco tequila
- ¾ ounce lime juice
- 1 ounce Aperol, or ½ ounce Aperol and ½ ounce Cointreau or ½ ounce Aperol and ½ ounce Fragoli
- 1 ½ ounces strawberry puree
- 6 to 10 ice cubes
- Strawberry fan for garnish [optional]
Spread the Strawberry Sugar on a small plate. Moisten the rim of a 6-ounce margarita glass with lime wedge and upend the glass onto the sugar to crust the rim.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, Aperol [and other liqueurs], strawberry puree and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold. Tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into the sugar-rimmed glass and serve immediately. Garnish with the strawberry, if you like.
Source: Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless
Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55mm lens at F/5.7, 1/60second at ISO 3200 [no flash]