As discovered at the Aviary, booze and food go together. It accompanies flavors and opens up your palate. It leads to taste discovery and self-discovery, delving into your id and ego with ease.
(That’s a fancy way to say you cry a lot about your exes when you drink too much whiskey)
I have had many drinks. Too many drinks. I pretend to be inspired by Hemingway and order mojitos to act more sophisticated than I actually am.
But out of all the drinks, one drink stands alone.
I had the single, greatest drink of my lifetime in 2014 at Solbar in Calistoga near Napa Valley, a pristine bar alongside a luxury boutique hotel. And today I intend to do a poor man’s recreation this wonderful, exquisite martini.
The Five O’Clock Shadow is a pomegranate martini with egg white, simple syrup and rosemary. Stupid simple, right? Reminiscent of a gin fizz, the fruity pomegranate rings tart while the egg white softens and sweetens the drink. The single rosemary leaf seeps herbal balance into the liquor.
I have tried twice now to mimic their recipe with minimal success. I have no bartending experience and when I tried last, frankly, I was already drunk.
My efforts today include:
Pomegranate vodka. I’d infuse my own with time, but today, store bought is fine. I will say some brands tend to lean towards codeine cough syrup. If you can infuse your own, please do. Also, be sure to taste test the vodka prior to mixing, as some are sweet enough to do without sugars.
a TINY DASH of rosemary simple syrup. I was lucky enough to receive this is a christmas present and it’s still in my refrigerator. Serendipitous.
Two Egg whites, whisked on low or shaken, for when I fuck up and need more.
Homegrown, kind of ratty rosemary plant that somehow survived the winter and two cats. I wholeheartedly recommend growing at least rosemary, mint and basil if you like mixing drinks at home. It really brings a new dimension to your creations and makes you look cool as hell.
Egg whites can be tricky with presentation. First of all, raw egg kind of creeps people out. Be sure to clean your eggs and hands prior to handling in order to avoid contamination from the shell into the white. It would be fine if we were cooking them, but we’re not. Don’t get salmonella.
You can prep your egg whites one of two ways. I first tried the traditional “dry shake” by combining the two egg whites, vodka and syrup in a shaker and went to town, checking on it until it came to a nice foam. I highly doubt that this was the method of Solbar or many other fine dining restaurants, but I wanted to experiment.
The dry shake method wasn’t fabulous, but it worked. It’s mostly used by Speakeasy restaurants who try to stick with tradition.
I then decided to shake my vodka with rocks and syrup, straining into the glass and then pouring two egg whites, whisked separately, onto the top. (I used an immersion blender on low, without moving it within the mixture to keep the bubbles tiny and uniform. Don’t overblend, or you’ll have meringue.)
Voila. Enjoy responsibly on your couch with your cats.
Did I mention that if you ever indulge by venturing to Southern California, please, visit Solbar. Fantastic, now michelin-rated restaurant. They deserve their star. See pictures of food porn below.