In the Land of Cocktails

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This is a simple, bright and colorfully illustrated book from the proprietors of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. It looks and feels like something from the French Quarter, and could easily pass for a children’s book if one were to quickly flip through it.

I cannot recollect how I came to purchase this book, however, I have searched for, and invested in, my share of cocktail books. What I have found over the years is that this is the only book that I consistently reach for in making cocktails at home. It has great recipes, is full of sound and logical tips, and has provided me so much useful and memorable history and background regarding this art form that I consider it essential. I believe you will as well.

-- Leo Ishibashi  

In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures From the Cocktail Chicks
Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan
2007, 169 pages
$14

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

Angostura v. Peychaud’s Bitters
There are many kinds of bitters available, but angostura and Peychaud’s are used most frequently in cocktails. Bitters add another dimension to cocktails, much like using the right salt when cooking. Both are made with herbs and spices, including the bitter herb gentian, but each has its own flavor profile. Angostura is earthier, with a more pronounced orange flavor, while Peychaud’s is local to New Orleans, but can be ordered online at www.sazerac.com/bitters.html.

Antoine Peychaud brought his family bitters recipe from the island of San Domingo to New Orleans and set up an apothecary on Royal Street. He dispensed medicines but became famous for his bitters, a tonic and cure for stomachaches. These bitters gave an added spark to the potions of brandy he served in eggcups, known to the French-speaking population as coquetiers. Soon, those who spoke less-than-perfect French were calling the spiced drink a “cock-tay”. Imbibers slurred the word into “cocktail” and the rest is history. The Peychaud’s label still reads today as it always has, “good for what ails one irrespective of malady.” Now there’s a health claim we can relate to, and we can vouch for its veracity, too.

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Brandy Alexander
There are two schools of thought on the Brandy Alexander: those who consider it an eye-opener and make it with heavy cream or milk, and those who enjoy it made with ice cream and served as a dessert or after-dinner drink. The breakfast version is first, followed by the late-day recipe.

Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces brandy
2 ounces heavy cream
1 ounce dark creme de cacao

Combine all the ingredients and 1 cup of ice in a blender. Blend on slow speed until frothy and well combined. Pour into a rocks glass and serve immediately.

Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces brandy
1 ounce dark creme de cacao
1 cup good-quality vanilla ice cream

Combine all the ingredients in a blender on slow speed until just thick. Pour into a brandy snifter and serve immediately. (p. 108)