If I was to imagine a perfectly seasonal cocktail I would immediately fly to Paris, the center of gastronomy for the continent of Europe. I’d conjure up a combination of ingredients, seasonal ones of course and combine them in a fashion that exemplifies the passion of the French in a gracious drink of magnificent proportions. Of course if this drink was truly French it would contain Cognac, the essence of wine and possess the backbone of Rum, a most secretive and salubrious intoxicant. I’d also grill some early fall plums, enrobed with sweet baking spices and finish the cocktail with simple syrup and aromatic bitters.
The Louvre, pictured here would be the perfect place to introduce this cocktail of a most mystical demeanor.
If you’ve been to Paris you are more than familiar with the Louvre Museum. Gracious parties are held for all sorts of intoxicants in the grand square surrounded by hundreds of years of artistic history.
This cocktail that I call the I.M. Pei is a combination of sweet to savory- hot and spicy to charming and warming.
First I use the unique Cognac handcrafted by Chris Bridges named Conjure as the backbone of this deeply warming, Vietnamese-sweet coffee influenced Hot Toddy. Conjure is Cognac through and through, aged in charred oak barrels, their perfume of sweet vanilla and baking spices whirl around on the palate exposing layer upon layer of fresh cream, pain grille’ (toasted bread smeared with rich, savory French Butter) and finishing with aromatic sweet coffee notes.
I’m a huge fan of Conjure and the secrets that it reveals in every measured sip.
Next in this highly amorous cocktail I’ve discovered a liquor named Sorel produced by my friend Jackie Summers who is also known as the Liquortarian (@TheLiquortarian) on Twitter. Sorel is a gorgeous blend of 100% Organic NY State grain alcohol, hibiscus, flavors of grilled dark seasonal fruits and Caribbean spices.
I love it in mixed drinks that call for deeper flavors like the I.M. Pei Hot Toddy.
Dark plums are in season right now as evidenced by the plump beauties I just saw in Paris a few days ago. I’d slice them in half and sear them or grill them over charcoal until they are sugary treats- begging to be muddled into a cocktail.
I’ve enjoyed Vietnamese filtered coffee over the past decades and recently discovered its charms when combined with liquors. There is something about the combination of condensed milk and strong espresso that balance perfectly the steamy heat of Vietnamese cooking- influenced so graciously by the French.
Combine this coffee with liquors and it becomes a veritable trip to the heart of darkness.
With an additional tip of my hat to the French, I’ve included Absinthe from Tenneyson for a je ne c’est quoi of anise seed and fins herbs along with the brooding 107 Proof alcohol.
In addition to the slow burn from the myriad of alcohols I’ve included Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Chilies and finally the addition of Bitter End Thai Bitters for an added burn.
It may seem like many ingredients, but when folded together in a Hot Toddy, this drink is anything but complicated!
It’s practically Parisian!
The I.M. Pei Cocktail (makes two or more ravishing cocktails)
Invented by the Cocktail Whisperer: Warren Bobrow
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Vietnamese drip Espresso Coffee with Condensed Milk
Early fall plums, sliced and seared or grilled over natural charcoal
Prepare your Vietnamese Coffee and sweeten to taste with condensed milk, set aside and keep piping hot
To a Boston (cocktail shaker) add:
Muddled grilled plums (or seared in cast iron if you don’t have a wood grill) Just use a handful of these sweet treats
2 oz. Conjure Cognac
1 oz. Sorel
1/2 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe
4 Tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies
Exactly 9 drops of Bitter End Thai Bitters
Stir well to combine
Pour this combination into pre-heated coffee mugs and top with your piping hot Vietnamese sweet-condensed milk- Espresso Coffee
Sit back and relax.