Monthly Archives: June 2009

Ginger Rogers

No story behind this one, besides straight ahead deliciousness.  This is a straight up lift off of a cocktail from the Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco.  (Trivia for Top Chef dorks, this is the restaurant Jamie from Season 5 cooked at.  And sorry guys, she’s a lady who likes ladies. Damn.)  But I’ve seen this drink on enough menus of other bars around town and across the coasts that my shame level barely registers above Impulse Speed.  Even the Chronicle had the recipe at one point!

1 1/2 oz. gin
8-12 mint leaves
1/2 oz. ginger syrup(*)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
ginger ale

Combine the mint leaves and ginger syrup in a tall glass and muddle mint until you smell the aroma.  Add lime juice and gin.  Fill glass with ice and top with ginger ale.  Stir from bottom to top.

For this I used a ginger beer, as I like my ginger drinks with kick.  I prefer Bundaberg, an Australian ginger beer that has the right balance between sweet and heat.

* Ginger Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2-inch piece ginger, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp. black peppercorns

Dissolve sugar & water.  Simmer for ten minutes with ginger and peppercorns.  Remove from heat and steep for 2-3 hours.  Strain and bottle.

Ginger Rogers


Sitting Limbo

This one is all Catherine’s fault.  Catherine is a lawschool chum from Section MNOP.  Yes – as an entering lawschool n00b (AKA an 1L), you are assigned a section of about 80-90 of your fellow 1Ls, with whom you will spend the entire first year attending all the same classes together.  Kind of like an English boarding school except without the ritual beatings, sweaty buggery, debating societies, and school uniforms.   Hmmm…come to think of it…ritual beatings? Check.   Sweaty buggery? Check.  Debating societies? Check.  School uniforms? Check.    I guess it was like an English boarding school but with better dentistry.

Like me, Catherine was also a bit of a stranger in a strange land – that is, a law student who somewhere knew they weren’t going to be lawyer after it was all over.  (Although Catherine figured that one out somewhere after first semester; it took me until a year after graduation.)  Also, like me, Catherine is a functioning alcoholic with an indie-nerd’s taste in mixology.  She recently nursed her problem at The Violet Hour, which looks like a booze geek’s paradise in Wicker Park.  She asked for my suggestions based on the menu on their website.   And from her report back, her tipples were tasty.  So trusting her taste, (in part because she went to Michigan Law, yet knows who Built to Spill, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Andrew Bird are.), this is my attempt to create one of her drinks from the list of ingredients on the menu combined with her report that it was “good and not too sweet”.

Sitting Limbo

2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. Campari
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 teaspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 dash grapefruit bitters

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.  Garnish with grapefruit twist.

The available recipe for this included Luxardo Bitter, an Italian bitter orange apertif. I have not tried it, but based on a little research, it sounds like the Luxardo Bitter is similar to Campari, but a little bit less bitter and with more cherry tones.  I substituted Campari and dialed it back.  I think if you use the Luxardo, going up to 3/4 oz. would be worth a try.  In addition, I threw in the grapefruit bitters on a lark.  I imagine some bitter orange bitters and an orange peel would be nice too.

I’ll leave it to Catherine to make this at home and tell me if I am close to the original or not.

Update: The Lowlander

Added the photo and tweaked the recipe for The Lowlander.

Four O’Clock Shadow

4 Oclock Shadow

Saw this one on the menu at the recently revamped 15 Romolo in North Beach.  (Great little watering hole.)  I jotted down the ingredient list on the trusty iPhone and made a best guess as to the proportions, using a basic whiskey sour (sans egg white) as the baseline.  Next time I think I will pull back a little on the lemon juice and let the bourbon and Benedictine play a more forward role.   Still, a nice little tipple.

2 oz. bourbon
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
dash of peach bitters

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.

Lemon Chicken Ballotine with Fennel Garlic Confit

 Springtime eating doesn’t always have to involve goat cheese, microgreens and ramps.  It can also involve delicious carnivourous meals that when you put the food in your mouth, it makes you want to stand in a field of sunflowers in the south of France singing showtunes about bicycles.   Or something like that.

Regardless, this dish is a bright, sunny, sweet, savory, warm-weather treat – that still tastes like you got a nice plateful of meat.   And don’t be afraid of the “ballotine” – it’s just French for “meat roll”.


Chix Fennel


Lemon Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Ricotta and Fennel Confit

4 thin chicken fillets
Salt and pepper
1 cup ricotta
1 cup Fennel, Lemon & Garlic Confit (below)
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine

Place the chicken fillets between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or a heavy frying pan until they are about 1/4 inch thick.  Be careful – its easy to tear the chicken if you flatten it too roughly.   Season lightly with salt,  pepper and a little olive oil or the leftover, strained lemon oil from the confit. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.

Mix the ricotta with the confit.  Use a good ricotta.  Spread a quarter on each fillet and roll tightly. Seal with toothpicks.  This part can get messy – the ricotta/confit goo likes to squirt out the sides of the chicken roll.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat with the butter and any more oil strained off the chicken. Sear the chicken rolls, flipping with tongs, for about two minutes or until dark golden on each side. Pour in the white wine and turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes.

Remove the toothpicks before serving. Serve with extra fennel confit.

Fennel, Lemon and Garlic Confit

1 large bulb of fennel, with stalks and tops
1 small lemon
6 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash the fennel and lemon. Chop the fennel stalks into 3-4 inch pieces. Chop about half the fronds into bite size pieces – reserve the other half for garnish. Cut the lemon into quarters, removing seeds. Sliver the garlic.

Melt olive oil & butter over medium heat in a heavy saute pan.  Add the fennel, lemon, and garlic.  Season with black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, or until soft and tender.

Blend with a food processor or stick blender to a chunky consistency.   Its keeps in the frdige for about two weeks, supposedly.  I eat it up way before then so I’ve never found out.  There’s something about whole lemon pieces stewed with garlic and then pureed up that is soooooooo goood.

Recipe couresy of Apartment Therapy.

Bermuda Rum Swizzle

It was a long day.  I needed two things: to imagine myself on a beach in the topics, and to swizzle something.

Rum Swizzle

2 oz. dark rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
1/4 oz. falernum

Shake with ice and strain into Collins glass with crush ice.  Swizzle until outside of glass frosts.

Atty Cocktail

I needed something ginny.   As well as something that involved the bottle of creme de violette I bought that was NOT an Aviation.  Love me my Aviations, but you can only drink so many.  Plus, I ran out of home-made brandied cherries for garnish. (God, how dork is that?)  This one was a bit…weird.  Next time, I think I will use a little more gin, and maybe a little less absinthe.   I used St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte, which is quite tasty, but very concentrated flavor-wise.   The absinthe wound up playing Muhammad Ali and the violette wound up as “some randon white dude”.   (And not “some random white dude” who would inspire Sylvester Stallone.)  The vermouth is this particular title match was played by Dolin.   The gin by Hendricks.

Atty Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 dry vermouth
1 teaspoon absinthe
1 teaspoon crème de violette

Stir with ice until super cold.  Strain into cocktail glass.   Twist lemon and add to glass.

Courtesy of Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book.

Atty Cocktail

El Azteca Dulce

This came about while IM’ing a friend back East.  We were riffing on dulce de leche.  She had a recipe for dulche de leche cheesecake.  I wondered how we could turn that into a cocktail.  This is the result of our cross-country mind meld.  And it does indeed, taste of dulce de leche.  Enjoy.


2 oz. Goslings Black Seal rum (dark)
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/4 oz. vanilla syrup
1/4 oz. brown sugar syrup*

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled  Old Fashioned glass.  Float 1/4 oz. Lemon Hart 151.  Garnish with shaved nutmeg.

* Brown sugar syrup: 2 cups dark brown sugar with 1 cup water.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Joint venture with Rae.