The Food Network and Cooking Channel have turned me into a couch potato. I wouldn't get up at 4 a.m. to watch the royal wedding, but I'll burn the midnight oil watching episode after episode of Iron Chef America and Unique Eats. Imagine my delight when I saw an hour episode dedicated to my favorite... cocktails. Summer's hot cocktails, at that. I was tube-glued. Unfortunately, all the bars and restaurants featured were in NYC or LA or anywhere but Houston, but booze is booze; why would I turn my nose at good cocktails.
5. 28 Days Later Allan Katz, the bartender at Caña Rum Bar in LA, opens the show up by saying that "he loves making drinks because he plays with booze for a living." He has reinvented the Zombie and calls it 28 Days Later. aside from all the fresh citrus, he adds a concoction with grenadine, bitters, rum, cherry liqueur and absinthe, among other things. Then comes the booze: mezcal, aged, dark and potstill rums, garnished with mint and more splashes of dark rum. Katz describes the final cocktail as "a tiny Polynesian bucket of booze and it all comes together like a frickin' symphony." I want some of that.
4. Beer in a Ball At Playa Rivera, they're pairing Latin flavors with fruity cocktails. I'm digging their Beer in a Ball, the lovechild of a bellini and a michelada. Grapefruit juice and other citruses, mixed with aperitifs and beer. Looks like the perfect day for a hot day.
3. Usha Dave Whitton, the brooding bartender at Villains Tavern, describes his bar as "Jimmi Hendrix meets Jack the Ripper." He serves most of his cocktails in Mason jars with shaved ice, which probably makes you think you're enjoying a spiked sno-cone. His Usha is a grownup Cosmo. That one, I had to make. Instead of vodka, this one calls for gin, which gives the cocktail a very grassy and earthy taste. And the brown sugar simple syrup adds a nice depth of flavor that I loved. I can't wait to get my hands on lavender bitters to make it properly next time.
2. Bloody Mary Tomatoes Zahra Bates is showing her genius at Providence in LA. She serves Bloody Mary Tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes seasoned with spices that include fresh horseradish and basil. She adds Bloody Mary vodka and pickling juices into a vacuum bag with the seasoned tomatoes and allows them to sit for two days. Because she keeps the stems on the tomato, all the vodka and flavors are absorbed. She then serves them with celery salt on a porcelain spoon. They looked so cute!
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1. Osiris Punch The punch is back! I love punches, so I'm really excited to see them making a comeback. The hottie at Villains Tavern makes one called the Osiris Punch. Brown and white sugar sweeten the rye whisky and citrus juices. He then adds nutmeg, hibiscus flowers, bitters, mint and kumquats. And to "lighten it up," he adds sparkling wine before serving.
These were the five drinks I want to have in the next few days -- they're imprinted into my drinking memory. But I have to say, I wanted a sip of every drink showcased on this episode. What cool cocktails are you enjoying on these hot days?