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11.16.10 by  

Cocktail Talk with Andrew Noye

We gave the Blackberry Farm mixologist a topic — citrus drinks don’t have to be boring — and asked him to discuss. Part I of a 5-part mixology series on using fruit innovatively. Go ahead, read amongst yourselves.

Normally fruit wouldn’t make it in, say, your top 5,000 of hot conversation pieces, even when the subject is cocktailing. In Part I of a 5-part series, Blackberry Farm’s Andrew Noye dispels the notion that Mother Nature isn’t wildly interesting — especially when she’s soaked in booze — with some innovative ways to use citrus in drinks.

When you need inspiration, sub out your typical citrus — limes, lemons and orange — for quirkier sour options.

served raw: other than creating balance in a drink, how are you using citrus innovatively?
Andrew Noye: This is a great question, because we all typically will just go straight for the fresh lemon or lime juice. I like to cheat and use a lemon or orange bitters a lot of the time. One of the things that we’ve been using is preserved lemons. There are several ways you can do this. You can acid-preserve the lemons by cooking them in vinegar and salt or you can sugar-preserve them. Jesse, one of my bartenders, blanches the lemons several times to remove bitterness, cooks the lemons down into a syrup with spices and then finishes it off once it is cooled with fresh lemon juice. This really gives you a tremendous amount of lemon flavor, both on the cooked side and the fresh, so it’s not just one-dimensional. You can use just the syrup, or you can purée the lemons if you want to add thickness and mouth feel. We’re also playing around with infusing our own citrus into different liquors. I used to be able to get a great blood orange vodka, which we used in a variation of the negroni instead of gin, and now I can’t get it anymore. So this winter, we’ll be infusing our own. Or maybe we’ll be making blood orange gin. Who knows.

how can you use citrus to enhance the flavor profile and/or create balance?
citrus can always be used to add just that little pop, or fill in the gap as to what is missing in a cocktail. I love to spray citrus oil over the top of a drink, simply by taking a knife and cutting a large piece of peel off and then squeezing it over the drink. You’ll get a beautiful hint of that flavor, without the sugars and acids. A dash of West Indies Orange Bitters can also be that hint of something you’re looking for.

what is your favorite flight of citrus cocktails?
I would have to say that one of my favorite innovative citrus cocktails is not one of my own creations — I believe that it’s a Dale DeGroff recipe. He calls it the Breakfast Martini, and it’s gin, lemon juice, Cointreau and orange marmalade, served with toast. I love it. Now, we serve a Chilled Autumn Toddy at Blackberry, which is Wild Turkey Bourbon shaken with preserved lemon and garnished with Ceylon cinnamon. Finally, I’d serve a Desperado, which is an older recipe that I came up with a few years back, and I really like the combination of the fresh bay leaves and kumquats. It’s not rocket science, but it’s tasty. The kumquat syrup is a very simple way to preserve the kumquats so that you have a longer window of time to use them, but the fresh kumquat muddled in the glass is what adds the mouth feel to the drink.

Desperado

Andrew Noye’s signature way to innovate with citrus. The surprise ingredient: Kumquat.

  • 1 ½ ounce Don Julio Silver Tequila
  • 1 ounce Kumquat-Bay Leaf Syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 ounces soda water
  • Fresh kumquat
  • Fresh bay leaf
  1. Muddle the bay leaf and kumquat in a rocks glass. Add ice, tequila and syrup. Top with soda water.

Kumquat-Bay Leaf Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 5 kumquats, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Add sugar and boiling water to small metal Bain.
  2. Add kumquats and bay leaves. Let steep for 2 hours, and strain into a squeeze bottle.