Archive for August, 2011

Taming of the Shrew

A product of the new Las Vegas downtown cocktail scene, this drink is reminiscent of a lightly flavored martini, but served on the rocks. You can drink this at The Artifice (look for the flickering ‘R’) in the Las Vegas arts district, along with many more signature cocktails. This is a very smooth, balanced cocktail; lots of herbs and just enough sweet to keep everything together. The Taming of the Shrew is extremely good as a cocktail to start the night, or for fans of gin looking for something outside of the average tonic or Collins concoction. The gin in question is Hendrick’s, an unusual gin with unusual flavors. The most prominent and most interesting of which is that of cucumber, with strong juniper, floral, and herbal notes. Although much less assertive than very herbal gins such as Bombay Sapphire, it adds it’s own unique personality to any drink it takes pole position in. The actual cocktail is made as such:

Ingredients:post icon
2.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz of Verte Absinthe
Juice of 1 lime wedge
5-7 fresh mint leaves

Directions:
Muddle the mint leaves into the bottom of a short glass. Add the gin, absinthe, and lime juice into a mixing glass and mix well. Add ice to the short glass, then pour the mix over ice. Mix lightly to infuse the mint oil and enjoy.

To properly describe this cocktail, I must guide you through how the flavors reveal themselves. One would assume that such a strong spirit such as absinthe would take over first, but anise and fennel actually take a back seat to the cool, clean flavors of Hendrick’s. Then the Absinthe (which I believe was the brand Lucid), which brings along just a hint of the lime; the acid truly acts more to smooth down the stronger flavors. It has a very clean and chilly finish with the mint and the last floral notes of the gin and ice.
This is a cocktail that can find a home in anyone’s repertoire. Whether it is produced en masse for party guests, or simply a drink to relax and refresh on a lazy summer afternoon, the Taming of the Shrew will tame your thirst for a beautifully crafted cocktail.

 

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All-Stars Cochon 555

Wine tastings, sure.  Beer tastings, of course, love them.  PIG tasting?  TAKE MY MONEY.

 

When I heard that Cochon 555 would be coming to town, I got to work on researching it immediately.  The basic idea is taking five chefs, five wine makers, and five heritage breed pigs, throwing them all together and then seeing what comes out on the other end (spoiler alert: it’s amazing pork).  The touring event was created to not only showcase the amazing things our porcine friends can do for the culinary world, but also to raise awareness of sustainable farming and heritage breed pigs.  Well, this combined two of my favorite things, eating pork and learning about pork, so I was very exited to go.

Courtesy of Taste Network

 

The event was held in the main ballroom of The Cosmopolitan.  The first thing I noticed was that each table had a little pot of bacon to snack on.  This was no everyday, greasy spoon breakfast bacon either, it was extra thick smoked bacon.  I assure you, it took will power to not eat the whole pot, as there was even more delights to behold down the line.  Several local and out of state farms were showing off their prize winning, master crafted prosciutto and culatello, taking super thin slices right off the bone.  Along side them were representatives from other small farms and dairies, and even a booth for Deschutes Brewery, where I learned about the Black Widow beer cocktail.

There were many, many different iterations of the pig.  Some were great in an obvious way, like maple ice cream between bacon oatmeal cookies, or pineapple glazed pork belly sliders, or the Ham-burger, a burger made from 100% ground ham.  However, there was an equal amount of food that didn’t so much appeal to my base instincts, but rather to my higher predilections for interesting and complex flavors.  For instance, the Swiss-Army Pig used every main part of the pig, including the organs and marrow, to create one delectable bite, encapsulating all the flavors perfectly.  Another example would be the a simple ball of cantaloupe melon, wrapped in a little bit of raw pig fat.  With the tender loving care in both the upbringing and preparation of all the pork at Cochon, I would consider it a kind of ‘pig sushi’.  Very tasty, once you get past it.  Truly, these chefs were absolute masters of their craft, and the canvas for them to ply their talents was a very deserving one.

Courtesy of Taste Network

Will I be going back to Cochon 555 next year?  Well, I had to consider it… for about five seconds.  Let me put it this way:  if you are planning a wedding and want me to attend, do us all a favor and check the website of Cochon 555 first.