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Challenge!!

Thanks Paul! For once again kicking me into inspiration mode.  How so? By issuing a challenge.  Of course Paul didn’t issue one specifically to yours truly but in posting about the Imbibe Magazine cover cocktail challenge … I felt, well … challenged to compete.

A few days ago after giving a little thought and performing some experimentation, I entered my recipe.  As the winner of the contest will have their recipe displayed on the cover of the magazine to be issued at this years Tales of the Cocktail and assorted other Tales related goodies will be awarded, I took the challenge to be one of creating a drink inspired by the great city of New Orleans.  What better way to pay homage to the city than by seeking inspiration from one of its classic drinks.

Riff the Sazerac?  Could have, but that seemed, a bit bland.  A cool take on a Vieux Carre or an a la Louisiane? Maybe.  Ah … I know … that fantastic, ethereal goodness of a classic, the venerable Ramos Gin Fizz.  That’s the ticket.

Sounded good when thinking about it but trying to put pen to paper and develop a recipe left me wanting.  Thinking a little about flavors and flavor pairings that I like led me do a bit of a pantry dive; with bar tools and ingredients in hand I set forth to give some combinations a try.

I am a huge fan of Asian cooking inspired flavors such as fresh citrus, ginger and coconut.  File powder and bay leaves are seminal to New Orleans cooking adding rich, savory notes to a dish.  How to bind these competing flavors in a drink; with a spirit that is equally bold and flavorful. The drink that emerged was the NOLA Rum Fizz.

NOLA Rum Fizz
Recipe created by theSpeakista with inspiration taken from the classic Ramos Gin Fizz

•    2 oz Smith & Cross rum
•    1 oz NOLA simple Syrup*
•    1 oz coconut cream
•    1 egg white
•    1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
•    1/2 oz fresh lime juice
•    2 dashes pure Madagascar vanilla extract
•    1 oz ginger beer
Garnish: grated nutmeg and cayenne pepper
Glass: rocks glass
Tools: glass and tin (shaker), small mesh tea strainer and small grater

* to make the NOLA simple syrup, combine equal amounts of demerara sugar and water in a pot on the stove and heat until dissolved.  Remove from heat and add 1/8 tsp of gumbo file powder and 4 bay leaves; let steep for 15 minutes and double strain through a coffee filter.

Assembly: Combine all of the ingredients in the shaker except the ginger beer and dry shake hard for 30 seconds to one minute; add ice and shake for an additional 30 seconds until the mixture is well chilled.  Double-strain the mixture into the serving glass and add the ginger beer.  Top with the nutmeg and cayenne pepper.

The verdict: Wow, this tastes kinda good.  This glass packs a lot by way of flavors — bold citrus tempered by creamy coconut kicked up by spicy ginger and the funky, rich vanilla profile of this lush tasting rum.  In the background is the simple syrup with that sort of “what is that” feature hanging around.  It is not as frothy as the original but that makes sense, coconut cream is not the same as heavy cream but the texture is still quite velvety.  Not sure if others will give this one a go but I think it is a nicely balanced drink that strives to not only be a little different but also pay homage to New Orleans and the Ramos Gin Fizz.

Good luck … fingers are crossed.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • DJ HawaiianShirt March 11, 2011, 9:37 am

    As someone who’s generally disgruntled when overly unorthodox and custom ingredients are used in drinks, I have to say that this is just weird enough to get noticed and be in the running for the contest. Good luck!

  • KeithP March 13, 2011, 3:48 pm

    thanks – i’m likely somewhere between snow balls chance in hell and long shot … but it was still fun to think it up.

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