|Feeling inspired by summer and blueberry cocktails - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Thrilled by Bombay's Most Imaginative Bartender event, thwarted by dead phone battery - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|An ode to the classics (and great snacks) at Lot No. 3 - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Nordstrom's new Habitant cocktail bar reminds you to have your fresh fruit for the day - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
It's kind of brilliant – a retail paradise with cocktails within arm's reach (no, you can't walk around with your drink, but you can relax with a drink after a day of retail therapy). I sidled up to the bar and had them mix me a couple of favorites from their signature menu, a fresh blueberry lavender martini and a grapefruit Brown Derby. They can mix you a classic, but their signature drinks are twists on tradition, typically adding more fresh muddled fruit or juices to mellow the alcohol's bite. Which I guess is a great metaphor for the joys of shopping – we buy beautiful things that bring us personal joy, which helps mellow the sting of our credit card bill later. Or maybe that's just me...? Regardless, I appreciated Habitant's use of fresh herbs, fruits and fruit juices, as well as their making their own flavored simple syrups. The rosemary simple syrup in the grapefruit-muddled Brown Derby was a nice touch. And their liquor shelves are stocked with good selections; they're not filling the rows with a celebrity-endorsed spirit, they've got bottles from local distilleries as well as other interesting small-batch spiritmakers. I admit, I like being able to say, “Meet you for a drink at Nordys.”
|Flavor foundations, thanks to Mark Sexauer's book Aphrodisiacs With a Twist - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Fresh fruits, homemade syrups, good spirits, and all the right tools - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Experimenting with more summer fruit, herbs and bourbon - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Note: on all these recipes, I recommend double-straining, which just means using a metal cocktail strainer, or Hawthorne strainer (the one with the metal coil), placed over the cocktail mixer to keep the big chunks out of the drink, and pour the drink through a smaller metal mesh strainer placed over the serving glass, which removes the fine, pulpy bits. You don't have to do this, but you get a much smoother drink consistency, especially when you muddle the hell out of fresh fruit.
You Can Be My Blueberry (makes 1 drink)
Handful of whole blueberries – about 6-8 washed, dried berries
1.5 oz of ginger/peppercorn syrup (or plain simple syrup - get Mark's book for the recipe, it's worth it!)
2 oz of gin – I used Aviation gin, but any clean, not heavy juniper-flavored gin will work
.5 oz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about half of a small to medium-sized lemon)
Instructions: Place blueberries, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle until berries are crushed. Add a handful of ice on top and pour gin over the top. Seal shaker and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with fresh blueberries on a cocktail pick.
This Flower is Wilting - Let's Have an Apricot Julep (makes 1 drink)
1 ripe apricot, pitted and quartered
2 oz bourbon whiskey - I like Bulleit, but use your favorite
1.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about half of a small to medium sized lemon)
4 fresh mint leaves
Instructions: Place the slices of pitted, ripe apricots in a cocktail shaker and muddle vigorously until the fruit is pulpy and near-mush. Add the mint leaves and muddle gently, just enough to lightly break them up. Add the fresh lemon juice, bourbon and simple syrup. Add a handful of ice over the top before sealing shaker and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Double strain into a martini glass, highball glass or a small mason jar for a rustic look. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or a slice of lemon rind.