All in Food & Drink

Food & Drink | The Daiquiri - Cocktail Hour - Apéritif Time

Tart, slightly sweet, boozy and refreshingly delicious - no, not Lily Allen, the Daiquiri. Last week we looked at the Cuba Libre and this week we're staying in Caribbean rum & lime territory - but for an altogether more potent mix. The Daiquiri (pronounced Dackery) is one of the most misunderstood, messed-about-with classic cocktails made today, with bartenders bludgeoning the simple, bright, citrus-rich cocktail into all sorts of saccharine blender-slush. (I blame TGI Fridays, hen parties and Ibiza). The important thing to remember is a real daiquiri has just three ingredients: rum, lime and sugarcane syrup, and then it is shaken. No strawberries, no ice cream, no whisked egg white and no blender are required. Keep it simple.

The recipe

  • 2 pts Light rum. I'm going with HSE from the northern tip of Martinique.

  • 1 pt Lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • ½ pt Simple sugar syrup

  • Ice

  • Slice of lime for the garnish

Method:

Couldn't be simpler: pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, and serve in a coupe or a Martini glass garnished with a slice of lime.

Food & Drink | The Old Fashioned - Cocktail Hour - Apéritif Time

By the 1860’s it was common in the US for a spirit to be mixed with bitters and sugar to form a simple primeval cocktail. When whiskey was used as the spirit and a few drops of other tinctures like orange bitters were added they had a concoction referred to as "old-fashioned", with no capital letters or definite article. According to a Chicago barman quoted in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1882, Rye whiskey was more popular than Bourbon in this mixture, but nevertheless the combination of spirit, bitters and sugar he describes was very similar to what had been mixed in the 1860’s and before.

The classic recipe:


Method: Put the sugar into an Old-Fashioned glass, i.e. a whisk(e)y tumbler, and douse with the Bitters. Muddle (*see below) the sugar and bitters. Add the ice and then the whiskey and stir. Serve garnished with a twist of orange peel.

*Muddle is a mixology term, meaning to blend by gently squashing ingredients - e.g. sugar, pieces of fruit or leaves like mint - against the bottom of the glass to release flavours, using a tool called a muddler which has a blunt bottom end.

I'm practicing what I preach regarding using top quality ingredient liquors: going with “Eagle Rare” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is smooth and classy and a bit smokey ...and 20€ a bottle more than Jim Beam but you can't make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. With so few ingredients in this cocktail you've got to go with quality.

Food & Drink | The Manhattan - Cocktail Hour - Apéritif Time

All five boroughs of New York City have cocktails named after them: the Bronx and the Queens are gin & vermouth mixes while the Staten Island Ferry has given its name to an exotic rum-based concoction similar to a Piña Colada. But much older than these are whiskey based mixes: the mighty Manhattan and it's lesser-known but equally delicious neighbour, the Brooklyn. Like the eponymous island, the Manhattan is bittersweet, strong, eternally cool, and yet retains a slight dangerous edge.


Food & Drink - The Martini - Cocktail Hour - Apéritif Time

Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich, David Niven and Humphrey Bogart - not to mention fictional secret agent James Bond - have all helped to raise the classic dry martini to iconic status: the epitome of effortless cool. Even what it's served in - the emblematic Y-shaped glass - has become an icon known the world over as a martini glass (more on the problematic glass later). First and foremost, though, this cocktail is popular because it is delicious: flavoursome and strong as well as suave.

Food & Drink | Nicolas Alziari - Traditional Olive Oil Producer - Nice

So there I was being shown the three old olive grinding basins in Alziari’s charmingly antiquated mill, my nostrils filled with the heavy scent of crushed olives. The basins and the revolving grinding wheels are made from that same shiny beige marble-like sandstone - locally quarried - that we still see in the older curbstones of Nice, Monaco and other towns along the Riviera coast.

Wines - Exclusive Interview with Christophe Bouvet - Château Mouresse - Vidauban - Var

In the summer of 2010, perusing the short but promising wine list of the Bistrot d’Antoine in Old Nice, I plumped for a mid-range Côtes de Provence rosé that was unknown to me: “Classic” from Château Mouresse, at €28. It was seriously good: fruity but dry and with a pale pink blush. On the back label was the vineyard's URL giving its address in Vidauban, in the neighbouring département of the Var. Needless to say I beat a path to their door and tasted their other wines, all of which I found to be as good as that rosé - which cost only about €6.50 direct from the vineyard. So, with twisted shopaholic’s logic, I figured the more I buy the more I save! In due course, once friends and family had tasted those wines and concurred with their quality and great value, Château Mouresse became a staple of my cellar ever since.