Cocktail dinner – Big Easy Style

by Dale & Jill DeGroff

Chef Danny Trace, Audrey
Saunders (of Pegu Club)
and Dale DeGroff at
Café Adelaide at last year’s
“Tales of the Cocktail”

Two savvy restaurateurs from New Orleans are finding innovative and non-traditional strategies to generate tourism back to New Orleans, even if it means transporting local crawfish, crabmeat, honeycomb, strawberries, kumquats, and their chef and beverage manager to New York! Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan of Café Adelaide did exactly that in order to treat a roomful of journalists to a taste of New Orleans three weeks ago at New York’s popular Pegu Club. There Chef Danny Trace presented a five course dinner of innovative Creole cuisine, each one matched with a special cocktail created by Beverage Director Lu Brow. His first course was Des Allemandes Blue Crab and Caviar Blue with leek bread pudding and cane marinated claws. For this course Ms. Brow created a Crimean cup ala Marmora with New Orleans Amber Rum, brandy, maraschino liqueur, lemon, and Champagne. The Crawfish, sweet and delicately flavored were perfectly complimented by the Crimean Cup. Guests were amused to learn that eating crawdads included “sucking the head”

The second course Menage a Foie: was “Dirty Duck” Calas, roasted fig & foie gras mousse with ganache and Bocage honeycomb. Calas, another New Orleans tradition, is a fritter made with cooked rice, sugar, and spices, and then deep-fried. (Dirty rice refers to white rice cooked with pieces of liver or giblets, giving it its dark "dirty" color. Chef Trace’s presented an exotically flavored bourbon cocktail that matched the dish quite nicely.

The next course, Belle River Crawfish and Grits with a truffled woodland sauce, was accompanied by a Sidecar made with Pierre Ferrand “Selection de Anges” cognac, Cointreau, and lemon. Many of the guests found this to be the most successful match.

The fourth course was Louisiana Boucherie Chicory coffee crusted pork tenderloin, roasted boudin crepinette, tasso & andouille pie with hog’s head cheese and three mustard glaze served with a Calvados and peach brandy cocktail, rimmed with cayenne and sugar.
The final course of Pecan crusted Creole Cream Cheese ice cream was matched with a Saracco Moscato d’asti with cassis and a twist of lemon.

Café Adelaide and
the Swizzle Stick
Lounge was conceived
as a tribute to Aunt
Adelaide Brennan,
whose life was all
about entertaining
and cocktails.
Beverage Director
Lu Brow keeps the
tradition alive with
cutting edge classic
and original cocktails.

Ms. Brow explained how they had flown in over 350 pounds of local crawfish, crabmeat, honeycomb, strawberries, and preserved kumquats for the preparation:

“All of these are local products from farmers we use daily. We wanted to make the guests feel as if they were enjoying an evening in New Orleans… we could not have done it without Audrey’s amazing staff and hospitality and the assistants from Loews Regency”.

Brow began working at Cafe Adelaide in January 2005 after working as general manager at a fine-dining restaurant in Shreveport. She switched to bar work after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina, and later underwent the rigorous Beverage Alcohol Resource program in New York, for which she was awarded a scholarship by The Museum of the American Cocktail and the New Orleans Culinary and Preservation Society.

Not every bar has a bar chef. Brow explains, “A ‘bartender’ is someone who prepares drinks according to a recipe. A ‘bar chef’ is going to craft his or her own recipes and prepare fresh juices and mixers. Everything is fresh as opposed to bottled mixes… Being behind the bar, it’s a surprise every day. You never know what people are going to do. You see them falling in love, falling out of love, and at all the celebrations of life.”

Guests were encouraged to come down to New Orleans to enjoy Café Adelaide and all the other fine restaurants that are now back to full speed, and we were also reminded that coming up this July is “Tales of the Cocktail”, a one of a kind cocktail-culinary event featuring the country’s top bar chefs, authors, and cocktail experts from around the world who come to New Orleans for five days of seminars, spirited dinners, competitions and of course, great music and food throughout. (For more info go to: www.talesofthecocktail.com)

 

Crimean Cup a’la Marmora (bulk recipe)
Lu Brow’s version of an old drink believed to have been invented in Crimea in the 1800’s.
In a mixing glass muddle 25-30 broad slices of lemon peel with a ½ cup of sugar in 6.5 ounces of Myer’s rum.

  • Add 13 ounces of Brandy (390ml)
  • 6.5 ounces of Maraschino liqueur (195ml)
  • 6.5 ounces of New Orleans Amber rum (195ml)
  • 26 ounces orgeat syrup
  • 6.5 ounces lemon juice
  • 52 ounces club soda

Stir vigorously and pour into a large punch bowl or goblets. Add 36 ounces chilled champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve in a Marie Antoinette champagne glass.

 

Chef Trace Cocktail
Served with Menage a Foie Dirty Duck Calas, roasted fig & foie gras mousse with foie gras ganache
and Bocage honeycomb

In each rocks glass portion the following:

  • 2 ounces Makers Mark bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Bols orange curacao
  • 1 tablespoon of rinsed preserved kumquat
  • .5 ounces simple syrup (1 to1 ratio)
  • 2 drops of Satsuma bitters

Do not add ice until serving. Garnish with 2 cocktail straws and a swizzle stick.

 

Sidecar

  • 1 oz. cognac
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 Lemon

Preparation:
Prepare a cocktail glass well in advance with a sugar frosted rim. Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain the prepared glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel. 

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