Sunday, August 03, 2008

Spirited Dinners Part 2

Most times I can look over a list of ingredients for a cocktail and decide if I'll like it or not. But as the next cocktail in the Spirited Dinner at Restaurant August in New Orleans proved, looks can be deceiving.

The first ingredient in the Ruby Bean cocktail was Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky. I'm no fan of the smoky, peat-mossy flavors I've found in the few Scotches I've tastes. But mixologist Charlotte Voisey tamed the smokiness with two other elements. First she added Lillet Rouge a French fortified wine made from cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes. She lightened the flavors and added a hint of sweetness with Licor 43 a Spanish liqueur made of 43 ingredients including citrus, herbs and vanilla. Finally, she brightened the cocktail with orange and lemon juices. The whole delicious effect was that of a smooth, potent and citrusy sangria, with a hint of vanilla and bitterness. It turned out to be my favorite of the evening.

Though it was paired with Chef John Besh's seafood-stuffed veal breast, Silver Queen corn and crab risotto; The Ruby Bean would be delicious with pork or even a juicy beef steak.

The last cocktail of the evening, called Bite the Bullet, paired Bulleit bourbon with Dubonnet Rouge and a whipped caramel sauce. It was tasty, with the dessert of caramelized heirloom tomatoes with creme fraiche ice cream and more caramel.

But I opted to finish my Ruby Bean for dessert.

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