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DON’T MISS – FERRAND 1840

December 15, 2011

By Seánan Forbes

A product of passion, tradition and collaboration, Pierre Ferrand’s new-old Cognac – the 1840 – is built for industry.

More and more, bars and restaurants take pride in serving classic cocktails. That requires pouring the right spirit in the glass. As Ferrand Vice President Guilaume Lamy observes, “Cognac was the base for mixing in the nineteenth century.”

It pays to know your history. These days, customers do – and they expect the highest quality ingredients from the bar as well as the kitchen, with respect for source and tradition.

So it was a perfect time for Ferrand to dip into the past and reproduce a period cognac. For Ferrand, Lamy says, “this is a historical thing to do: to reconstruct a cognac that was drunk back in 1840.”

Alexandre Gabriel, Ferrand’s owner, didn’t work alone. In a different kind of spirit – one of international creativity – he invited a friend, American author-historian David Wondrich, to join the project. Wondrich remembers the call. Gabriel said, “I’ve got this project you might be interested in . . .” Bringing history alive? There’s not a drop of doubt.

According to Lamy, Wondrich’s input was vital. “Alexandre is very knowledgeable about taste. For history, David is Continue Reading…

Don't Miss

DON’T MISS– FEVER-TREE

August 26, 2011

If you’ve kept up with INSIDE F&B’s editorial, or run around the country eating and drinking with us at all, you’ve already heard us praise this brand over and over again. While we know that we know what we’re talking about it’s always nice to have another respected opinion publicly making the same claim.

So, now it’s not just the editors of INSIDE F&B singing this premium mixers’ praises; the industry has spoken. At the 2011 Fancy Food Show in Washington, DC this past July (www.specialtyfood.com) the silver SOFI Award (SOFI =Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation)went to Fever-Tree (www.fever-tree.com) for its exquisite line of products which includes: Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale, Tonic, Naturally Light Tonic, Club Soda, and Bitter Lemon. Tim Warrillow, co-founder, comments, “Fever-Tree believes in enhancing your favorite spirit, rather than drown out the flavor like other mixers. That’s why we use all natural ingredients, including unique gingers and other botanicals. We’re proud that the products contain no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavorings or preservatives.”

This is the second year in a row that the brand’s co-founder is pleased to announce that Fever Tree has garnered such well deserved recognition. At the 2010 show their Ginger Beer won the gold award for best cold beverage. This year, their Ginger Ale took the category’s top prize.

With undisputed wins like this you might want to consider getting rid of that soda gun, and making room in your reach in for some Fever-Tree bottles.

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FETE, AND FEED, DAD

June 15, 2011

A grown up boozy soufflé to celebrate Father’s Day (and every day through July)

Though your father probably doesn’t look like George Washington and isn’t exactly the forefather of our nation he does have a couple of things in common with ol’ George… that’s being old enough to drink, telling you truths to help you have a better life, and being the forefather of your own personal nation.

So, while we’re not advocating spreading rumors that your dad chops down cherry trees you can treat him to an historically inspired (and appropriately liqueured up) dessert at Capsouto Freres (www.capsoutofreres.com).

Hitting the menu once again is the Roi René Rouge Cherry Soufflé. It’s the second year that Tribeca’s mainstay French bistro, Capsouto Frères has partnered with Combier USA (www.combierusa.com) to produce this one-of-a-kind dessert and it’s the perfect gift at $10.50, not another expensive barbecue tool that’s going to gather dust. Plus, you (and mom and your sisters and frères if you have them) can enjoy it too.

Capsouto Freres is known for their soufflés, and this tasty option is a specialty created by one of the frères who own the restaurant, Jacques Capsouto. Jacques has incorporated fresh cherry jam, crème anglaise and Rouge cherry sauce made with Roi René Rouge Cherry Liqueur.

Roi René Rouge’s all-natural recipe is comprised of a blend of handpicked guignes and morello cherries for their bitter and sweet flavors. Never modified from the original process created by the Reverend Mother Gautron of the Benedictine Abbey of Saumur, France, in March 2010, the Spirit Journal 2010 rated Roi René Rouge Cherry Liqueur the “Highest Recommendation.”

That sounds like enough to warrant us telling you this is a “Don’t Miss”!

The soufflé is available for $10.50 from this Father’s Day through July 2011.

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DON’T MISS – DRINK LIKE A PRINCESS

April 29, 2011

Struggling to keep our eyes this morning to watch the royal nuptials got us thinking that a bright and refreshing cocktail was exactly what the occasion (and this 4:00 a.m. hour) needed.

And, in homage to the strange mixed up feelings of excitement and stress all brides feel while walking down the aisle, we whipped up something Princess inspired that was both delicious and nerve steadying.

Though our golden enveloped invitation got lost in the mail and therefore we can’t report as fact that Kate Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge, as if a Princess title isn’t enough) was actually fighting off butterflies in her stomach, we’d like to imagine this was a drink she’s always whipped up for her best girlfriends from Buckleberry and that today she’d enjoy this cocktail to remain calm, deal with her new in-laws, and get ready for her next big event…yep, Cinco De Mayo.

You are cordially invited to enjoy the Royal Margarita. Today, May 5th, and on all 363 other days of the year. The Royal Margarita is an elevated classic that with offers up a touch of herbal intrigue that perks up a meal whether it’s pomme frites at the palace or tacos on the beach.

ROYAL MARGARITA
1 ½ oz. silver tequila
1 oz. fresh lime
½ oz. Royal Combier
½ oz agave nectar

Shake with ice and serve.

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DON’T MISS – BANKS 5 ISLAND RUM

March 11, 2011

Rum, inherently, brings back all sorts of things. Close your eyes and sip some on a cold winter afternoon and in your mind you’re right back on that beach in Jamaica or Trinidad, the one that had the steel drums playing at the beach bar and the sun beating on your shoulders. Take another sip and you’re transported to the Florida Keys or to Pamplona; wherever it is that you went recently to sip Hemingway Daiquiris and channel your inner Papa.

Banks 5 Island Rum might just be the rum that brings Hemingway back to life. And, 50 years after the anniversary of his death, that would be a neat trick. Though we know it’s unlikely this corpse revival will actually transpire, we think Banks rum is really that inspiring.

Light reflects off the glossy white liquid with a metallic sheen that belies beautiful banana, coconut cream, white peach, pink peppercorn and absorbingly gentle floral aromas that end in a fresh and staccato finish.

And this rum, the first one on the market that blends the rum making styles from five different regions (light Trinidadian rum layered with complex pot-stilled Jamaican rum, zesty Guyanese rum, flavorful Barbados rum and earthy Indonesian Batavia arrack), is a standalone white spirit that’s been an award winner from the start. The experts at the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge who awarded this a Chairman’s Trophy worth of a 96 rating and the accolade that it’s their “ultimate recommendation,” and the knowledgeable judges at the Rum Fest UK who bestowed a Golden Barrel Award upon Banks know that Banks 5 Island Rum creates a Hemingway Daiquiri (or any other rum based cocktail) unlike any other.

Try it yourself and put Banks to the test as you mix up a daiquiri with Banks, and another with your current favorite white rum. You’ll quickly see the delicious difference and agree that without a doubt, Banks 5 Island Rum can raise your drinking pleasure, even if it’s not raising the dead.

The suggested retail price is $27.99, though please contact your local rep through www.banksrum.com for on- and off-premise pricing.

Kew Garden
By Jim Meehan
2 oz. Banks 5 Island Rum
.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Simple Syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)
.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
8 Mint Leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
3 Cucumber Slices, plus 1 for garnish
Add 8 mint leaves, 3 cucumber slices and the simple syrup to a mixing glass and muddle.
Add the rest of the ingredients and ice.
Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with a mint sprig poked through a cucumber wheel.

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DON’T MISS – BROOKLYN HEMISPHERICAL BITTERS

March 4, 2011

By Francine Cohen

Photo © Jason Rowan 2011

One night, in the darkened basement of the Ace Hotel NYC, an industry pal reached into his pocket and said, “I have something for you.” Quickly our curiosity was satisfied, and dismissed was any fear we had that a “present” delivered in the carnival atmosphere of the 42Below competition might be risqué, when he handed us a dark brown apothecary bottle with dropper top. On the label…Sriracha Bitters.

Couldn’t wait to get to the bar and put them in a drink; the savory spiciness of the sriracha was so enticing that an immediate taste test on the back of our hands (and the hands of intrigued bartenders standing nearby) was necessary. Eyebrows up, eyes wide open was the universal reaction; these bitters packed a heated punch.

Though one respected bartender pointed out he’d prefer to break down the components and use real sriracha sauce in his drinks to get both the flavor and the heat he desired we all concurred that in bars where the “do it from scratch” ethos wasn’t the philosophy that Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters Sriracha Bitters added an exciting punch to ordinary (and not so ordinary) cocktails.

Perfect for both those craft bars, like White Star in Manhattan and Eau de Vie in Sydney, and more mass market neighborhood joints where a little pop goes a long way, Brooklyn Bitters Sriracha Bitters (and the rest in the line) are big winners.

Brand co-founder, Jason Rowan, shares the origin of this new line of bitters. He says, “Last spring when Mark Buettler was heading up the bar program at Dressler I’d stop in frequently and we’d consult on recipes and ideas. When he expressed an interest in experimenting with bitters I pretty much insisted he follow through–all his cocktail experimentations had been aces and I wanted to see what he’d do with bitters. The Sriracha bitters were the most improbable and awesome idea, but the more single flavor, seasonal ones like Rhubarb, Strawberry and Meyer Lemon wound up working really well, too. A big part of the concept was to be able to add the flavor of something fresh like peach into, say, a Manhattan, without altering the chemical makeup of the cocktail significantly.

The name came about after I’d travelled to Sydney and hung out at Eau de Vie (www.eaudevie.com.au), where they took a couple sample bottles I had and went to town with creating new, odd, and delightful drinks with them. They bar team was pretty insistent about wanting more. Upon returning we rallied and came up with a name that alluded to their trans-hemispherical birth, and recruited our designer pal Greg Needham to come up with some labels. We shipped those off to Australia and they’ve wound up being featured on Eau de Vie’s menu, which is incredibly gratifying. And after we handed some out to bartender friends we started getting requests for more. We set up proper production at The Bedford in Williamsburg, where the bitters are heavily featured on their menu. The new team at White Star is making good use of them, too. “

For more information about the entire line of Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters (Apple, Black Mission Fig, Blueberry, Meyer Lemon, Peach, Rhubarb, Strawberry) go to www.brooklynbitters.com. To buy them online go to www.formaggioessex.com

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DON’T MISS

December 31, 2010

Bettah Buttah

Everyone knows that butter makes things better. And, after tasting these at the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show www.specialtyfood.com, we’ve decided that Bettah Buttah compound butters make everything even that much better!

Bettah Buttah comes in five varieties: Black Peppah Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Sugah, Sundried Tomato Pesto, Southwestern Herb, and Lemon Peppah with more on the way. Jana Kirke, Brand Manager of Bettah Buttah, tells us, “We have two new ‘flavahs’ debuting at the San Francisco Fancy Food Show (January 16-18th) and they will be ready for retail sale January 20th, 2011. These flavahs are Roasted Garlic Italian Herb and Cilantro Margarita. In addition to those two, we have 6 more flavahs slated to arrive throughout the year.”

Without a doubt, this was the best packaged product we tasted at the entire show (and we tasted quite a bit, all in the name of research). A standout for its bright flavors and versatility, there was nothing fake about these compound butters. Chatting with the company’s co-owner (and father of the brand’s creator) we heard about a number of applications – everything from popcorn toppings and baked potato add-ons to additions to sauce bases. Kirke comments, “We see Bettah Buttah being used by chefs and retailers in any application that traditional butter would be used. For example, as a base for pasta sauce, finisher on steaks, poultry, and seafood, and toppah for vegetables and potatoes. This will add a bold and gourmet flavor to any dish very simply – by just adding a dollop! Not any extra work or preparation – only pure flavor!”

Bettah Buttah strikes us especially as the perfect addition to any hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast or breakfast buffet where, at pennies a guest, it would knock their socks off. Just this week alone we knocked our own socks off by spreading the Cinnamon Sugah on some challah toast, melting Lemon Peppah over roasted asparagus, and blending Black Peppah Blue Cheese into smashed red skin potatoes. What will you do with your Bettah Buttah?

You’ll have plenty of butter with which to figure it out as the butter comes packaged for the food service industry in one gallon tubs.

For more information, or to order your favorite flavors of Bettah Buttah, go to: www.bettahbuttah.com

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DON’T MISS

December 13, 2010

DIMMI LIQUORE DI MILANO

Once a year or so a new product enters the market and permanently burns an exquisite flavor impression into our brain. Often times we find ourselves getting a sneak peak of this delectable new elixir and, while we count ourselves fortunate enough to be in the category of first tasters, we’d really be happiest if the product was readily available across the nation the moment we taste it so that we could share our pleasure with you and therefore you too could be an early adopter.

Dimmi (formally known as Dimmi Liquore Di Milano) www.dimmispirits.com is one of those products. And it is definitely one of those products you’ll want to adopt as soon as it enters your market. We have Dustin Dyer of Domaine Select Wine Estates (Food & Wine Magazine’s 2010 winner for Importer of the Year) (www.domaineselect.com) to thank for sharing it with us at last year’s Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) and you can thank DSWE for making it more widely available to you now.

Launched in California and created by wine industry veteran, Stefano Turini, Dimmi, with its complex and seductive floral and stone fruit flavor created by a distillate of northern Italian organic winter wheat that takes six month to infuse with a family vermouth recipe dating back to the 1930s, is getting into the hands of bartenders and chefs who are seeking another elegant, sweet and refreshing liquid tool for their repertoire. The liqueur unites other ingredients and spirits very subtly. According to Turini, Neyah White said it best when he commented, “Dimmi lays flowers around the feet of other flowers it mixes with.”
Turini decided in 2000 to mix it up in the spirits business with his desire to create a new spirit in Italy where he lives. He explains the process, “It took a little while to really come up with the right ingredients and style and while I was doing that the whole cocktail craze was developing in the US at the same time. As I fine tuned my plan for a fine Italian liquore I wanted to make sure it could play an important role in cocktails.”

He continues, “It was about passion for sure – first my passion for Italy, second my passion for wine and cuisine. Food is very important for me. The key to my business plan is wine, spirits and cuisine. I know that whatever restaurant or bar it is and if it produces tremendous food and people are enjoying it their bar will be popular and they’ll sell a lot of cocktails.”

A lot of hot selling cocktails are rewarded with the inclusion of this liqueur featuring the old family vermouth recipe, which includes wormwood, bitter orange, liquorice, rhubarb, vanilla and ginseng married to the new recipe of apricot and peach blossoms created by Turini and his Italian partners. The addition of Nebbiolo grappa completes the union.

More than just a mixer, Dimmi stands up in a cocktail and can be showcased as a secondary spirit. It functions beautifully chilled as a simple aperitivo but its true raison d’etre in the glass is for cocktails. Many bartenders tasting it for the first time Continue Reading…