The search started with a Sazerac and finally ended with the Ramos Gin Fizz.
. . . After we settled in our hotel there was time for a late dinner. We waited for a table at the hotel restaurant bar and this was our first chance to try a Ramos Gin Fizz. We told the bartender that we’d heard about this traditional New Orleans drink and would like to try it. He was young and he was stumped. . . He suggested another famous Big Easy cocktail, a Sazarac.
. . . It was almost dinner time and we had reservations at Galatoires, another one of my father’s recommendations. It was an old New Orleans institution with classic Creole dishes and jackets required for gentlemen.
. . . From base to top there were subtle and slightly varying shades of almost pure white going from the deepest hue at the bottom to a perfectly white, glowing heavenly cloud of thick foam at the top. It appeared to be both dense and light at the same time. . . The best way for me to describe the experience is to imagine the tastiest slice of lemon meringue pie anyone ever ate; now imagine drinking it while in a garden filled with fragrant tropical flowers.
. . . Marcel said, “These jack-leg young bartenders don’t care to keep up with the old Noo Awlin traditions. The Ramos Gin Fizz has been around longer than jazz. It was first concocted by a gentleman bartender named Henry Ramos before Kid Ory or Jelly Roll Morton ever even played any music.”
. . . “It’s not so much what’s in it but the time and care you take to get it all together.” . . . I ordered another round just so we could witness the “time and care” Marcel would put into his creation.
Grillades are a New Orleans speciality. Recipes vary a bit and this one is my favorite. Some people use veal or beef cutlets but I prefer pork. You can buy pork cutlets or cut your own from a loin. This time I used pork chops with the bones trimmed away.
*Cajun spice typically contains paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and cayenne. You can make your own or buy it. I use La Flor or Zatarain.
Pound cutlets thin, salt them and sprinkle them with Cajun spice. Dredge in flour with 2 tablespoons of Cajun spice mixed in with it. Lightly brown them in oil and remove them.
Add the trinity to the pot and sauté. Add garlic and some more oil if necessary and simmer until soft.
Prepare the roux in a separate pot. Stir the flour and oil over low heat until it’s the color of peanut butter. Add this to the sautéing trinity. Add the tomato, wine, Worcestershire and about ½ of the stock.
Deglaze the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Return the cutlets and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, adding stock as necessary. You can serve this with grits or white rice.
New Orleans street band video – Smoking Time Jazz Club
My wife Bridget and I went to four bars in the New Orleans’ French Quarter to try Sazeracs and take away the best recipe. This was our favorite but after four Sazeracs I could only remember the recipe and not the name of the bar where I got it – maybe the Hotel Monteleone? Ingredients:
Preparation: Put ½ shot of Anisette in a small rocks glass. Coat the sides of the glass with it and then add some ice. In another small rocks glass add: a few dashes of Peychauds Bitters and 1 tsp of simple syrup. Mix, add ice and stir. Add a shot of rye and stir. Empty ice and excess Anisette from 1st rocks glass and strain mix of Peychauds, syrup and rye into it. Float a few dashes of Angostura on top. Serve cold without ice. Three aromatics, sugar and Rye – that’s a Sazerac.
*Simple syrup – Heat one cup of sugar in one cup of water. Stir until it’s clear and liquid.