Friday, February 12, 2010

Sessions Week I - Thank you!

What a good time I had Wednesday for week I of Black Orchid Sessions! Thank you to everyone who sat down with me directly and worked with me to create those custom cocktails... there were a few that were really innovative and original, and that I definitely wouldn't have been able to dream up myself, but WOW, were they tasty! Mel Waldorf of Meshugga Beach Party asked me to see what I could do with the secret ingredient (an Organic Maple Syrup, Apple Cider and Cinnamon reduction) and his beloved Slivovitz... quite the challenge if you've ever tasted it! I came up with a cocktail with gin, the Slivovitz, the maple-apple reduction and some limoncello... amazingly delightful, and you couldn't even taste the Slivovitz! Just got a little bit of the plum notes with the lemon. I also created a bourbon based cocktail with Black Maple Hill bourbon, which was rich and wonderful, and several others with various different spirits. The true challenge of the evening, however, was when someone asked me to come up with something using Hangar One Chipotle Vodka and the maple apple reduction... something one would really NOT think would work. With the addition of grapefruit juice, campari, and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, we came up with a unique and fantastic cocktail. I can't wait to make another one!

For those of you not quite in the know, Black Orchid Sessions is a new, innovative and fun way to learn more about the art of Mixology by working with me directly at Forbidden Island to create custom cocktails. Each week, a focus ingredient will be announced (last week it was the apple-maple-cinnamon reduction, next week rose syrup; see a list of all the planned specialty ingredients below)... but here's the fun part: You come in, sit down with me, and get to taste the special ingredient of the week. After that, we'll talk about its characteristics, and how we can creatively use it in a brand new cocktail... you tell me what you like, what you feel like, and we'll put it together right there on the spot! You get a special little notebook to keep all of your custom created recipes in, and at the end of the Sessions, you can take it home and keep all of your recipes! Any questions you have about how to create a good cocktail, where to find ingredients, or anything similar - well, you've got my full attention during your session and the sky's the limit! In addition, if you like, I'll send you home with a small container of the special ingredient for the week, so you experiment in your home bar with creating new cocktails, based on what you learn in our Sessions. We want you to have a blast at home AND at FI with those new cocktailing skills you're learning.

Every week, there will be a new, unique ingredient to try... the possibilities for innovative Mixology are endless, and the possibility for fun even more so! Just like this week when I was challenged to create a cocktail with maple and Chipotle vodka and came up with something I'll likely be making in my home bar, (wish I had one right now as I type!), I'm positive some AMAZING cocktails will result from this drinking and mixing adventure. Ah! My mouth waters just thinking about it!

At the end of the six weeks, I'll put together a list of cocktails that were created in Sessions, and we'll have a contest for the best... the most original, the tastiest, barkeeps choice, and the one with the craziest name... and those cocktails will be featured on a special evening with YOUR name on the menu.

Need a little more delicious enticement? Here's a list of upcoming specialty ingredients:

Rose Syrup
Prickly Pear, Lemongrass and Citrus
Bitter Chocolate and Orange Peel
Orgeat (Almond), with a rum base
Pomegranate Honey
Black Orchid (French Vanilla and Black Tea with Sour Cherry)
...and perhaps even more!

Sound good? Well, don't miss it! Come and see me on Wednesday nights at Forbidden Island, 1304 Lincoln Ave in Alameda, CA, 5pm 'til Midnight. Remember your Black Orchid Club VIP cards are valid for 10% on your entire check Sunday through Wednesday (and it just so happens I work on all of those days), so bring your friends!

I'll see YOU at the Island!


Photo Credit: Sparkling Future Cocktail. Photo by William Anzenberger Photography

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