We’re starting an occasional food & cocktail pairing series here to get you inspired to really enjoy your weekends, brunches, dinner parties and other fun nights in.
I’m happy to share fantastic cocktail recipes from some of the best bars in NYC with you thanks to Contemporary Cocktails. Mix these libations up at home and, if you’re here in NYC, get out to the bars where these cocktails are served and tell them how much you like them.
I’ll be choosing some of my very favorite recipes from the web for the food pairings (and perhaps creating original recipes if you like this series). Try these out and let me know what you think! Put your own special twist on it to make the pairing your own.
Speaking of great food and drink, did you catch yesterday’s announcement of the next Midnight Brunch? I hope you jump on the opportunity. It’s not every day that you get to crash a multi-course dinner party for free.
- 2 oz of Tear Jerker Infused Gin (to make your own, infuse one liter bottle of gin with 4 thai chilis)
- .75 oz Lemongrass syrup
- .75 oz Lime Juice
- .25 oz of Creme Yvette
Yield: 1 cocktail
- Shake with one large ice cube
- Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice
- Top with Soda
- Garnish is a lemongrass stalk or leave as is.
About this drink:
This is a unique, gorgeous riff on one of my very favorite cocktails, the Aviation. The cocktail was created by Contemporary Cocktails for 1534 in Manhattan. (Caution, the 1534 link plays music.) If you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to do a full infusion, do a quick infusion by dropping half a thai chili (seeds removed) into the gin in a glass and let sit for 5 – 10 min. Take a sip, and if it’s to your liking, proceed with the rest of the drink.
When it comes to infusing gin, I like a London Dry Gin without overly pronounced botanicals like Beefeater. Gins with a stronger flavor profile tend to overwhelm the depth and complexity you’re trying to achieve when infusing. For other tips on infusing at home, click here if it’s your first time or here for a few advanced tips.
The Food Pairing
The easy choice here would be a Thai-inspired savory dish, but why not pair this spicy little number with a dessert? Try mini lemon bars made with violet-studded shortbread and homemade ginger-infused whipped cream.
My favorite lemon bars of all time are from my friend Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York. In her version, she uses thyme and it’s brilliant. For this cocktail pairing, swap out thyme for dried violets or use violet or lavender bitters.
Lemon Bars with Violet (or Lavender) Shortbread Crust
Adapted from Cathy Erway, Not Eating Out in New York
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
For the custard
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
- finely grated zest from the 3 lemons
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-2 tablespoons thyme leaves for garnish
(Yield: About 24)
For the directions, visit Cathy’s site.
Ginger Whipped Cream
Adapted from Epicurious
1 1/2 cups well-chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Yield: About 3 cups
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream until it just holds stiff peaks, add the sugar and the ground ginger, and beat the mixture until it holds stiff peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a serving bowl.
About this food pairing: Fresh or dried violets are admittedly a little harder to find. If you are in NYC, try visiting Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket on Wed. and Sundays. Otherwise, get creative! Substitute 6-8 drops of floral-tinged bitters in place of the dried herbs. You can order Bar Keep’s Lavender Spice Bitters online from The Meadow. The Meadow is an amazing resource for bitters, chocolate and salt with have shops in SoHo, Manhattan and in Portland, OR.
Enjoy your weekend! Let me know your thoughts on this pairing and what food or spirit you’d like to see us include in future editions.
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.