New Cocktails, Naked Ladies (St Germain) and Kisses (Beija)
For once I’ve got good timing. Just after announcing my new semi-regular feature, The Cocktail Hour, I run into old friends, or should I say friends from old haunts. Also, meeting up with green goddess Nancy Civetta of “Beantown is Greentown” fame, I discovered the place we chose happens to employ the North American Rep for St. Germain (remember my granita?)
And speaking of green: how about mint simple syrup? That’s chocolate mint and the mint simple syrup.
Great for cocktails as well as iced tea. (Chocolate mint doesn’t really taste of chocolate but it has a slightly rounder, sweeter profile than peppermint or other mints I’ve grown.)
Kisses this weekend included Beija.
The new premium Cachaça from Brazil. For some unknown reason, the US Govt is requiring that this be labeled as “Virgin Cane Rum”. But Beija is Cachaça. The difference is this: while both come from sugar cane, rum is made from sugar cane molasses whereas cachaca is made from fresh cane juice. In the case of Beija, it’s distilled with organic yeast and they control the cutting, to distilling, to bottling process. Using naturally grown cane and organic yeast, they also draw from the purest part of the distillate.
(Beija is Portuguese for kiss.) I met my husband at Charles St. Liquors and found my way to the tasting bar. “I hear this is where they’re giving out kisses?”
Kevin Beardsley barely flinched. Smooth and welcoming, like his product, this young CEO is the force behind a new beverage whose time has come. As I recounted to Kevin, years ago when the Mojito and Caipirinha craze was in its infancy, I walked into a bar and asked if they knew how to make a Caipirinha. The bartender began to describe a Mojito. Buzzer please, thank you for playing…Don Pardo, tell our guests about their lovely consolation prize…
So here’s Jackson Cannon (what a name) from Eastern Standard, on the Beija website. And here he is in the Globe, and on the DrinkBoston blog. (Of course you were correct, Nancy. I’ve read DrinkBoston!)
My Beija cocktail this week: Beija, mint simple syrup, lime, soda.
Who doesn’t love ’em? (Okay, I can hear my gay friends protesting!) But, for many of us, the vintage photos of the St. Germain women in louche poses pull us right in.
The liqueur itself is a very refined product from a country known for being more on the buttoned-up end of the scale, but hey, it works…
As does the cocktail. This is a truly artisanal product, elderflower blossoms hand picked by les Bohemien (Swiss men on old bicycles who forage for the blossoms and handpick them), alembic stills, individually-numbered bottles. The flavor is described as not quite passion fruit and not quite pear, slightly honeyed. I am reminded of lychee, fresh lychee.
Two signature cocktails were offered by our bartender at Central Kitchen. One with Calvados, the other with prosecco. Go here for tips on making perfect cocktails. Or, go to Central Kitchen and order one.
I added St Germain to my watermelon Granita and next thing I know, NY Mag is running a recipe for Sophisticated popsicles with the lead recipe featuring: you guessed it, watermelon and St Germain! So far, am favoring a light apertif style drink with soda. Have a recipe in mind to test out and a comprehensive guide to St. Germain cocktails courtesy of their North American rep., Kate.
Two quick additional items for you my barflies:
– This Mark Bittman column on the secrets of sour mix. Today’s NY Times.
– This Stuff at Night post on “Eastern” (as in continent) cocktails. Speaking of things Eastern – my next simple syrup will feature lemongrass. Stay tuned!