Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Every white will have its black, And every sweet its sour." -Thomas Percy

I think we can all agree that the most common mixer behind the bar is sweet and sour. Slings, Fizzes, Collins, and countless contemporary cocktails all call for the sour base.  The “Sour” is a classic cocktail recipe dating back to the 1850s and the key to the longevity of the sour is it’s simplicity. A liquor, lemon juice, sugar, over ice. The sour is most often seen in the form of a whiskey or brandy sour and the inexperienced drinker will take their sour with amaretto. 

Sweet and Sour Mix can be purchased anywhere liquor is sold and even your local supermarket.  But since sour mix is so simple why buy it when you can make your own? Store bought mixers are often overly sweet, tart, high in caloric content and can quickly overpower any drink when not used in moderation. 

Home made sweet and sour mix is simple, cheap, and far more flavorful than any retail variety. Plus the home mixologist looks pretty fancy pulling out their own personal sweet and sour mix rather than that unsightly plastic jug of Finest Call. 

1 cup simple syrup (see tips and techniques)
1 cup lemon
1 cup lime
splash of soda water

This recipe makes about ¾ bottle of mixer (obviously 3 cups).  Double, triple, quadruple as needed and volia! Your drinks are guaranteed to taste 100% better when using your own mixers, so it's worth the extra time and effort.  Trust me. 

Cheers Ya'll  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


How could I post about salsa last week and leave it’s poor friend the Margarita left out!! So here it is, and since it's the Labor Day weekend enjoy this recipe at the last party of the summer season.

The Margarita’s origin is "officially" unknown and everyone wants to take credit for it. Looking at the drink closely you can see the ultimate progression of how this drink was made and that eventually someone would have come up with it.  The margarita seems to stem from the Sour of the 80s (the 1880s that is). The sour gave birth to the Sidecar, then the Daisy and these 3 beverages show the signs of the Margarita’s origin.

Sour = Liquor, water, sugar, lemon
Sidecar = Liquor, orange liqueur, lemon with a sugar rim
Daisy = Liquor, orange liquor, water, sugar, lemon
Margarita = Tequila, orange liqueur, water, sugar, lemon, lime, salt rim

So basically the Margarita is sort of a Tequila Sour Sidecar Daisy that swapped it’s sugar and lemon rim for lime and salt. And boy is it tasty!  I should also mention that the Spanish word for daisy is margarita so it stands to reason that the daisy is the margarita's namesake.

The Margarita is the most popular Tequila based beverage in the United States but in Mexico, the Paloma is the household favorite. The Paloma is a Margarita made with grapefruit soda as opposed to a lemon and lime sweet and sour mix.  The Margarita has endless variations and depending the produce available, MiddleBar has been known to offer varieties with orange, mango, strawberry, etc.  The current favorite is the Margarita and Paloma twist, "The Daisy & Rita." The Daisy & Rita is made from scratch with homemade sweet & sour, simple syrup, fresh squeezed grapefruit, and fresh strawberry puree. {Due to the sugar content of all retail fruit juice and mixers substitutions will drastically effect the taste of this drink so if you're following this recipe don't cut corners} 

Rocks glass, salt & sugar rim (optional lime or strawberry garnish)

1 oz Top Shelf Silver Tequila
½ oz triple sec

Shake well and strain over ice.

The sugar and salt rim does make a difference. The sugar accents the sweetness of the strawberries and the salt plays on the lemon and lime notes.  If grapefruit is not available 3 oz of sweet and sour and 1 oz of sparkling water is a nice twist.  The Daisy & Rita should always be shaken over ice, NEVER blended. Because at MiddleBar, the blender is always broken.

Salud Ya’ll

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Berry Berry Quite Contrary: Purred Fruit

There is nothing I hate more than berries that spoil. And strawberries seem particularly good at this activity even after a few days.  So as soon as those berries loose their ripe firmness and before they grow mold, they are perfect for a puree.

Puree comes from the French word meaning purified or refined. A puree is created by putting fruit into a blender, food processor or food mill then passing it through a fine sieve.  Some purees call for cooking to influence the flavor, color and purity but due to the softness and size of strawberries, the MiddleBar Strawberry Puree does not call for this additional step.  This puree is great in a cocktail as well as drizzling over desserts such as cheesecake. Yum! Purees can be made with any berry, stone fruit or combination of the two (I also make a summertime white peach puree with cooked peaches which is perfect for a Bellini).

2 containers of fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
1-2 tablespoons of sugar (omit for extremely sweet strawberries)
filtered water

Place strawberries and sugar into a blender or food processor.  Slowly add water while blending until the strawberries are smooth but still retains some thickness. Adding too much water will overpower your puree and effect the flavor of your cocktails due to it's high water content.  Gently press puree through a fine mesh strainer and into a jar for storage. 

Homemade puree is wonderful for a cocktail, it adds depth, sweetness and has much more flavor than any store bought brand. This puree is perfect for cocktails with rum, gin, and vodka, and is especially tasty in a margarita. 

Enjoy Ya’ll!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mexican Fiesta Part 1- Aunt Sis's Salsa

A very famous MiddleBar recipe is Aunt Sis’s Salsa. I still credit my Aunt Sandy for this recipe although it’s gone through countless changes since the 1980s.  As a child my cousins and I would spend summer Saturdays swimming in the pool at Aunt Sissy and Aunt Debby’s house.  Part of the awesomeness other than countless hours of Marco Polo was cold Coca Cola out of the classic red retro fridge and snacking on yummy tart salsa. 

The recipe consisted of Rotel canned tomatoes, cilantro, lime and salt.  Even though the tomatoes were canned, the salsa was much better than anything that the stores at that time were carrying.  Since then the salsa recipe has changed dramatically especially after  making it's way to California where it acquired a kick and lost the can.  

This salsa doesn’t have that thick tomato sauce quality, which is the reason that most people like it. It’s tangy, salty, dare I say soupy, and it’s definitely drinkable. (Bloody Mary shooters have been made using the strained juice of the salsa at MiddleBar but that’s for another post) The key to this salsa is the freshness of your ingredients and all the proportions should be adjusted accordingly due to sweetness and tartness of your seasonal produce.  I these days will not even make this salsa when tomatoes are not in season, plus salsa just tastes better with that summertime margarita next to the pool. 

I’ve debated actually posting the recipe here on the Internet because I’m afraid to give the secret away but since the proportions of this recipe are estimations, I know mine will still reign supreme ;)



Ole Ya’ll

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Juice is Loose: Fresh Squeezing for Your Cocktails

At MiddleBar we make a point of squeezing all our juice fresh. Buying bottled juice can effect the sweetness of your cocktails because even drinks labeled 100% fruit juice may still contain some sugars.  Using fresh squeezed juice allows you to add sugar to your beverage as you see fit.  Invest in a juice squeezer it’s totally worth it and makes juicing super easy.  Bottom line is, fresh juice simply tastes better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do the Dew: Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

What are those crazy little red peppers in the pickle asile!?!?  

The Peppadew is a type of sweet piquante pepper from South Africa, and the reason you may not be familiar with it is because it was discovered in 1993. The pepper just turned 18 and was slowly introduced to the American marketplace so don't feel too silly if you haven't been introduced.  But now that it's legal, it's time to get to know this kid! 

The Peppadew is a relative of the Aji Amarillo Chili found in South America and is most commonly associated with Peruvian cooking. The Peppadew, like it’s cousin, is a mild chili pepper that is pickled in a tangy vinegar brine.  The pepper is almost shockingly sweet followed quickly by a kick of heat that makes your lips pucker at its crisp pungent goodness.

The Peppadew was once only available at specialty food stores but today it’s finding it’s way onto the shelves of many chain grocery stores.  This is certainly a good thing because once you have a MiddleBar “Dew” you’re going to want them…often.

Because of it's age and previous unavailability, many people are not familiar with the pepper so this dish always starts a conversation. (A conversation that usually comes with a request for a recipe) And the best thing about this recipe, is that it’s remarkably simple!  I mean super simple.  It’s SO easy sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit how easy it is, because you would never know it from the taste. 

MiddleBar Stuffed Dews

1 Jar of Peppadew Sweet Piquante Peppers
¼ cup goat cheese
4 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons of Peppadew juice poured directly from the jar
¼ cup chopped chives
Mix well and pipe into peppers
Chill in refrigerator and serve 

Notes on Execution:
The Peppadews are seedless so just dry them on a paper towel (reserving some of the liquid for the filling mixture). You can mix the cheese filling with a spoon if you do not have an electric mixer. As long as you whip it well, it will make NO difference in taste and presentation and cut down on the amount of dishes that you’ll have to do. Also if you do not have a pastry bag for piping, you can cut a small hole in the corner of a regular plastic bag and use that as a piping tool.  When placing the peppers on a serving tray it helps to pipe a very small amount of the leftover filling mixture onto the plate to act as "glue" for your pepper to stay in place.

The flavor and mild spice of the Peppadew is well matched with the creamy coolness of the soft cheeses. Perfect to pop in your mouth and these guys go well with red wines or a craft wheat beer.  The Peppadew is perfect for any occasion so whether it’s watching the game or hosting a fancy dinner party the Peppadew is a great addition to your recipe arsenal. 

Piquante Yall!

P.S. Toss that blue cheese stuffed olive out of your Martini and pop in a stuffed Peppadew!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Napoleon House Pimm's Cup

Want to get the “I don’t drink gin” fellow to drink gin?  Well then serve him a Pimm’s No. 1 Cup.  Most people who are drinking Pimm’s don’t even realize that they are drinking a gin based beverage because the drink is so pleasant, refreshing and almost fruity. Qualities the average drinker doesn't associate with gin. 

The Pimm’s Cup is a English specialty drink usually mixed with a lemonade, ginger ale or soda. In England this style of beverage commonly known as a “fruit” or “summer cup.” Summer cups are created by adding a special blend of herbs, spices, and fruit to a base liquor (most often gin). 

Pimm’s recipe for it’s herbal botanical concoction is a closely guarded secret known by very few in the company.  Since it’s original creation by James Pimm at his London based oyster house in 1823, the Pimm’s Company has produced several different numbered cup varieties.  Pimm’s Nos. use base alcohols of gin, brandy, and vodka but Pimm’s No. 1 is the original, the most popular, and has proven the test of time. 

The original “English” version is simple: Pimm’s No. 1, a twist of lemon, filled with ginger ale over ice.  The "New Orleans" version credits the Napoleon House (500 Chartres St.) as it’s creator.  The website gives their secret away (not that it’s too hard to figure out) and is sure to mention that theirs is still the best “ warned, home concoctions of the Pimm's Cup, no matter how accurate, for some reason, never taste as good as those at the Napoleon House.”

The Napoleon House Pimm’s Cup

Glassware: 12 oz tumbler

1 ¼ Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
3 oz Lemonade
Fill 7up soda

Garnish: Cucumber slice

Some recipe’s call for mint, oranges, ginger ale, ginger beer, soda, muddling and the like. And the possibilities seem endless in creating one’s own special Pimm’s Cup.  For this beverage MiddleBar serves the classic using fresh lemonade and often substituting Sprite for 7up.  

MiddleBar Lemonade

Glassware: 1 large pitcher

4-6 large fresh lemons
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
filtered water

The Pimm's cup is a wonderful treat with oysters on the half shell and better be, it was created at an oyster house!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of RUM!!

It's National Rum Day and today August 16, 2011 I left the celebrating to the Keller-McNulty clan who spent their day drinking beachside on their Rhode Island vacation.  I received a text of their bar tab full of Dark & Stormy cocktails. I was inspired. The Dark & Stormy is a rum based cocktail with ginger beer. The spicy ginger and sweet dark rum work quite well together.  Basically it's a rum Moscow Mule but I'll save those classic recipes for another day.

It just so happens that MiddleBar has been perfecting a new rum cocktail to add to our current menu.   What a perfect day to unveil this MiddleBar original-- "The Renaissance Rum Cocktail."  This recipe is an homage to the new age of rum. The fantastic spirit moving from it's former life in the Tiki, Daiquiri, and the Hurricane to a new sophisticated drinking pleasure.  Welcome to rum, it's all grown up now.     

Glassware: Stemmed glass

2 oz Aged Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1 squeeze of fresh lemon
1 egg white (or 3 drops Fee’s bar foam)

Garnish:  White sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon rim and top with several eye drops of Peychaud’s bitters.  

The hint of cinnamon sugar blends nicely with the cane sweetness of the rum but the bitters really makes the drink.  The Peychaud's adds a complexity to the drink and the Renaissance cocktail is not the same without it.  The egg white brings an incredible silky mouth feel and sets the drink apart from it's tropical family members.

Yo Ho Ya'll

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who Dat Po Boys!

The fall is almost upon us, and we all know what that means…SAINTS FOOTBALL!
Friday night MiddleBar got started a bit early for the first pre season game! On the menu were our famous Shrimp and Oyster Po Boys.  

The Poor Boy sandwich, most commonly known as the “Po-boy” is a New Orleans staple.  The Martin brothers of Raceland, LA were the owners of small coffee shop in the French Market during the early 1920s and are credited for originally creating the po-boy.  The Martin brothers were former streetcar conductors before they opened their shop in 1922 and during the transit strikes in 1929 the Martins were in full support of their union brothers.  The Martin’s promised free meals to the unemployed transit workers and to meet the demand they started serving large sandwiches on French bread.  Legend has it that when the men started coming in the brothers would say “here comes another poor boy” and the name just stuck. 
Martin's Original Letter To the Union

Now anyone can make a sandwich but what sets the po-boy apart is the bread.  Most po-boys in New Orleans are served on Leidenheimer Baking Company’s French bread, with its crispy crust and incredibly airy interior.  Like New York bagels, French bread in New Orleans has a distinctive flavor due to water and humidity.  Finding a proper substitute is difficult but a must if making a good po-boy.  A baguette is not an appropriate replacement for traditional French bread.  The bread should be light and crispy, not dense.  Most grocery stores offer French rolls and Italian delis sometimes have a soft bread with a  nice hard crunch.  But if you’re desperate for your Leidenheimer fix, don’t worry, they’ll ship.

MiddleBar’s fried Shrimp and Oyster Po-boys are created in a style similar to that of local favorite Domalise’s Po-Boys in Uptown New Orleans.  This dish is dedicated to Mrs. Dot and her fantastic sandwiches that I’ve been eating since I was a child.  I think she would be proud!

Ingredients (3-4 sandwiches):
1 lb headless raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 jars of raw oysters
1 cups of yellow corn meal
1 cup of flower
3-4 tablespoons of Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (to taste)
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
Kosher Salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic salt
1 cast iron skillet ½ filled with vegetable oil and flavored with ¼ cup of bacon grease (bacon bourbon grease where applicable)

In 1 large bowl mix dry ingredients (cornmeal, flower and seasoning mix).  In the other bowl mix wet ingredients (cream, eggs, 2-4 dashes of crystal sauce, pinch of salt & pepper)

Double dredge shrimp and oysters in the egg wash then into the dry ingredients take a fork to cover and coat the shellfish with the flavored corn meal.  Let stand for 2 minutes then carefully drop into extremely hot oil.  Adding the shrimp too quickly will cause the oil to pop and increase the risk of burns so be careful!  Add the shrimp in batches leaving enough room to flip ½ way through the cooking process. The temperature of the oil will drop when adding the shrimp so fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown to ensure that the shrimp are cooked through.   Carefully remove shrimp from oil and leave to rest on a bed of paper towels while frying the next batch.  Between the batches allow the oil to reheat but be careful not to burn it.  (Since I already have the batter and hot oil I occasionally fry additional items such as pickles, green tomatoes, okra and pretty much anything else I can find)

While frying, prepare your bread and “dress” the po-boy with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and pickle.  Once the fish are fried place them onto the sandwich cut in half and serve.  I offer Crystal Hot Sauce and ketchup as additional dressings that guests can add at their discretion. 

The ingredients of the po-boy are endless and throughout the city you will find everything from fried shellfish, boudin sausage, roast beef and even French fries with gravy.  Try your own at your next NOLA gathering! 

Friday, August 12, 2011


Many a cocktail calls for a twist, even dating back to Jerry Thomas’s time and of course Thomas was extra particular realizing that the twist is far more than just a decoration.  A twist, much like bitters does actually influence the taste and complexity of the drink.  As in cooking, the zest of citrus fruit adds a powerful punch of flavor because of the release of the essential oils.  These essential oils have a flash point and the process of flaming twists has become a popular trick with many modern mixologists (see the MiddleBar Manhattan) and certainly adds to the flare of bartending. 

Different methods can be used for cutting a twist by using a common bar knife to purchasing a citrus zester.  (At MiddleBar we actually use a hand held cheese slicer knife).

When applying a twist to any cocktail, rim the glass entirely then “twist” it over the drink to release those important essential oils directly into it.  Different schools of thought either toss the twist out or into the drink.  I prefer to usually toss it in but even Thomas goes both ways in his recipes so the choice is yours. 

MiddleBar has been putting a new twist on twists so keep your eyes open in future posts for ever changing examples.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bacon Bourbon (Drunken Pigs)

As a southern girl I believe that bacon makes everything better.  Every household in the south has a jar of bacon grease in the back of the fridge just waiting to cook anything from frying eggs to grilling onions.  It’s the butter of the Bible belt.

I just can’t believe that I was above the Mason Dixon line when I found the most beautiful pairing of bacon that I ever have. BACON BOURBON.  Two southern favorites in one! Why had I never seen this wonder before?!  Well the bartender at the Savoy in Manhattan certainly knew what he was doing and gave us a few tips on how this infusion was made and before we unpacked our bags from the trip the first batch of MiddleBar Bacon Bourbon (MBBB) was steeping.  

Since 2010 MiddleBar has produced many batches of bacon bourbon and it goes in a flash.  We think we’ve perfected the recipe and there are actually a few very interesting things that we’ve found out along the road.

1 handle of Kentucky Bourbon (60 oz) 
We’ve tried Maker’s Mark and other midrange whiskies but we have found that a cheaper Kentucky bourbon works best.  Jim Beam is what we prefer because of it’s sweetness because something about the sweetness lends itself well to the saltiness of the bacon. 
1 pack of bacon 
It's not necessary to use something fancy here either, less expensive bacon usually has more fat than actual meat, and when making bacon bourbon that’s exactly what you want. I usually pick the fattiest pack of bacon I can find. 
1 cast iron skillet 
1 large bowl

1.)  Heat the cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, lay a single layer of bacon and begin frying. Do not cut into lardons (small pieces) because they are more difficult to remove from the grease.  
2.)  Remove the first layer of bacon and discard.  By discard I mean eat or keep for other bacon-y treats (see bacon bourbon popcorn).
3.)  Drain the pan and save the grease in a small bowl and quickly fry the remaining bacon.  Leaving the original grease in the pan while frying the 2nd and 3rd batch of bacon can burn the grease changing the color and taste. The fewer particles in the grease the better.  
4.)  Pour the entire handle of bourbon into the large glass bowl.  Slowly add the hot liquid bacon grease into the bourbon DO NOT STIR. I repeat. DO NOT STIR.  Stirring and disruption will cause cloudiness in the bacon and will make the bourbon oily which is just gross.
5.)  Let the grease and bourbon stand for 1 hour then carefully move the bowl into the refrigerator without disturbing it too much.  If you see grease around the sides of the bowl 1/2 way through the process you'd just as well throw it out.  The bourbon should remain pretty clear with all the fat on the top.  Let stand for 4ish more hours.  
6.)  Remove the bourbon and skim off the top layer of fat with a slotted spoon. 
7.)  Strain the bourbon twice through cheesecloth into a jug, bottle, etc. 

Keep in mind that I am not sure what the shelf life of bacon bourbon actually is because each batch we have made has been consumed before it could possibly spoil.  Please keep this in mind if you are storing your bacon bourbon for more than probably a week or 2.  Since it's alcohol you should be ok for a while but I'm no scientist so who knows. 

The cocktail

MiddleBar Old Fashioned

Glassware: Old Fashioned Glass

2 ½ oz bacon bourbon
½ oz Vermont maple syrup 
3 dashes of orange bitters

Shake well with ice and then strain over a large block of ice.

Garnish: Flame the peel of orange zest over the cocktail, run the peel around rim of the glass, and drop it in.  This allows the oils to caramelize into the drink which adds to the smoky quality of the drink.  Also a piece of sugar coated bacon is a bitchin' swizzle stick. 

This makes a great late summer cocktail while sitting on the porch and relaxing in the last rays of the summer sun. 

Cheers Ya’ll  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Layering or “stacking” a drink is the process of gently pouring liquids of different densities on top of each other to create a layered effect.  Each liquid has a different specific gravity--it’s own personal weight.  Now before we run off and get to scienc-ey, I’ll try and keep this simple.  Put the heavy boxes on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Get it? Good.

Cream liqueurs and fruit juices are packed with sugar thereby increasing their density making them heavier.  Obviously those should always be poured first.  More alcohol and less sugar makes the liquid lighter and less dense so those layers should go on top.  Liquors with the highest alcohol by volume are the lightest and are always floated on top.  Each layer should be placed gently atop the next by pouring the alcohol slowly on the back of a bar spoon to avoid upsetting the other layers.

The layering process is also used when making the famous “black and tan” and really shows how ABV and density work. Guinness, which seems like a “heavy” beer actually floats atop the “lighter” Bass Ale because of density.  Neat right!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Pat O'Brien's is of course a New Orleans staple.  The ambience is matched by no other.  Just spend one night at the piano bar and you'll see why.  Pat O's as it's so lovingly referred to by New Orleanians has (of course) an interesting history.

After prohibition ended in 1933, Pat O'Brien turned his then speakeasy bar into a legitimate dram house.  The cramped space in the 600 block of St. Peter's street proved to be too small to hold the bar's ever growing crowd that was expanding far beyond just neighborhood folks. So in the late 30s the business moved to it's larger location where it stands today (718 St. Peter).

In the early 1940s there was a shortage of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon as a result of war, the depression, and the drought from the years of prohibition. Rum, however was everywhere and New Orleans being the port city that it is saw plenty of it coming up the river.  Pat O's was determined to make the spirit palatable to it's clientele and thus after plenty of trial and error, the head bartender tossed his final creation into a glass shaped like a Hurricane lamp and the Hurricane was born.

Now, the Hurricane gets plenty of press but there are other cocktails on the Pat O'Brien's menu that many people are missing out on while pounding Hurricanes back watching the dueling pianos and slurring the words "You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin'...Darlin'." The cyclone, the skylab, the rain storm, are definite must try's but my personal favorite is The Rainbow.

Now I'm not usually a fan of the severely sweet cocktail in fact I tend to shy away from anything that even gives the appearance of a sugary hangover in a glass and that's blue (anything blue is just sketchy in my opinion.) But the rainbow is something different and my only exception.  And a layered drink is just cool, I mean come on, it is.

The Rainbow
(all ingredients must be layered to give this drink it's signature layered look for more about layering see tips and technique, if not your drink will just be a greenish mess with red syrup on the bottom.)

Glassware:  Pat O'Brien's serves their rainbow in a 14oz "lightning glass" and for $3.00 a piece having a nice collection of 6 is cost effective and also just fun to have. If not just grab a 14oz collins glass and if worse comes to worse, lighten up on the sweet and sour and just use a 12oz collins.

Instruction: (in the order of execution)
1 oz Grenadine
Add Ice
2 oz Vodka
Fill sweet and sour (feel free to make it from scratch but Pat O'Brien's offers it's own bottled variety)
Float 1-2 oz of blue curacao

A simple cherry and orange flag will top this off and you're ready to go.

It's not a fancy, superior, or trendy cocktail but it is fun and the rainbow, like Pat O'Brien's has stood the test of time. So they must be doing something right.

Have Fun Ya'll !

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The St. Bernard

My favorite citrus-based beverage would have to be the Greyhound and it’s brother the Salty Dog.  A greyhound is simply vodka with grapefruit juice and the addition of a salt rim on the glass makes it a salty dog. The greyhound makes a great morning beverage especially in the summer when fresh grapefruit is available. 

Grapefruit was originally bred in Barbados in the 1800s as a hybrid of the sweet orange (where it gets it’s sweetness and color) and the Japanese pomelo (where it gets it bitterness and large size).  The first addition of grapefruit juice in a cocktail is unclear but the bittersweet taste of grapefruit pairs extremely well with vodka and gin. 

The "breeze" family of cocktails (bay breeze, cape cod, sea breeze) all contained cranberry juice with citrus and were very popular throughout the 1950s and 60s.  Most likely the greyhound was a byproduct of the “cranberry crisis” in 1959 when it was found that cranberries were contaminated by a pesticide.  The sea breeze dropped it’s cranberry juice and gained a salt rim and the two drinks were born and when the crisis ended the greyhound and the salty dog remained. 

Today there’s a new dog in town, the St. Bernard.  The St. Bernard is much sweeter than a traditional greyhound and the sugar rim replaces the salt of the salty dog.  I’ve added the orange blossom water to accent the flavor of the sweet orange inherent to the grapefruit and the fresh lime juice mildly offsets the sweetness of the elderflower liqueur.

I recommend using the fresh juice of ruby red grapefruit and this drink is the most flavorful in the summer.  If fresh grapefruit is not available, try an unsweetened juice such as white grapefruit juice and try to avoid the ruby red/pink grapefruit sweet varieties (don’t worry about the color difference).  When using bottled juice you will have to adjust the sweetness levels from the original recipe to taste.

Glassware: Old Fashioned 

Muddle 5 mint leaves with a dash of simple syrup (the tiniest dash ever)
1oz Vodka
¾ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ of small fresh lime
3 drops of orange blossom water (Be extremely careful with the blossom water too much will overpower the whole drink. Use an eyedropper for the best results)
fill fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

Serve the St. Bernard in a sugar rimmed glass with a mint leaf

Woof, woof, ya’ll!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

MiddleBar's Bloody Mary

The bloody mary is definitely MiddleBar's most famous cocktail recipe.  THE staple of Saint's Sunday football where cocktails start flowing at kickoff.  My bloody mary is made to order (but I'm gonna bottle it eventually!!) with Louisiana heart and soul.  I must give credit to Joe Trippi a longtime bartender at Fat Harry's Bar & Restaurant in New Orleans since he taught me the "secret" ingredient of an amazingly delicious Bloody Mary. As the drink moved to Los Angeles, I found my own secret ingredients.

Pint Glass or Pat O'Brien's Hurricane glass with ice
(During football season the MiddleBar Mary is served in a plain pint glass due to breakage during exciting plays and the jumping around that takes place when the Saints are winning.  When the bar is more mellow the Pat O's glass is a nice touch.  But don't waste your time if the hurricane glass isn't from Pat O's it's just not the same.)

Is now available for purchase. Contact me at for more information

The Garnish:
(I use a metal skewer mainly for space saving and I love to use a bunch of garnishes because they always get a fun reaction from your guests!)
Some of my favorite pickled items include, MiddleBar's Original Cryin' Cayenne Beans, hot pickled okra, peperoncini, sweet peppers, pickles etc.  Everything and anything is a great garnish for your mary but please, please no shrimp...ever.  

Football season is almost upon us and we Angelenos gotta get up real early for our teams. Try the MiddleBar Bloody Mary relax and enjoy your mornin' game. 

Cheers Ya'll!

Monday, August 1, 2011

MiddleBar's Mission

MiddleBar Los Angeles

Welcome to my new blog based on bringing my current LA speakeasy {MiddleBar} to life via the internet. I will be sharing new recipes, photos and write-ups of our special events, and highlighting classic cocktails with MiddleBar's twist. Cheers!!