Cocktail News - Sept 24, 2013

00:00 September 24, 2013

Blue Crab (and its bar) opens. The Blue Crab served about 350 drinks bar, pouring as many as 400 drinks a night, and the recipes are easy to export during a Wednesday night in late July, barely a week after the lakefront across other Whiskey Blue properties—one reason why Sam uses only bigbrand labels (Bacardi products, to be specifi c). restaurant opened. I snagged a seat at the bar, and then asked for an 11-ingredient cocktail. Sam’s six-ounce bottles are $12, and each is based on different anchor Not a completely jerk move, as I was happy to wait, but with lead spirits: The Tea Off uses equal parts vodka and sweet tea, paired with St. bartender Blake Kaiser behind the stick, the Crab Trap was in my hands Germain; the complex Basil Aviation grounds gin’s fl orals with fresh basil; and about a minute later. ginger beer adds the sparkle to rum and cucumber juice in the Cucumber Mule.

Anticipating a high-speed bar, he’d pre-batched the mixers and sweeteners— Rock the Caz Bar is a margarita fi nished with jalapeño slices, which Sam in this case, pineapple, lemon and orange juices, simple syrup, and orgeat, muddles with agave nectar and fi ne-strains (he’ll use triple sec to stand in for which went into the shaker in one easy pour. Then, the juice was joined by orange juice, to give the bottled cocktails a longer shelf life). silver rum, Cognac, gin and triple sec; and, after straining, a rich fl oat of Meyer’s Finally, the Mint Dew-Lep’s honey syrup sweetener effectively binds Dewars dark rum. It’s refreshing, potent and meant for a long summer night. White and eight muddled mint leaves, for a well-balanced sipper that will draw “What better place for a tiki-style drink?” Blake asks as the sun fades over in the enthusiast as well as novice Scotch drinker. As a best-selling bottle, “it’s a the lake, and sailors who’d been racing, are coming off the water and onto the great way to introduce people to the spirit,” Sam says. deck (eventually the deck will wrap around the upper fl oor, doubling the dining room’s capacity; down below, a dock will let power boaters tie up and walk in). “It’s time”: Mid-City Yacht Club expands bar space, menu. The Sept.

Blake honed his skills as a Commander’s Palace bar manager, and graduated 3 launch of Mid-City Yacht Club’s new dinner menu also marked the bar’s from the prestigious BAR program in New York City. He’s launched the Blue Crab expansion into a courtyard—and into craft cocktails. With Chef Lurie Luciano in list with his Crab Trap and a blueberry vodka Collins. This weekend, he’ll add two the revamped kitchen and a walk-in now stuffed with fresh local produce, MCYC more: likely a whiskey sour with a Malbec fl oat, as well as a classic Martinez, a bartenders are also bumping up the drinks program. blend of gin, sweet vermouth and triple sec. To be fair, this neighborhood bar has Eventually, the full list will include another always made its own Bloody Mary mix and tiki-style drink, a second (honey-based) house-infused vodkas with playful fl avors like sour and tequila done Sazerac-style, with an bubblegum, Jolly Rancher, Red Hots, Skittles, absinthe rinse. as well as black peppercorn, and what I had the We’ll all have to wait for the drink that won other night: vodka soaked with orange peels and Blake the popular vote in this year’s Garden almond extract that bartender Beth Hollmann to Glass Contest: a rum-based muddle of shakes with triple sec and fresh orange juice.

local strawberries and peach purée, threaded Soon though, the bar will count on Lurie for with Thai basil and mint; a seasonal prelude specialty sweeteners like blueberry-ginger syrup to fun in the sun. (in mojitos), peanut butter-banana syrup (for White Russians), and housemade ice cream Handcrafted rocks: Maurepas (Guinness fl oats). “It’s going to be beautiful,” Foods launches ice program. For this says Beth. “It’s time.” At three-plus years, she’s year’s Spirited Dinner, Maurepas Foods’ MCYC’s newest bartender.

Brad Smith blended vodka with peach Lurie’s thoughtful bar food, aimed fi rst at latenight diners, then brunch and lunch with menu bitters and orgeat, calling the drink A Fist Full of Doll Hairs (a nod to spaghetti items like jambalaya-riced poppers, fresh po-boy westerns). sliders, hand-cut fries and ramen with seared The cocktail, with its lush almond syrup tuna. She’ll make sauces and sides in-house and roasted peachy bite, would have been too, like smoked, Abita-spiked ketchup, crawfi sh Maurepas Foods' "A Fist Full of Doll Hairs" plenty interesting on its own. The star of this cheese sauce and pickled vegetables.

showdown, though, is a single rock (three inches squared) that emerges from Out back, customers will get table service in a rebuilt annex (TVs, dartboards the froth as you drink. and perhaps a second bar). The new courtyard will feature a water fountain, “It’s our fi rst effort at an ice program,” says Brad (still Chief Intoxicologist, plants and a fl at-screen TV.

now also the restaurant’s co-owner). “It involves all the senses. It’s a With the expansion, the front bar has become a non-smoking area, transformative drink.” a concession that MCYC made when it fi rst asked the city to rezone the Brad has made trays of these deeply rosy cubes, sculpting them from distilled abandoned lot behind them. “It was our pitch to the city,” says MJ Sauer, water, decaf rosehip tea, and a pinch of citric acid. co-owner of MCYC, “because we think non-smoking bars will happen As you handle the glass and the ice melts, it releases this tangy acidity to focus statewide. We’re trying to be forward-thinking.”

and round out the cocktail without the fruitiness of lemon, lime or grapefruit (just Read Anne Berry's weekly cocktail blog, In The Drink, at imagine the sour notes you’d get with vinegar or lemon juice instead).

Count on the bar team to create more fl avored, textural ices; in the meantime, check out their rotating draft cocktail (as of press time, lemongrass Blue Crab: 7900 Lakeshore Drive, 284.2898 vodka and ginger juice), off-the-menu elixirs (try their smoked peach cordial Maurepas Foods: 3200 Burgundy, 267.0072.

with a splash of soda) and their shelves of herbs and spices, to make their Tony DiMunno is now managing the bar, whose staff also includes Jason Lee.

bitters á la minute.

Mid-City Yacht Club: 440 S. St. Patrick, 483.2517.

Local Whiskey Blue rolls out bottled cocktails. Sam Skydell, general Mid-City Yacht Club takes its new food menu public Sept. 3, with plans to revamp the cocktail program next month. MCYC co-owners include MJ and manager of New Orleans’ Whiskey Blue bar, has crafted a bottled cocktail Jeremy Sauer, and Ben and Stefanie Markey. Cool side note: MJ owns a real program that could be a template for Whiskey Blue sites in six other cities. For estate agency aimed at renovations and fi rst-time homeowners. now, the list (launched Aug. 9) is only available here.

Inspired by the New Orleans bartenders who put on the Pop Shop parties, Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel: 333 Poydras, 525.9444 Sam pitched the idea to the Gerber Group’s corporate execs. Sam credits Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire's US Ambassador, with helping develop the bottled cocktail recipes. You’ll fi nd the same cocktails and spirits at While bottled cocktails are trendy, they’re also practical for this high-speed the W Hotel’s Living Room bar, located in the main lobby.

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