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Shaken & Stirred

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Written by Heather Jones   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009

ImageIf you know anything about the restaurant business at all then you are sure to know about one of the greatest restaurateurs in this country, Danny Meyer.  He is the founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group which includes some of the most successful restaurants in New York City (Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, and Blue Smoke), is the consummate professional, and he ensures his restaurants are memorable. 

I had the great fortune of meeting Danny Meyer when I was working for a New York based Tabletop company. He had recently published a cookbook with business partner and Chef Michael Romano and I had set-up a book signing for them.  Never have I met someone in the business that was so gracious and down to earth.  A few months later I found myself in need of a second job and was lucky enough to land a position at his fabulous Indian-Fusion restaurant, Tabla.  I have never had a desire to own a restaurant, but I still want to be Danny Meyer when I grow up.  It isn’t very often that someone leaves you with such an impression and gives you an opportunity to have such a great work experience, but for me one of those people was Danny Meyer and his remarkable staff at Tabla.

ImageIn addition to the extraordinary food that his restaurants are known for they also have some of the best cocktails that you will ever taste.  Now you can experience for yourself just how spectacular these cocktails really are with the new book Mix Shake Stir: Cocktails for the Home Bar.  This book is a must have not only for the cocktail connoisseur in your life, but also for anyone looking to learn how to make a real swoon worthy drink. The book briefly reviews the basics of cocktail preparation such as the importance of ice, garnishes, proper bar tools, and glasses, then immediately dives into the drink recipes. An enviable collection of recipes featuring Classics, New Classics, Elegant Sips, and of course bar fare (nuts, chips, seasonal crostini, etc.).  I’m still working my way through the book, but the Heirloom Bloody Mary certainly does my homegrown beauties justice (see recipe below), and the Ginger Tonic (see recipe below) will make your most traditional G&T fan stand up and take notice. 

If you’re looking to take your drink making to the next level then this book is definitely for you, go dust off that martini shaker because its cocktail time!

Heirloom Bloody Mary

From Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer, Little, Brown and Company 2009. 

To create this seasonal cocktail, the bartenders at Union Square Café pilfer the kitchen's heirloom tomatoes, sourced from the nearby farmers' market.  At its best in late summer, this brunch mainstay is made truly special by passing the tomatoes through a potato ricer rather than juicing them. 

  • 4 large, very ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 oz vodka, preferably Ketel One
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated horseradish, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon green hot-pepper sauce such as Tabasco, or to taste
  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • Ice
  • Grape, cherry, or heirloom toy box tomatoes, halved, for garnish

MAKES 1 DRINK

To make the tomato juice, pass the heirloom tomatoes through a potato ricer into a glass measuring pitcher, pressing on the solids with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids. You need about 4 oz juice (reserve the remainder for another use).  Cover and refrigerate the juice for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Add the vodka, lime juice, horseradish, hot-pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper to the chilled juice and stir to mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Fill a highball glass halfway with ice. Thread the grape tomatoes onto a wooden skewer.  Pour the tomato mixture over the ice, garnish the glass with the skewer, and serve.  

Ginger Tonic

From Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer, Little, Brown and Company 2009.

"Pick any ingredients you like from your spice drawer -seeds, herbs, roots -and try infusing them in a high-proof vodka or a flavor-based spirit like whiskey." - TABLA BARTENDER

If there is one cocktail that has stood the test of time at Gramercy Tavern, this is it.  Refreshing and delicious, it is a gin drink for the non-gin drinker. 

  • Crushed ice
  • 3 oz Ginger-Lime Infused Gin (recipe follows)
  • 1 oz tonic water, preferably Q Tonic
  • Crystallized ginger for garnish


MAKES 1 DRINK

Ginger-Lime Infused Gin

From Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer, Little, Brown and Company 2009. 

  • 6 oz fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 limes
  • 6 oz Ginger-Lime Syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 Bottle (1 l) gin, preferably Plymouth

MAKES ABOUT 36 OZ, OR ENOUGH FOR 12 DRINKS

Fill a tulip or pint glass with crushed ice. Add the gin and tonic water and stir gently. Garnish with the crystallized ginger and serve.

Ginger-lime infused gin  Put the ginger pieces in a large glass jar. Halve the limes and juice them, adding the juice and rinds to the jar with the ginger.  Add the ginger -lime syrup and gin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.   Strain into a clean bottle, a cap tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month. 

Ginger-Lime Syrup

From Mix Shake Stir by Danny Meyer, Little, Brown and Company 2009.  

  • 2 cups cane syrup
  • One 3-inch piece fresh ginger
  • Peeled and sliced
  • Finely grated zest from 4 limes

Pour the cane syrup into a saucepan over medium heat and warm until just below the boiling point.  Remove from the heat and stir in the ginger and lime zest. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight (for greater intensity of flavor).  Strain into a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate until needed.  Makes about ½ cups.  

About Mix Shake Stir

ImageThe bartenders at Danny Meyer's wildly popular restaurants are known for their creative concoctions. Guests at Union Square Café or Gramercy Tavern expect not only the finest cuisine but also Meyer's special brand of hospitality that often begins with a Venetian Spritz or a Cranberry Daiquiri. In MIX SHAKE STIR, Meyer offers all the tips and tools needed to become a masterful mixologist and supplements the cocktail recipes with gourmet takes on bar snacks. There are over 100 recipes of bar classics, signature favorites, and original, refreshing libations--from the Modern's elegant mojito made with champagne and rose water to Tabla's Pomegranate Gimlet. Shaken or stirred, straight up or on the rocks, these cocktails make this collection an invaluable resource for elegant entertaining.

Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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