Wassail Day 1. Fortifying with Pear Brandy. Olmsted’s Sidecar Cocktail.

Wassail Day 1. Fortifying with Pear Brandy. Olmsted’s Sidecar Cocktail.

January 5, 2014.

The Plan: Locate and Wassail the four famous and beloved quince trees inside The Cloisters Museum at Fort Tryon Park.

As the site of the quince cloister garden IS in a museum – we reasoned our Wassail activities would need to be discrete, if not completely covert. The park was covered with snow, the air was frosty, and we decided a pre-Wassail ‘warming’ beverage to fortify ourselves was in order.

The New Leaf Restaurant & Bar, located in a 1930’s era rustic deco-medieval structure originally built as a concession stand for Fort Tryon Park, proved the perfect spot to enjoy a surprisingly tasty brunch and a Wassail-appropriate cocktail to launch the festivities.

Sidecar

The Cocktail: Olmstead’s Sidecar

Ingredients: Koval Organic Ginger Liqueur, pear cognac, and lemon.

Olmsted’s Sidecar is made with Koval organic ginger liqueur (produced by a craft distillery in Chicago and hand bottled), pear cognac and lemon. Named for Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the landscape architect who planned Fort Tryon Park, which was completed in 1935. He is the son of the designer of Central Park.”

New Leaf Restaurant & Bar newleafrestaurant.com

“New Leaf is an enterprise of the non-profit New York Restoration Project (NYRP). All net proceeds support NYRP’s mission of creating a greener, more sustainable NYC. Learn more at www.nyrp.org.”

KOVAL Distillery www.koval-distillery.com

What We’re Reading: The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Drunken-Botanist-Cover-low-res

What We’re Reading: The Drunken Botanist. The Plants That Create The World’s Great Drinks.

Algonquin Books, 2013.

Author: Amy Stewart

Exploring botany in a bottle, plant by fascinating plant, with cocktail recipes. Organized by process and botanical families, and styled with a nod to antique tomes, chapter headings include:

Part One: We Explore The Twin Alchemical Processes of Fermentation and Distillation from Which Wine, Beer and Spirits Issue Forth.

The entry for Apple, Malus domestica, Rosaceae (Rose Family) – includes a discussion of cider, notes regarding heritage apples, outlines apple spirit styles, and provides cocktail recipes with history notes. Pear, Pyrus communis, perry and pear spirits are examined as well.

Full of fun facts to know and tell, with Grow Your Own and Field Guide sections, and a diverse array of recipes.

This is the kind of reading you can easily enjoy with a glass of cider; educational, informative, and amusing – a very handy imbibers reference guide indeed.

Visit: drunkenbotanist.com

Tasting Lab: Recipe: FREEZE IT! Cider and Ice Cider Granitas.

The warming temperatures inspired some cider experimentation. We made quick no fuss granitas from several ciders and ice ciders. Here are our results, and a few ideas for other freeze-ology experiments:

Tieton Cider Works Cherry Cider: A very fruit-forward, apple cider blended with cherries from Harmony Orchards fruit grown in Eastern Washington State.

Frozen Result: Refreshing. Try with a slice of lime. Tieton Cider Works Cherry Cider is a terrific base for popsicles, slushies or a fresh fruit cider sangria.

Tieton Cider Works Frost Ice Cider: A light “autumn blend” ice cider made from Harmony Orchards’ Jonagold, Pinova and Winter Banana apples.

Frozen Result: A gently sweet apple ice that would be lovely infused with bits of lemon thyme, or tarragon prior to freezing. Serve with a serious citrus twist.

Tieton Cider Works Wind: A warming bourbon barrel aged ice cider.

Frozen Result: A whiskey-like equivalent of a frozen margarita. Add fresh mint + simple syrup for mint julep-style frozen treat.

E. Z. Orchards Cidre: A French-style cidre from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Frozen Result: An amazing tannic treat. Palate cleansing, unexpected and addicting.

Eden Ice Cider Orleans Bitter: A recent addition to Vermont based Eden Ice Cider’s line, Orleans Bitter is a bracingly bitter refreshment, and our current go-to summer apéritif and a favorite mixology component.

Frozen Result: A perfect apéritif or digestif in delightful frozen form. No add-ons, adjuncts required or desired. Just freeze it.

Try This At Home!

DIY-HOW TO: Freeze ciders in shallow container (ice cube trays will do in a pinch) covered to seal out unwanted freezer flavors. Once frozen, scrape into granita texture, or fork-chip into a pleasing cider ice flake. Serve immediately, a small scoop is all that’s needed as flavors are intensified.

Further experiments with cider pops, cider slushies, home infused cider ices, and ice ciders over shaved ice – cider sno-cones! –  coming soon.

Notes: We favor craft ciders that use real fruit for our mixology and freezing experiments, and suggest you do the same. Be aware of the ABV% of your frozen treat –  easy to enjoy – it’s easy to forget they still contain alcohol.

For a bit more Granita How To visit Serious Eats.

Links:

Tieton Cider Works

E. Z. Orchards Cidre

Eden Ice Cider Company