Archive for Monday, March 7, 2011

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Sips for St. Patrick’s Day that aren’t beer

March 7, 2011

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Are green suds a dud?

Ted Breaux, master distiller for Lucid absinthe, thinks so. And so, it seems, do plenty of other people.

Absinthe is French, of course, but “we get quite a bit of interest around St. Patrick’s Day,” Breaux says of the green fairy, the nickname given to absinthe for its color and legendary qualities of intoxication. He also notes that National Absinthe Day, which was Saturday, falls quite close to March 17, the day to celebrate all things Irish.

March 5 is the day four years ago that Lucid’s campaign to lift a U.S. ban on absinthe was successful, making the drink legal for the first time in nearly 100 years. Interesting fact: Lucid is produced in France using 130-year-old distillery equipment designed by Gustave Eiffel. Yes, the tower guy.

Lucid absinthe is 124 proof (or 62 percent alcohol by volume) so you drink it with caution. A simple presentation St. Patrick’s Day is an absinthe frappe, which is absinthe and a dash of simple syrup, shaken over ice and poured into a glass that has mint in it.

Green supernatural beings are one way to celebrate. For a more down-to-earth approach, the Les Deux gastropub in Hollywood has “Dealer’s Choice,” a cocktail where guests describe what they’re in the mood for and bartenders tailor a drink to match.

And if the mood is shamrock? “I’m thinking some Jameson (Irish whiskey) and some basil, some lemon juice — that sounds like a good little combo right there,” said Giovanni Martinez, bartender at Les Deux. “Do a little sour with that, maybe honey, lime juice, Jameson and basil. Make sure the basil gets in there really great so it’s flecked with green.”

Maybe you want to take the green theme in a completely different direction.

At Bar 888 at the InterContinental San Francisco, mixologists created the “LEED’er” cocktail to mark the hotel’s recent award of LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for existing buildings, operations and maintenance. Or more simply put — green buildings.

The LEED’er is made with organic vodka and local, fresh ingredients — wildflower honey syrup, organic raspberries, basil and lemon juice. The ingredients are finely strained over ice in a pilsner glass and topped with sparkling wine.

One way or another, it’s easy to drink green.

Green Fuzz

1 sprig of fresh mint, plus extra to garnish

1/2 lime, cut in 4 pieces

2 ounces Midori melon liqueur

1 ounce Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

8 ounces seltzer water or club soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint and lime for 1 minute. Add the Midori and Rangpur. Cover and shake vigorously. Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the seltzer water and then strain in the alcohol mixture. Garnish with additional mint.

— Recipe from Alison Ladman

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