A Return to Cocktail Hour

By / Food, Wine + Drinks / July 12th, 2013 / 1

It cannot be denied that, this summer, it’s all about the Roaring Twenties and the era of the Great Gatsby, when “gin was the national drink and sex was the national obsession”. A time when spirits were high, jazz ruled the airwaves and Cocktail Hour was king. Bombay Sapphire and Chef Cory Vitiello are helping Canadians re-invent the Cocktail Hour of the 1920s by bringing it into the 21st century. These are classic gin cocktails with a modern twist and cuisine pairings that inspire summer entertaining worthy of Gatsby himself. “Made popular in the Roaring Twenties, Cocktail Hour was a time to relax, catch up with friends and sip gin martinis,” explained Raj Nagra, global brand ambassador, Bombay Sapphire. “Today’s Cocktail Hour can be inspired by a retrospective look at these classic cocktail days, but can also be updated with a modern twist better suited for the 21st century.”

While Cocktail Hour of yore truly was a time for spirits, gin was certainly the drink of choice. Classic gin cocktails, such as the gin martini, gin and tonic and negroni were on every speakeasy menu and made in homes across the country. Making simple additions or adjustments to these classic cocktails is an easy way to give the Cocktail Hour of today a modern day feel. For example, adding Prosecco sparkling wine, juniper berries, coriander seeds and the zest of lemon and lime to a tradition gin and tonic is a quick and easy way to bring a classic favourite of yesterday into today. “Putting a twist on a traditional cocktail recipe is easy when using a versatile and mixable spirit,” continued Nagra. “Bombay Sapphire’s uniquely refined and delicately balanced flavour profile created by its 10 botanicals and Vapour Infusion distillation process makes it the ultimate spirit to marry with a variety of ingredients.”

Botanicals such as almonds and lemon peel from Spain not only inspire great Cocktail Hour cocktails, but cuisine pairings as well. Taking inspiration from the Gin’s flavours and the Cocktail Hours of the Roaring Twenties, Chef Cory Vitiello developed hors d’oeuvres recipes that pair perfectly with these modernized cocktails. Vitiello’s Caramelized Fennel, Olives, Toasted Almond and Orange Gougeres is an updated take on the popular Cocktail Hour offering and was inspired by the Spanish almonds that are infused in the drink. They provide nuttiness and strength to the overall spirit. “Pairing cocktails and cuisine can make both taste better,” said Vitiello. “When hosting a modern-day Cocktail Hour, try serving dishes and drinks that have one or two similar ingredients or tastes that compliment or help bring out each other’s flavours.”

When hosting your own modern day Cocktail Hour this summer, Vitiello also recommends building a play list full of today’s most popular jazz musicians to help set the mood, displaying a drink menu to help cold, hard ice on hand to keep drinks cool.

Caramelized Fennel, Olive, Toasted Almond and Orange Gourgères

A Return to Cocktail Hour

Rating: 51

Gougère is a savoury French cuisine that was made popular during the Roaring Twenties for its rich taste and ornate presentation. The caramelized fennel filling incorporated in this recipe offers an updated twist to cater to a more modern palette.

The savoury pastry offers a very balanced and versatile base that lends itself beautifully to different flavours. This attribute allows the tastes of anise and almonds in the dish to flourish and pair perfectly with a Bombay Sapphire Gin cocktail by accentuating its mirror ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsps Sugar
  • 6 Tbsps Butter, cut in pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsps Flour, sifted
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup Gruyere, grated
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • Caramelized Fennel Filling:
  • 1 large bulb Fennel, thinly sliced
  • ½ Sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Star anise, ground
  • 2 Tbsps Black olive, chopped
  • 1 Orange, zest and juice of
  • 1/3 cup Almond slivers, toasted
  • 2 Tbsps Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps Butter

Instructions

  1. Gougères Method:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water, salt, sugar and butter to a boil, making sure the butter is completely melted.
  4. Remove from heat, add flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon.
  5. Return to the heat, continue beating until the dough forms a solid, smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
  6. Remove from heat, empty the dough into a clean mixing bowl.
  7. Slowly add beaten eggs, beating vigorously in between each addition, until the dough forms a
  8. smooth, glossy mass.
  9. Stir in the cheese and cracked pepper.
  10. Scoop batter into pastry bag and pipe out approximately 25 (1-inch) rounds, spaced 1 to 2 inches apart on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  11. Brush lightly with the beaten egg and place in the oven.
  12. Cook until golden and puffed, about 25 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and cool briefly on a baking rack.
  14. Caramelized Fennel Filling Method:
  15. Combine fennel, onion and garlic in a medium sized pot over low heat with the butter and olive oil.
  16. Cook fennel mixture low and slow until fennel is golden brown and completely soft – about 1 hour.
  17. Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes, or until the pan is dry.
  18. Keep the mixture warm for service or reheat as needed.
  19. To Serve:
  20. Warm the gougères gently in the oven, cut them in half and spoon a generous amount of fennel mixture in the center.
  21. Garnish with picked fennel fronds, finely grated orange and additional shaved cheese.

Drink Suggestion:

The Modern Martini

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The Modern Martini

A Return to Cocktail Hour

Rating: 51

Serves: 1 serving

The Modern Martini is an updated twist on the traditional Gin Martini, a cocktail with an unclear history. Some believe it is based on the classic drink the Martinez, created at the Occidental hotel in the 1860s, while others believe it was born in New York in the early 1920s. What is clear, however, is that the Gin Martini rose to fame during the 1920s. The Modern Martini builds on the Gin Martini recipe with elements that make it appealing to wider audience.

Lavender and apple bitters provide a lighter twist while pulling out the flavours of Bombay Sapphire’s 10 botanicals. The fennel garnish compliments the anise character of the Chinese liquorice root found in the mid notes, which add a warm, spicy and slightly sweet character. The savoury and sweet almond notes of the Caramelized Fennel, Olive, Toasted Almond and Orange Gougères complement the bitter, oily, creamy, buttery warm, nutty and spicy notes of the Spanish almonds used in the drink.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (60 mL) Bombay Sapphire
  • 1 oz (30 mL) Martini Bianco
  • Two dashes Lavender bitters
  • Two dashes Apple bitters
  • Thyme or fennel leaves or sprig
  • Orange and lemon zests

Instructions

  1. Pour Bombay and Martini Bianco into an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until ice cold
  2. Strain into Coupe glass.
  3. Garnish: Lemon zest discard, oversized orange zest, thyme sprig
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