Suzi's Blog

Apocalypse Chow: A Cocktail with That Final Kick



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.


Apocalypse Chow

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]




Cookbook Review: Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin + The Sgroppino [vokda + limoncello + prosecco + serbert!]

vodka distilled

Vokda. The things I did not know, or suspect and was wrong.

In 2010, after 30 years of mixology experience, Tony Abou-Garmin wrote the hit book The Modern Mixologist [no, I haven’t reviewed it here, but I will].

Tony has worked everywhere perfecting his craft. At Po with Mario Batali in that shoe-box sized spot in the West Village. In the enormous and palatial Bellagio in Las Vegas. Tony is a well-traveled expert who ridden — actually he’s help create — the modern tidal wave of cocktail concepts.

Now, when you are an expert, that first book can be too long for the editors. Modern Mixologist fit in that category. So, out came material. And, now we see the fruits of those remnants. Vodka Distilled is all about vodka, just about vodka, teaching us, enticing us, assisting us.

This book has history, recipes and vodka reviews. The information, and I read it cover to cover, really changes your perspective on what vodka is. I know the definition from the US Government: “A neutral spirit, so distilled, or treated after distillation with charcoal and other materials as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.”

Well, that’s just not true. Not actually for US vodkas and most certainly for vodkas from the rest of the world. And so not true for the lands of origin of vodka: Russia and Poland. Whether it was Russia or Poland where vodka first came into being is disputed. Lord, Poland is disputed. It’s vanished from the map three times and the borders of Poland now are not what they were 700 years ago. Today, Poland is home to 1000 different vodkas. Russia is home to many, and so too the Baltic and Scandinavian states — the so-called vodka homeland.

Tony distinguishes between those Old World vodkas and the New World ones. I had thought that all the flavored vodkas we see now were a new idea, the results of internet marketing and focus groups. Vodka has been flavored all along. Sometimes intentionally to have flavor and sometimes necessarily to literally cover up the results of poor ingredients and bad distilling.

Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, in large part because that “almost” neutral flavor makes it ideal for cocktails. There are 30 cocktails in this book. One, the Ruby, I posted about yesterday. The Sgroppino is described below.

But the fact is, that vodkas do have subtle flavor, certainly nose, and different viscosities engendered by ingredients and by temperature. Vodka is water plus something else: rye, wheat, potato, mixed grains, corn, or other things. Even molasses. For tasting purposes, Tony recommends the vodka be neat and cold. As it warms in the mouth, your senses are active. The book has a review of 58 vodkas from around the world and tasting notes covering every aspect of the sensory experience: nose, palate, mouth feel and finish. Plus recommendation s on what cocktails and what foods each of these 58 would best be served with. It’s an astonishing amount of detail and an indispensable guidebook for truly enjoying vodka.

There are times when you see a recipe, and you don’t have to test it to know that it will be idea. The Sgroppino here was perfected with Mario Batali. It’s from Northeast Italy, the home of Prosecco. The name means “little un-knotter” and it’s the beverage to serve after a heavy and rich meal. It’s dessert in a glass. And, perhaps, it might inspire you to a second round of dining.

It’s Easter Sunday as I write this. A rich and heavy meal is on our agenda. And I am headed out to a grocery store for the lemon sherbet I will need to un-knot myself.

Vokda Distilled was written with Mary Elizabeth Faulkner. The many photographs by Tim Turner are key factors in making this book you will enjoy, bottle after bottle.

Toby Abou-Ganim



Yield: serves 4


  • 1 pint lemon sorbet, slightly softened
  • 4 ounces vodka, from the freezer
  • 1 ounce limoncello, from the freezer
  • 8 ounces chilled Prosecco
  • Lemon zest, optional


In a mixing glass bowl whisk together the sorbet, vodka and limoncello until smooth. Add the chilled Prosecco and stir to blend. Transfer to a pitch and serve in well-chilled champagne flutes. Optionally garnish with fresh lemon zest.

Source: Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin