Tipples and Tales.
I love a good cocktail. There’s just something about the alchemy of ingredients mixed with care in precise measurements (though poured with reckless abandon can also be fun) and served up in a lovely bit of glassware. One sip can transport you to far-away places, conjure distant memories or just taste really, really good. There can be a high-low tension to having a cocktail as well; imagine the perfect martini, poured from on high into a frosty glass. No, you’re not at Bemelmans in NYC… you’re swaddled in sweats with a take-out burger (from your chosen delivery service because it’s raining outside) on your couch at home, while you watch The Expendables or Magic Mike III (I’ve never actually seen Magic Mike but I’m sure it’s just as good as an ageing Stallone romp).
A good friend of mine, Brendan, shares a similar love of mixology and imbibing. I’m not sure what his take on terrible action films are… I should probably ask. But, I digress... I wanted to start a little back-and-forth with him, with a simple premise: One of us shares a favourite cocktail recipe with an accompanying story, and the other draws inspiration from it and photographs it. A creative exercise, and an excuse for a tipple… a clear win-win! Especially as we get to sample new flavours and old favourites… Brendan has a penchant for spirits that I’ve never tried, which is always eye-opening in a really pleasant way. So, get some glasses chilling and enjoy…
Words & Recipe by UF, Photography by BC
“It was our first big overseas holiday together. A few days in London and then the train to Paris. It was a few years ago now, when you didn't have to book restaurants in advance and could still get a spot as a walk-in. Our favourite in the Marais was Le Mary Celeste. We walked in the first night, and were soon nestled at the well-worn wooden bar. Feeling very at home bathed in warm, dim lighting and surrounded by exposed brick walls and the chatter of Parisians. We ordered Oeuf mayonnaise, which were decadent yet delicate - freshly garnished with a smattering of greens and some cocktails.... then some more cocktails. Ever since, this drink has always taken me back to that spot and moment in time....”
This is one where I think it's important to use quality ingredients you can trust. Otherwise it very quickly verges into sickly territory.
For gin I like Plymouth, but any other dry, english style works well - as long as it's not too floral or herbacious. Maraschino liqueur and cherries I always vote Luxardo, and the violette liqueur I've had either Edmond Briottet, Rothman & Winter or Tempus Fugit.
2 measures gin
3/4 measure fresh lemon juice
1/2 measure maraschino liquer
1/4 measures liqueur de violette
Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled and serve into a chilled glass. Either a coupe glass or a Nick & Nora style work well.
To garnish: I like to take a single maraschino cherry either with a cocktail pick or a spoon. Lift it from the jar, letting some of the syrup drip off. Then gently drop into the centre of the glass, it will settle to the bottom. Looking like a diffused punctuation mark in a dusty, purple-hued foggy sky. You may even get a little rivulet of syrup swirling in the centre of your glass.
Feel free to replace each time, or re-cycle when you top up (which you will)
The Yellow Cocktail
Words & Recipe by BC, Photography by UF
“While I was already particularly fond of home cocktail preparation (and consumption!), I - surely as many others - achieved a profound dedication to the hobby starting approximately March of 2020. The protracted months following this time presented many with the challenge of discovering and maintaining fellowship with other sane individuals, and for myself, this manifested itself in two domestic pursuits: mixing cocktails and baking bread (how cliché!). Well, to stay on-topic and not bore you with the many failures of my short baking career, my bible for imbibing was "Drinking French," authored by David Lebovitz - a gift from a very thoughtful friend. In these hallowed pages, I travelled the world through ingredients: Suze and Lillet and Pastis. No longer was I confined to a moldy apartment in the foggiest, loneliest corner of San Francisco - I was exploring the sunset-luminated streets of the City of Lights with fellow cocktail enthusiasts! Sharing that shake and first sip with friends and loved ones made my passage through those years bearable; while it's doubtful that's a unique experience, it was particularly meaningful to me, and remains one of the warmest recollections from those dark times. Cheers!”
1.5 ounce London dry gin
1.5 ounce Suze
1.5 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
1.5 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
*Makes two cocktails*
First add lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, followed by the Gin, Suze, and Yellow Chartreuse. Shake until well chilled, and strain into a chilled coupe glass (alternatively, strain over ice in a highball glass for sipping in the sun). Twist the lemon peel into the drink, with the outside of the fruit facing the beverage. Throw away the rind and serve.