Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hail to the chief

Guest poster: Jeff Kauffman

In the pre-kid days, kitchen time was leisure time, a way to escape the exhausting pixel mines. Today, I’m a short order cook that should have left 10 minutes ago for the PTA meeting. Today kitchen time has been replaced by the cocktail hour and, by and large, it's a fair trade. Thanks to Brownie, I’ve adopted the Martini as the Cadillac of pick-me-ups, but I’ve recently been inspired to give something else a shake for a change.

I picked up Dale DeGroff's “The Essential Cocktail” at the library. I think it takes some pretty big cubes to title your book “essential” anything, but DeGroff has the goods. As the barman at the (sadly soon to be closed) Rainbow Room, he helped usher in the new cocktail movement. The book celebrates the old-school drinks without snobbishness and recognizes that new ingredients and new thinking create innovative drinks.

Seeking something adventurous yet also drinkable for the Mrs., I settled on the El Presidente. An orange slice, lime splash, white rum, vermouth, Curacao and a finish of grenadine, shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. As you’d expect it’s pretty fruity, but it doesn’t hide the alcohol either. It’s a peachy color, much like the fabled Sedaris so I can’t fathom what Latin dictator would attach his name to it. It’s more Emelda Marcos than Manuel Noriega. But I’ll make it again when the days are longer and I can sit outside swatting mosquitoes in the heat like a proper Presidente.

Jeff Kauffman writes copy and flies the globe doing it when he's not, um, shakin'.

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