At the beginning of January, the last thing anybody wants to hear about is milk punch, am I right? Weeks of parties full of cloying egg nog, resolutions to get fit… there is no place in there for a punch made with milk. Or so I thought.
On New Year’s Eve the hubbs and I celebrated our 17th anniversary at the lovely Geraldine restaurant (1564 Queen Street West). The menu was resplendent with oysters, foie gras and duck, and despite a massive hangover from a party the night before I was tempted by a couple of the fabulous cocktails created by bar manager Michael Mooney. Specifically the Parisienne Milk Punch, inspired by the Jerry Thomas Bartender’s Guide from 1862,which balances absinthe with a variety of aromatics, juices, rums and tea along with milk. Milk? Ugh! I was skeptical, but our server convinced me with a “just wait and see!”
The end result is not a creamy, gloppy drink at all, but a light, refreshing, fruity cocktail that is surprisingly clear but also amusingly smooth. Flavourwise, it reminded me of a very intricate Tiger Tail ice cream, which is never a bad thing.
It turns out that the trick to this type of milk cocktail is to mix all of the fruit, juices, herbs and liquors together to infuse, then add hot milk… and let it curdle. Yep. The drink is then strained so that the curds are removed, leaving the whey of the milk behind to create that silky smoothness.
The folks at Geraldine were kind enough to share the recipe with Sarah Parniak of NOW last month in a piece about party punches, but the recipe serves 30, includes 14 ingredients, and must infuse for 48 hours. Easier to just head over to Geraldine where a single Parisienne Milk Punch will set you back $13 or get the “tea service” (for the table, wink wink) for $48.
Maybe Ricky and Julian (and pretty much every hard-drinking Nova Scotian) aren’t so dumb after all – rum is the hot “new” drink, and yes, you can have it with Coke. [Globe and Mail]
If you’ve been following the news in Toronto about how a Halloween party store has had multiple bomb scares during their busiest season, and wondering why on earth anyone would do such a thing, maybe it’s the same freaky sense of competition that compelled two Domino’s managers in Florida to set fire to a rival pizza joint. [Jacksonville.com]
I can’t believe I didn’t think to put the two together before. Baked beans are a traditional down east dish that I ate regularly as a kid, and still make a couple of times a year. Served up with real brown bread (bread made with molasses, not whole wheat bread), this is a perfect dish on a cold Saturday night in the winter. Also traditional on a cold winter’s night is a glass of rum, and the flavours here combine really well. I was a little heavy-handed with the rum in my test batch, thus the restrained 2 tablespoons in the ingredients list, but rum lovers can add up to a quarter of a cup. Just be warned that not all the alcohol burns off, so these beans have a bit of a kick to them.
I used Sailor Jerry spiced rum because I have seekrit aspirations to be a hipster, but mostly because that’s what I had on hand. But any decently flavoured spiced rum would do.
The Caribbean is known for its gorgeous beaches, laid back atmosphere and beautiful scenery. But food and drink connoisseurs might be more familiar with the other hilights of the Caribbean islands – particularly rum.
September 24th to 26th was Caribbean Week here in Toronto. Designed to promote travel and industry in the 32 Caribbean islands, the festival also featured an evening of Rum and Rhythm at the Harbourcastle Westin, where guests listened to the sounds of the Caribbean while sampling rum from the islands and culinary offerings from some of the Caribbean’s top chefs. Guests could sample a variety of rum and rum-based cocktails, and a buffet-style selection of Caribbean cuisine that included everything from salt fish to bread pudding.
We wisely filled up on some of the fabulous edible offerings first before hitting the rum and cocktail samples.
From the Bahamas, Chef Mario Adderley offered traditional rice and beans, an outstanding conch stew and apple bread pudding with a light rum sauce. Chef Vidyadhara Shetty from Cayman Islands prepared grilled swordfish, paired with a fruit salsa, and possibly the best rum cake we’ve ever eaten.
The culinary offerings from Chef Richardson Skinner of St. Lucia might well have been our favourite overall. Chef Skinner was serving up a salad of avocado and cucumber with figs in a lime dressing, fried plantains, salt fish and veggies and a ginger and coconut crème brûlée.