Ping Pong (Nectar Soda)
Beverages

Ping Pong (Nectar Soda)

The origin of the name “ping pong” is unknown, but in the riverlands between New Orleans and Baton Rouge many people know what it is: a pink, frozen drink that has the flavor of nectar. Nectar, in turn, is universally recognized among Orleanians as a distinctive flavor, a blend of almond and vanilla. Nectar was one of the most popular flavors for ice cream sodas in the days when drugstores still made such things. Now nectar as an essential flavor in the vast arrays of syrups poured over finely-shaved ice for sno-balls. Read More. . .

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Cherry Bounce
* Red Bean Edition

Cherry Bounce

RecipeSquare-150x150In South Louisiana, cherry trees don’t get enough days of freezing weather in the winter to grow cherries of any particular merit. However, wild cherry trees are everywhere. (I have several growing in the woods around the Cool Water Ranch.) The cherries they produce are small and extremely tart. And the birds have a way of getting them all. But some people have enough good trees to get quite a few cherries, and they make this liqueur with them. You might be tempted to make this with good fresh cherries from the store, but it doesn’t work: the cherries have to be sour. While different makers of this use different liquors for the marinade, it seems to me that vodka is the way to go. Recipe details. . .

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Mint Julep
Beverages

Mint Julep

Mint Julep The mint julep is considered a cliché Old South drink by some. But a good one is about as refreshing a cocktail as ever slaked a midsummer night’s thirst. It’s best served in the classic metal cups, which get frosty on the outside if you made it right. I use those great small-batch Bourbons to make this, since Bourbon is such a big part of it. Either that or Maker’s Mark. About 20 fresh mint leaves, plus more sprigs for garnish, washed gently in gold water 8 oz….

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Cafe au Lait
Beverages

Cafe au Lait

Cafe au Lait The two cups of cafe au lait I have every morning are a wonderful addiction. I make them with Union coffee and chicory, brewed so dark that it leaves the side of the cup deep brown for a moment when I swirl it. I mix that with an equal amount of milk, and the pleasure commences. I don’t understand why everyone in the world doesn’t drink coffee and chicory. The use of chicory in coffee began during a coffee shortage in the reign of Napoleon. It spread…

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Old Fashioned Cocktail
Beverages

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned Cocktail The old-fashioned has indeed been around a long time–almost to the dawn of the cocktail as we know it, in a style already popular in New Orleans. An old-fashioned is similar in many ways to a Sazerac, which lays claim to being the very first cocktail of them all. It was my father’s favorite drink, so I picked up the habit from him. Even though my tastes have moved on, I still have an Old Fashioned every now and then, especially when I’m in an old-fashioned bar…

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Ramos Gin Fizz
Beverages

Ramos Gin Fizz

Ramos Gin Fizz The Ramos gin fizz is a New Orleans original, created at the Imperial Cabinet Bar on Baronne Street, across the street from the Roosevelt Hotel, in the late 1800s. Henry Ramos was the owner, and he employed what would seem an absurdly large staff of bartenders to shake the gin fizzes. It’s a drink in the old style, in that it’s on the sweet side, and uses ingredients rarely employed in any other cocktail. Orange flower water, for example. That’s an ingredient used mostly these days in…

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Cafe Brulot

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RecipeSquare-150x150 Cafe Brulot is the grandest ending to a major New Orleans dinner. The show at the table is worth the attention, and the aroma is wonderful. If you make it at home, look for oranges with a thick, flawless skin (California oranges are best for this). There is a special bowl and matching cups made for cafe brulot, and it makes the process not only easier but much more beautiful.

Click here for recipe details.

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The Other Side Of The Tracks, A Cocktail.

RecipeSquare-150x150 RecipeSquare-150x150

The Other Side Of The Tracks Cocktail

This drink–a variation on the margarita–began as a method to start going through a case of Fee’s bitters given to me by master bartender (and Shimmy Shack owner) Jimmy Collings. One of the bitters was grapefruit; it occurred to me that this would be good with a shot of tequila over crushed ice. Bingo! I played with the idea again and again, and this is the best thing I’ve come up with so far.

  • 2 oz. anejo tequila
  • 1/2 oz. green creme de menthe
  • 1/2 oz. agave nectar
  • 3 dashes Fee’s grapefruit bitters (optional)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients with crushed ice. Serve over a glassful of shaved ice (sno-ball ice would be perfect). Garnish with lime peel and fresh mint. More to come. . .

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Chocolate Egg Nog

RecipeSquare-150x150 I was enjoying a cup of egg nog as we decorated the Christmas tree, with my family gathered around me. (I know it sounds corny, but we’re a pretty corny family.) I offered some of the nog to my daughter. She took a look at it and turned away. The nutmeg aroma got her, I think.

“What would it take for you to try egg nog, Mary Leigh?” I asked. She said that about the only thing would be if it were chocolate. I scoffed, then thought about it. I dug around and came up with a few recipes, notably one from the hand of Sharon Tyler Herbst. (She’s the author of a number of food books, including Never Eat More Than You Can Lift, a book of food quotations.) I fooled around with her recipe and came up with this, which I think works. But I’m not a chocolate maniac. More to come. . .

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Egg Nog

RecipeSquare-150x150 The best egg nog, frankly, is uncooked. But so many people are concerned about the possibility of problems from eating raw eggs that I’ve come up with an egg nog recipe cooked just long enough to eliminate most possible problems. It does produce a difficulty, through: you have to be very careful as you cook this to keep the mixture from setting. It’s basically a custard, and that’s not what you want. Recipe details. . .

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Sazerac Cocktail

RecipeSquare-150x150 What better libation to begin lunch on the Friday after Thanksgiving than the official cocktail of New Orleans: the Sazerac! It was created by Antoine Peychaud, who like many other makers of cocktails in the early 1800s was a pharmacist. His version used Sazerac-du-Forge Cognac, absinthe, and the Peychaud’s own bitters. Over the years it evolved into a rye-based drink, with an absinthe substitute like Pernod or Herbsaint. (Absinthe is legal again, so we may as well use it.) Recipe details. . .

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Cafe Au Lait

RecipeSquare-150x150 The two cups of cafe au lait I have every morning are a wonderful addiction. I make them with Union coffee and chicory, brewed so dark that it leaves the side of the cup deep brown for a moment when I swirl it. I mix that with an equal amount of milk, and the pleasure commences. Recipe details. . .

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Top Kill Cocktail
Beverages

Top Kill Cocktail

Top Kill Cocktail My favorite memory of the BP oil spill of two years ago is this drink. It’s named for the strategy BP undertook at the time, to try to blow up the top of the well in such a way as to stop the flow. That approach wound up not working, and the disaster continued. We had a radio remote broadcast at Drago’s around then, and someone thought it would be a good idea to come up with a cocktail to make fun of it all. Three of…

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