Barkeeper in Silver Lake -as so many weekend mornings I do- daintily sampling spicy gingerbread bitters.
"Isn't that insane?!" Joe Keeper's eyes bugged waiting for my reaction. I smiled, spices tickling my throat.
"It's delicious..." And before I could protest, another bottle was produced and a small plastic cup of baked apple bitters was pushed toward me. His eyes widened again, daring me to give THIS one a whirl.
Keeper had just returned from Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans' annual cocktail geek-out fest, with a bag full of exciting new products he was so enthusiastically sharing. I mentioned my trip planned for the coming week and he said one word, a word I anticipated and said along with a nod: Cure.
Following our absolutely indulgent dinner at Restaurant August, Michael, Larry and I hailed a cab to the Garden District and sailed into the dark night. The cab driver circled the streets several times, unsure of exactly where Cure was - something I had been warned about. The bar is unmarked and often unnoticed from the street - but then I caught a glimpse of an illuminated wall of bottles through an arched window and the car screeched to a halt.
White Linen Night filled the stools and booths of the bar with sharp tailored whites and airy summer cocktail dresses, though much more fashionably than the older set in the Arts District downtown. The room breathed Neo-New Orleans tradition, and we absorbed it (along with some bass) and sat at a table hear the window to look over the menu.
the Gambit, proclaiming "There are bartenders, and there are chemists — Cure supplies both."
Owner Neal Bodenheimer is a NOLA native but sharpened his teeth in New York bars (including those of the BR Guest restaurant group) before bringing his brand of contemporary mixologist back to "the cocktail's birthplace," opening Cure in February of 2009. I knew he was serious, but back to the point - what would I get??
Edible New Orleans.
By Kirk Estopinal, Cure
In 750 mL of high-proof vodka (100 proof +), add:
2 tbsp cinchona
2 tbsp dandelion
2 tbsp calamus
2 tbsp gentian
Let flavors infuse for 11-14 days.
Add 1 cup of celery seeds, toasted, into the blend and let rest 4 days.
Strain everything through a cheese cloth and, if necessary, a coffee filter.
Start and Finish
By Rhiannon Enlil, Cure
1 1/2 ounces Averna Amaro
1 1/2 ounces Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth
1/2 ounce absinthe
1 dash orange bitters
Mix all ingredients over ice, chill, strain and garnish with a lemon twist.
the Violet Hour in Chicago, bringing with him the popular Juliet & Romeo which he made for me requesting something along the lines of a gin gimlet and the Celery Stalker. With the essence of dusk in a lush summer garden, I'd do a disservice by not sharing this recipe laced with mint, cucumber, and rose water.
Juliet & Romeo
From the Violet Hour (source)
2 oz Beefeater or Henderick's
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Simple Syrup
3 drops Rose Water
3 drops Angostura Bitters
3 slices Cucumber, peeled
6 sprigs Mint
Muddle cucumber and pinch of salt. Slap the mint. Add rest of ingredients. Let sit for 30 seconds (time allowing). Shake. Strain. Garnish with 1 floating mint leaf and 1 drop rose water on top of leaf, and 3-5 more drops of angostura on the surface of the drink.
4905 Freret St. New Orleans, LA; 504.302.2357