Now that the colder weather is here and you’ve put away your beach towel it’s time to winterize your cocktails. One way to achieve this is by using amari, the rich, bitter, herbal European-style liqueurs-before–dinner aperitifs and after-dinner digestifs-that have become more popular and widely available. Amari can add structure and backbone to cocktails and is often the secret behind some of the most iconic classic drinks. Amaro is perfect for colder months, to pair with flavors like honey, citrus, and spices. Adding it is like seasoning food because it enhances flavors and gives the drink more character.
This season bartenders are combining them with brown spirits like dark rum, bourbon, rye, and Scotch for autumn and winter drinks. You could make a variation on the Brooklyn cocktail with bourbon, amaro, maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, blood orange liqueur, and bitters.
Some add amaro and bourbon to mulled wine or change up that Irish Coffee by using single-malt whiskey, two kinds of amaro, coffee, simple syrup, and topped with whipped cream. Change up the Negroni by keeping the gin, but replacing the Campari with amari and adding amontillado sherry.
Be inventive and try adding amari to your holiday cocktails. You may just create a new classic.
“Work With What You Got!”
©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved
Ice Tea or Iced Tea? It depends on where you live. In the South, it’s called ice tea and everywhere else it’s called iced tea.
Iced tea did not take its current form until the popularity of black tea took off, thanks to the work of the Indian Tea Commission at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. As the legend goes, Richard Blechynden, the head of the commission, watched the fairgoers pass by his elaborate teahouse as the sweltering temperatures made hot beverages unpalatable. Driven to increase the market for Indian black tea in the States, he hit upon the idea of not only serving it iced, but also perhaps more importantly, giving it away for free. His booth was soon the most popular at the fair as the patrons found his golden beverage to be the perfect refreshment.
Spurred on by his success in St. Louis, Blechynden toured the country, giving away more and more iced tea, quickly spreading its popularity nationwide. Brewing the perfect iced tea at home, complete with sweet and often fruity syrups, soon became the hallmark of a great hostess. Iced tea was mixed with all sorts of flavors in delicious punches; lemon, mint, strawberries, cherries, and oranges, whether fresh, preserved, or in syrup form or, for the more mature palette, brandy and bourbon to give it a little extra kick. And though few still have time for such an elaborate and time-consuming production (early recipes recommend beginning to brew tea at breakfast for service at dinner), iced tea remains an American favorite, available in bottles, cans, and even from a soda fountain.
To make iced tea use double the amount of tea or teabags that you would use for hot tea when you’re planning to chill the drink. And allow the tea to come to room temperature before you put it into the refrigerator. Fill an ice cube tray with tepid tea and freeze for ice that won’t dilute your drink. You could also float some minced mint or fruit in the cubes for a special treat.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved
The abundance of meat in America was a major change in the diet of the early settlers. Rabbits and squirrels were available year-round nearly everywhere, plus deer and other large game in many regions. As settlers moved west, buffalo gained importance in the diet. Fish, shellfish and wild fowl became common food, and they were all essentially “free.” The existence of these various forms of game was a literal life saver in times of uncertain crops and unbroken land. The game gradually diminished, of course, as the population expanded and settlers pushed west, but it provided a large share of the diet in early and frontier days.
Ham, of course, appeared on almost every settler’s table, rich or poor. It might be the only meat served at a meal or it might appear in company with more exotic roasts and fowl, but it was always there – breakfast, dinner and supper.
Corn was also a staple of the colonists, either fresh in summer, or as hominy or corn meal all year. Corn was also put to another use by an early Virginian, Captain George Thorpe, who may have been the first food technologist in America as he invented Bourbon whiskey shortly before he was massacred by the Indians in 1622.
Meal patterns for working people in rural early America were very different from those common today. Breakfast was usually early and light which consisted of bread, hominy grits, and sometimes fruit in season. Coffee, which was a new beverage at the time, was popular that is if it was available. A drink made from caramelized grain was sometimes substituted. Chicory was popular in the South, either alone or used to stretch the coffee. Tea was often made from local leaves such as sage, raspberry or dittany. Alcohol in some form was often served.
Breakfast in more elegant homes or large plantations might be later in the morning, and include thinly sliced roast and ham.
Dinner was served somewhere between midday and midafternoon, depending on the family’s circumstances, and was the big meal of the day. There was almost always ham, as well as greens (called sallat), cabbage and other vegetables. In the proper season, special dainties would appear – fresh fruits and berries, or fresh meat at appropriate butchering times.
Desserts could be simple such as a scooped out pumpkin, baked until done and then filled with milk, to be eaten right out of the shell. Or dessert could be more complex such as ice cream or other fruit flavored frozen pudding or a blanc mange. Blanc mange was prepared from milk and loaf sugar, flavored with a tablespoon or two of rosewater, thickened with a solution of isinglass (derived from fish bladder, soaked overnight in boiling water). This mixture was boiled for 15 to 20 minutes, then poured into molds to set.
If isinglass was not available (most was imported from England), homemade calves foot jelly could be substituted, but eh dessert was not as fine.
Various alcoholic beverages, including wines, applejack, “perry” (hard cider made from pears), or beer were commonly consumed.
In winter, peaches and other fruit disappeared from the dinner table, to be replaced by dishes made from stored apples and dried fruit of various sorts. Soups or broths also took their place. Milk grew scarce as cows “dried up” in the short days. Vegetables gradually decreased in variety as stored crops wilted.
Apples quickly became a staple in early America. Orchards were easy to start, required a minimum of care, and apples stored well. Housewives devised a multitude of “receipts,” including sauces and butters for off-season, as well as many using dried apples.
Supper was late and a light bread and butter, some of the left-over roast from dinner, fruit (fresh if in season, pickled and spiced otherwise), and coffee or tea.
To Be Continued…