Archive for January, 2013

Sipping a Seelbach Cocktail on Urban Bourbon Trail

Seelbach Michael Anderson I always think of the mint julep as the classic Kentucky drink, but there’s more than one way to imbibe the Bluegrass State’s signature spirit, Kentucky Bourbon. As I reported in the January 12 issue of the Boston Globe Travel section, I’m only two drinks away from claiming an Urban Bourbon Trail T-shirt. It’s offered to anyone who visits six of the 20 participating bourbon bars and restaurants in Louisville. (Click here to see the Globe story.)

The Seelbach Cocktail, named for the classic hotel where it was invented in 1917, is one of those great accidents that seem to happen at bars as the night wears on. The drink originated when champagne overflowed into a Manhattan, beverage supervisor Michael Anderson (above) told me. “It’s a cocktail with whiskey for people who don’t like whiskey,” he opined.

Seelbach drink 2 The recipe disappeared during Prohibition. but was rediscovered in 1995. Here’s how Anderson makes it today, using fewer bitters than the original 14 dashes, but sticking with Old Forester, America’s first bottled bourbon.

SEELBACH COCKTAIL

1 ounce bourbon (Old Forester)
1/2 ounce Cointreau
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Champagne

Stir the bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters briefly over ice. Strain into a flute and top with brut Champagne.

24

01 2013

What to bring home from a British grocery store

British groceries Whenever I visit a British grocery store I scour the shelves for the most unusual items. But it’s really the comfort foods that define a cuisine — or at least taste like home. That’s the lesson I learned from a lovely woman in Leeds who had lived and worked in Taiwan for 15 years. When I asked her what I might want to buy in the city’s big Sainsbury grocery store, she immediately rattled off the items that she had most craved during her years abroad.

At the end of every visit home, she would pack herself a big care package for her return trip to Taiwan. Here are the foods she couldn’t do without:

Heinz Tomato Soup. It’s ultimate comfort food.

Heinz Baked Beanz. Brits consider this version superior to the American version.

Heinz Salad Cream. This tangy dressing has a consistency like mayonnaise. Dubbed “pourable sunshine,” it’s as popular on sandwiches or baked potatoes as it is on salads.

Marmite. This yeast extract with a strong, salty flavor is equally loved and hated, even in Great Britain. The dark brown paste is usually spread on toast, with or without a little butter.

Walkers Salt & Vinegar Crisps (potato chips, to Americans). Walkers is the favorite brand in the UK and the salt and vinegar variation has a tangy, salty flavor that is quite addictive.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Whole Nut Bars. Introduced in 1933, this bar pairs Cadbury’s creamy, high milk content chocolate with whole hazelnuts.

And here are a few more items that I like to throw into my grocery cart:

HP Sauce. This secret-recipe brown sauce has been manufactured since 1899 and is a favored accompaniment for beef. The original version is available in many U.S. grocery stores, but it’s worth seeking out some of the other flavor options, including the blend of HP and Guinness.

Branston Rich & Fruity Sauce. This mix of tomatoes, apples, and dates is blended with herbs, spices, sugar, vinegar, and molasses to make a sweet but tangy brown sauce. It’s good on scrambled eggs.

Cadbury Flake. The crumbly bar of thin sheets of milk chocolate is the classic adornment to a scoop of ice cream.

Italy #6 – Grilled Montasio, prosciutto, and fig

Grilled legends 2 All good things must come to an end, and so too our cache of world-class cheese and ham from the Legends from Europe consortium. We had one 4-ounce piece of Montasio cheese remaining, along with four slices of prosciutto di Parma. And it was time for lunch.

Grilled legends 4 We found a jar of fig jam and some slices of whole wheat sandwich bread in the pantry. Drawing on inspiration closer to home (the fig, prosciutto, and Gorgonzola pizza from Todd English’s original Olives, now Figs), we had the makings of a terrific grilled sandwich. If it were Italy and we had a panini press, it would have been a prosciutto and cheese panino and we might have skipped the fig jam.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s easy and delicious.

04

01 2013