Earlier this month, the organizers at Citymeals offered up four pairs of tickets to readers for their upcoming boozing and binging bonanza at Daniel Boulud's newly opened Bar Pleiades in the Surrey Hotel. To win, we asked readers to come up with cocktails inspired by the chefs at the event, Gavin Kaysen, Nate Appleman, George Mendes, and Vinny Dotolo and John Shook of LA's Animal. The winning recipes, along with some commentary from the Citymeals folks.
Winner 1: Animal Style
Says Citymeals: "We’re giving Zachary Feldman a special mention for his studied humor and originality. That said, we never, ever, ever actually want to taste the bacon and chicken liver-infused rum cocktail he concocted in honor of Chefs Jon Shook and Vinnny Dotolo of ANIMAL in Los Angeles. This cocktail falls into the “don’t-try this-at-home or anywhere else for that matter” category."
The recipe: Bacon and crispy chicken liver-infused ron zacapa 23yr rum, reagan's orange bitters and "sour diesel" marijuana smoke. Inspired by a signature dish at Animal, the unctuousness of the bacon should hide the funk of chicken liver and the rum should temper both strong flavors; toss in some citrus and a wisp of the Animal guys' favorite herb (have you seen their Eat, Drink or Die videos?) and you've got a match made in gastro-stoner heaven.
Winner 2: Pears Three Ways
Says Citymeals, "We love that Matthew Zito’s “Pears Three Ways” takes its cue from the kitchen. This very chef-driven approach highlights the flavor of a single seasonal ingredient and presents it under the guise of several different preparations. We interpret this cocktail as a tribute to Daniel Boulud’s culinary style and a generally haute cuisine approach."
The Recipe: To Start
3 oz. Sparkling wine (Prosecco on a budget, some blanc de blanc champagne if not)
½ oz pear nectar
Dash of ginger syrup
Mix wine and nectar in dessert wine glass, add dash of ginger syrup, garnish with a sliver of candied ginger
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
2 dashes rosemary syrup
Thumb-sized chunk of ripe pear
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Pernod for a wash
In a rocks glass, wash the glass with pernod, then muddle rye, rosemary and pear, add ice, dash with rosemary syrup to taste (depending on the strength of the syrup). Garnish with pear wedge and extra rosemary
1 oz brandy
2 oz hot tea
½ oz. pear nectar
5 dashes chocolate bitters
Combine and serve in a mug. You can put a cinnamon stick in as a garnish if you like.
Winner 3: The Beamin Pumpkin
Says Citymeals, "Suzanne Corenza’s cocktails are original yet also manage to offer up perfect flavor profiles. And flavor, after all, is what a chef is really after. Her “The Beamin Pumpkin” is a delicious blend of Knob Creek Bourbon and Pumpkin Spice Schnapps, inspired – like so many of the competition submissions - by our guest chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of ANIMAL."
Recipe: Glass Type: Lowball glass
1 1/2 oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
2 oz. Pumpkin spice schnapps
1 Cinnamon Stick
Pince of nutmeg
Next: Pour the bourbon and schnapps in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into the glass half full of whole ice, add the nutmeg, garnish with the cinnamon stick. Dynamite!
Winner 4: Nasty Natey Mary
Says Citymeals, "Of the numerous Bloody Mary recipes we received, Ryan Cadrette’s “Nasty Natey Mary” wasn’t only the most deliciously original, it also offered the most clever rift on the cooking of one of our motley crew of chefs. This “Bloody” includes salami-infused grappa, roasted tomatoes and even an olive and capicola garnish. This Italian inflected libation interpretation was created in honor of guest chef Nate Appleman."
Recipe: 1.5 oz. Salami infused grappa (Italian hooch married with cured meats!)
4 oz. Pureed roasted jersey tomatoes (Local! kind of ! also the name of a SF based chef services company!)
serve over ice in a highball, garnished with olives and a slice of capicola.
For those who didn't make the cut, tickets can be purchased here. And do let us know if you try these cocktails at home.