Food + Drink / Insights

Cocktail Trend: Apple Cider Sips

Warm up by the fire with a snifter of spiked apple cider.

January 10, 2012

Sultry, spicy apple cider cocktails are popping up on menus all over the city. Easily mixed with a variety of spirits, and possessing warm notes of cinnamon, clove and orange peel, apple cider is a must-stock Fall mixer. Serve these seasonal cocktails at your next party or mix one up for yourself to enjoy fireside. 

Heated Affair

2 ounces Partida anejo tequila
6 ounces hot spiced apple cider (see below)
Heavy cream

Add tequila and cider to a small, warm wine glass. Top with heavy cream and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg. 
For the apple cider: Combine one container of organic apple juice with winter spices, such as clove, cinnamon stick, allspice and orange peel, to taste. Simmer over low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste, strain and serve.

Durango Royale

3/4 ounce Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice
1 ounce Aquavit
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Dry French fermented sparkling apple cider

Add Kahlúa, Aquavit and lemon juice to a shaker with ice. Shake well, strain into a flute and top with cider. 

Winter Apple

1 ounce Tequila Avión Reposado
1 ounce fresh pressed apple juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave bectar

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick or apple slice. 

by mollie campbell


Boozy Tea Time Recipes

Le Palais des Thés conjures seasonal tea tipples with red wine, sake and Champagne.

December 19, 2011

Thé N°25 Mulled Wine

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a renaissance happening in the world of tea. From the arrivals of various new teashops (Bosie Tea Parlor being one of our favorites) to tea-infused desserts, tea pairings and tea cocktails, the boundaries of tea are seemingly endless. We’ll leave dessert to the chefs, but tea cocktails can be easily concocted at home.

This Christmas, French teahouse Le Palais des Thés has introduced N°25, a black tea blend scented with rose petals, cinnamon and oranges—all of which are commonly found at holiday festivities throughout Northern Europe. The blend also possesses notes of cardamom, almond and a fragrant finish of vanilla bean. Here are a few ways Le Palais des Thés recommends marrying its potent teas with alcohol for the holidays.   

Thé N°25 Mulled Wine
Comforting with a spicy bouquet and lingering citrus notes, mulled wine is precisely what winter evenings call for.

1 bottle of red wine
5/8 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp. N°25 tea

Heat the wine and brown sugar in a large pot over a low flame. As it comes to a boil, reduce the flame and simmer for five minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add tea and infuse for four minutes over low heat. Serve warm with an orange wedge.

Thé du Hammam Champagne
When the occasion demands something sparkly, keep Thé du Hammam Champagne in your repertoire. Thé du Hammam is a lush green tea with berries, rose, orange flower and green dates, all of which evoke the scents of a hammam, the traditional Turkish bath.

3 tsp. Thé du Hammam tea
2 tbsp. peach liqueur

Brew tea in ten ounces of spring water for three minutes. Filter and chill in the refrigerator. Add chilled tea and peach liqueur into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a Champagne flute with equal parts tea and Champagne.

Fleur de Geisha Cocktail
With Japanese green tea and delicate cherry blossom leaves, this tea blend melds seamlessly with sake. 

4 tsp. Fleur de Geisha tea
2.5 ounces sake
2.5 ounces pink grapefruit juice
3 1/2 tbsp. triple sec

Brew tea in 12 ounces of spring water for three minutes. Filter and chill in the refrigerator. Add chilled tea, sake, grapefruit juice and triple sec into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass with a pinch of ground ginger and serve immediately.

—Kathy YL Chan


Cozy Winter Cocktails

These four cocktails are warm, inviting and strong enough to make your cheeks blush.

December 13, 2011

Whether you’re out-and-about or in the cozy confines of home, these delectable drinks are sure to bring merriment to your holiday celebrations. 

The Rudolph

The Millesime at The Carlton Hotel is serving up a jolly combination of cranberry, ginger and orange flavors in its new holiday cocktail, The Rudolph.

2 ounces cranberry-infused white whiskey (SEE BELOW)
3/4 ounce ginger-infused simple syrup
1 1/2 ounce crémant, rosé or sparkling wine
Dash fresh lemon juice
Dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients, except wine, into a shaker with ice and shake 20 times. Double strain into a coupe glass and top with wine. Garnish half of the rim with colored sugar or edible confetti.

Cranberry-Infused Whiskey

2 cups fresh cranberries
750 ml white whiskey, such as Death's Door

Puncture cranberries with a fork and add to whiskey. Let sit covered for at least 72 hours in the refrigerator. Strain and enjoy.

88 Madison Ave., 212-532-4100;

The Chicco

A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus are mixing this frothy Chicco cocktail, a luscious concoction that’s perfect for pairing with dessert.

1 ounce Jameson
1 ounce Kahlua Cinnamon Spice
1/2 ounce Triple Sec
1 1/2 ounces milk
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

41 Madison Ave., 212-545-8555; 10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-2523;

Grey Goose La Poire Almond Froth

This decadent holiday drink is ideal for enjoying while decorating the tree, and it’s a great lactose-free alternative to eggnog.

1 1/2 ounces Grey Goose La Poire
1/4 ounce brandy
1 ounce unsweetened almond milk
3/4 ounce agave nectar

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into highball glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Sugar Plum Martini

Sip this Sugar Plum Martini at Grand Central Terminal’s Campbell Apartment or at home by the fire.

2 ounces chilled Stoli Razberi
1/4 ounce Chambord
1 sugar cube
Moët & Chandon

Place sugar cube in the bottom of a martini glass, top with Chambord and allow to saturate. Strain Stoli Razberi into Martini glass and top with Moet & Chandon.

15 Vanderbilt Ave., 212-953-0409;

—mollie campbell


In Praise of Per Se and Mignardises

At Per Se, the best—a chest of handmade chocolates, macarons, pâtes de fruits and petite caramels—is saved for last.

December 06, 2011

A chest of chocolates at Per Se, part of its mignardises course

Much has been written on the famed “oysters and pearls” (pearl tapioca, Island Creek oysters, Sterling white sturgeon caviar) and salmon coronet canapés at Per Se—both dishes are Thomas Keller originals. But for those with a sweet tooth, Per Se’s greatest prize comes long after canapés, proteins and even pastry. It is in the mignardises: A Pandora’s box of miniature sweet bites that is almost a meal in itself.

Down come silver bowls filled with warm cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes, chocolate-dipped hazelnuts, potent cubes of pâtes de fruits and a rainbow array of macarons—pistachio, coffee and fig, to name a few. Petite caramels and pistachio-studded nougat logs made daily melt like meringue on the palate.

A note to the uninitiated: pace yourself. Presented in an elegant, custom-designed wooden chest is the cocoa-charged culmination of any meal at Per Se—24 magnificent chocolates. Made twice weekly, molded chocolates are created in the kitchens of Per Se, while enrobed chocolates (see the fourth column in the photo above) are made in its sister kitchen, Bouchon Bakery, where a special machine is kept just for the purpose of chocolate-making. The resulting chocolate chests include a row of white chocolates, a row of milk chocolates and a row of sublime dark chocolates. Have one, have two or simply have them all—no one is there to stop you.

Presiding pastry chef Elwyn Boyles trusts Mast Brothers Chocolate for his chocolate supply. As ganache goes, many of Boyles’s are water-based, which results in a purer chocolate flavor. On the other hand, cream-based ganache options are silkier with a more luxurious mouthfeel. Ask for one of each and let your tastebuds do the math. It’s a world of difference.

Chocolate chest flavors change daily and with the season. A bright passion fruit square yields a delightful pucker and a buttery Bailey’s cheesecake number is as playful as it is delicious. Classic flavors are always represented and more inventive combinations—gin martini, curry, coffee cardamom—cycle in and out. Make haste to try the maple pecan, Per Se’s most popular flavor of late.

—Kathy YL Chan


Demystifying Ice Wine

A look at how the pleasing dessert wine is made and how it is best enjoyed.

November 18, 2011

Ice wine. The name alone conjures images of grapes frosted with freshly fallen snow. Idle fancies aside, the careful art of ice winemaking is a mystery to many wine drinkers.

The Niagara region’s sweet, slightly nectar-like Inniskillin ice wines owe their unique flavors to a process of repeated freezing and thawing, a cycle that serves to concentrate the sugars in the grapes while they remain on the vine well into the winter. Winemakers wait until the ideal temperature is reached to begin harvesting, a painstaking nocturnal process (harvests usually begin at night when it’s coldest) in which the grapes are collected and immediately pressed. The vintage will yield only a fraction of the volume that normal winemaking would, given that the water in the grapes remains frozen. The result: a trickle of highly concentrated juice, the base of what will later mature into fine dessert wines.

The hard work of growing and harvesting grapes for ice wine is well worth it. The 2007 Vidal by Inniskillin possess a smooth, silky taste that sets it apart from other dessert wines. Its notes of citrus and papaya pair delightfully with holiday favorites like almond cookies and pastries, fruit-based cakes and pies, foie gras and cheese (gorgonzola dolce, Roquefort, Gruyère). Beekman Liquors, 500 Lexington Ave.;

—Chris Buonincontri


Teqa Brings Tacos to Murray Hill

A chef from a taco truck brings a new menu to Mexican eatery Teqa.

November 17, 2011

Try the hibiscus and rose margarita with the inventive tacos at Teqa

Ask any taco aficionado where to go for authentic Mexican food in New York City and they will probably direct you to a taco truck. Mobile taquerías have captivated foodies all over town with their delicious fare and reputation for staying true to their roots. Now the phenomenon has moved inside. Chris Goossen, owner of The Knockout Taco Truck in Los Angeles and executive chef at Teqa, has brought more of Mexico to the Murray Hill restaurant via his new menu of authentic tacos.

Highlights include the pollo asado, which combines free range chicken with lemon and “secret” spices, salsa roja, cotija cheese, mixed onions, and cilantro on a soft corn tortilla. The menu, which debuted last week, also includes global tacos—a concept that Goossen, a Southern California native, has been perfecting for more than a decade. His regional inspiration manifests itself in dishes like the blackened shrimp. Created for those not afraid of heat (the choice is marked with two jalepeños printed on the menu), the soft taco is stuffed with achiote shrimp, bacon, cheese grits, and Cajun salsa.

Goossen has cooked in some of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles, including Le Dome and Bottega Louie. He also worked as Mark Wahlberg’s personal chef for five years before starting The Knockout Taco Truck, and is now excited to bring his expertise to NYC. “The Mexican food scene is fierce in Southern California,” says Goossen, who calls himself the “undisputed world champion of tacos.” “I respect the culinary traditions and sensibilities of the Hispanic community and am looking forward to introducing my unique flavor combinations that I honed out West to Teqa’s fans.” 447 Third Ave., 212-213-3223

—meghan gleason


Comforting Winter Wine

A cabernet sauvignon rich with black cherry and spice perfectly complements savory fall fare.

November 16, 2011

As we transition from light summer fare to rich winter comfort food, Simi Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) is a natural pairing. Its full body, long legs and high alcohol content are deserving of a specially crafted meal. Pair it with prime rib or roast with a berry sauce, potatoes au gratin and a slice of spicy apple cinnamon pie with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. With pleasant aromas of cherry, spice and oak and flavors of deep forest fruit and supple tannins, it’s a wonderful way to finish an indulgent meal. Beacon Wine & Spirits, 2120 Broadway;

—Chris Buonincontri


Tea Pairings at Union Square Café

The café welcomes an artisan tea program to further elevate its desserts and cheeses.

October 25, 2011

A tea and cheese pairing at Union Square Café

Wine and cheese is as natural a pairing as coffee and cake. But it's about time someone brought tea into the equation: Enter Union Square Café and its new tea program. The program consists of eight teas, each chosen to compliment desserts and farmstead cheeses offered at the restaurant. Tea selections and pairings are presided over by Karen Dunlap, who joined Union Square Café following stints at Soho’s In Pursuit of Tea and Ippodo Tea Company in Kyoto, Japan. Dunlap has also consulted on tea programs at notable restaurants such as Craft, Café Boulud and Gramercy Tavern.

Teas on Dunlap’s menu, all of which come from In Pursuit of Tea, range from approachable Darjeeling, jasmine and oolong to the lesser-known Anji Baicha green tea and Keemun black tea, which hail from Fujian, China, and the Anhui Province of China, respectively. Then there are the tonic-like herbal infusions known as tisanes—such as Egyptian chamomile tea and wild mint tea from Greece—for those who want to end on a non-caffeinated note. 
The Anji Baicha green tea pairs beautifully with Petit Billy, a goat's milk cheese from France’s Loire Valley. Spread the tangy cheese on a nutty whole-wheat cracker, take a bite and follow with a sip of tea. This particular Anji Baicha is grassy and delicate, making each subsequent bite of Petit Billy even more goaty and vibrant. Who knew a pot of tea could enhance a cheese experience to such a degree?

Similar harmony can be found in Dunlap’s tea and dessert pairings. Try sipping jasmine pearls green tea alongside the café's lively lemon cake. The floral notes of the tea are an ideal complement to the highly acidic lemons, raspberry sherbet and strawberries, which make up the dessert. 

For a more indulgent pairing, order the chocolate brioche pudding and Keemun black tea. The pudding comes warm with a quenelle of crème fraîche ice cream and tart raspberry coulis. The savory, darker notes of chocolate and caramel essence in the pudding are brought out by the Keemun.

Each pot of tea at Union Square Café is brewed to order and served with the tealeaves removed and presented in a separate basket. Ask your server to re-steep on the second round: The complex flavors change as the tealeaves unravel more and more with each steep. Dunlap’s selections of artisan teas will change seasonally to reflect current dessert and cheese offerings. 21 E. 16th St., 212-243-4020

Read more about tea and desserts from Kathy YL Chan at

photograph by kathy yl chan


Cocktails at Patiala

Patiala, the lounge inside the Indian restaurant Junoon, serves drinks that are well worth the wait.

October 20, 2011


Having received its first Michelin star in early October, Junoon (27 W. 24th St., 212-490-2100)—a modern Indian eatery in the Flatiron—is busier than ever. That means longer wait times for guests without a reservation, but thanks to last week’s re-launch of its cocktail lounge Patiala, the wait is well spent.

Located just off Junoon’s entryway, Patiala—which is fittingly named for an Indian prince notorious for throwing lavish parties—has high ceilings that reverberate with sounds from the main dining room. The lounge’s sleek, steam-bent wood furniture does little to absorb the clamor even with their over-size cushions. But designer and architect Tarik Currimbhoy, who also designed the restaurant, did well by placing two antique Indian swings in the center of the room made from hand-carved Burma teak. They are the most sought-after perches in the 50-seat space, and the perfect spots for (carefully) sipping a spicy cocktail.

Patiala makes excellent use of Junoon’s abundant spice room when it comes to its specialty drinks. Curry leaf and pippali pepper add a kick to the Tandoori Tequila, also made with lime-muddled tandoori pineapple and silver tequila. For those looking for less heat, the Caraway Cooler is a refreshing alternative—cucumber and lemon juice help keep the aqauvit and Aperol cocktail from being too sweet.

After adding pinches of this and dashes of that, bartenders are careful to finely strain their spiced concoctions. But despite their feverish taps on the chinoise these cocktails refuse to be rushed. Each drink, well-balanced and complex, requires a skilled hand and a careful pour. Though you might need patience for both a table and a cocktail here, you will find that they are well worth the wait.

—meghan gleason


An Italian Master Chef Visits New York

Chef Fulvio Pierangelini cooked an unforgettable Italian meal at Kitchen NYC.

October 10, 2011

We imagine that the 2008 shuttering of chef Fulvio Pierangelini’s Tuscan restaurant Gambero Rosso—heralded by many as the best restaurant in Italy—was to the Italians what the curtain call of elBulli was to the Spaniards (and, let’s face it, to the entire gastronomic universe). Pierangelini achieved world recognition, two Michelin stars and a lofty 12th place on the 2008 San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list on behalf of the simple, delicious and innately Italian cuisine he served at Gambero Rosso. (His signature dish was a humble yet genius passatina di ceci e gamberi, or purée of chickpeas with shrimp.) Today, Pierangelini presides over the kitchens of Rocco Forte Hotels as executive chef.

Last month the boutique European hotel group arranged an intimate dinner and cooking demonstration at Kitchen NYC with Pierangelini, who had never visited New York due to a lifelong fear of flying that he only recently overcame. A handful of journalists helped prepare an unforgettable meal. 

Pierangelini milled about the kitchen, stopping to tell the onion-chopping, tomato-crushing editors things like, “I can teach you to cook, but I cannot teach you to have passion.” The hard work resulted in an unparalleled risotto with fava beans, pitch-perfect pasta pomodoro and silky sea bass atop potatoes whipped to rich, velvety perfection. (Much to everyone’s amazement the buttery spuds contained no actual butter.)

All of the dishes prepared by Pierangelini and his Italian sous chefs highlighted fresh, seasonal ingredients—the cornerstone of his cooking philosophy and repertoire. After enjoying the final course of carmelized figs and ice cream, each guest went home with a can of Acquerello organic risotto rice. Chef Pierangelini was kind enough to share the evening’s risotto recipe. Buon appetito!

Risotto with Green Peas, Fava Beans and Artichokes

7 ounces of good risotto rice (such as Acquerello or Vialone Nano)
1 spring onion
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
3 1/2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cups green peas
1 1/3 cups fava beans
4 artichokes
4 cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, juiced
Basil, thyme and parsley to taste

For the vegetables: Peel and rinse the green peas (set shells aside) and boil for five minutes. Blend half of the peas along with two leaves of basil until soft and velvety, and set both the purée and remaining peas aside. Peel fava beans. Flash boil the beans for 15 seconds, transfer to an ice water bath and shell. Peel, seed and chop tomatoes. Chop green spring onion tops, finely dice onion bulbs and keep separate. Clean artichokes, remove outer leaves and rinse hearts in a mix of lemon juice and water.

For the broth: Add onion tops and green pea shells to 8 1/2 cups of lightly salted water and bring to a boil. 

For the Risotto: Add finely diced onion bulbs to a shallow, 8- to 9-inch diameter pot with half of the butter, 2 tablespoons of oil, a sprig of time and a few basil leaves. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, or until the vegetables whither. Add the rice. With a wooden spoon, stir the rice until it becomes translucent and begin adding broth one ladle at a time. (The broth must never drown or exceed the level of rice in the pan.) Add the remaining green peas and stir for 18 to 20 minutes until rice is perfectly al denté.

Thinly slice artichoke hearts and add into a pan with one tablespoon of oil. Cook well and add chopped parsley. Remove from pan and set aside. Use the same pan to cook fava beans in one tablespoon of olive oil, adding a little water if needed. Add tomatoes and some chopped basil to the fava beans. Fold remaining butter and Parmesan cheese into the risotto. Spoon reserved pea purée into the bottom of a serving bowl, top with a ladel of risotto and “harmoniously decorate” with artichokes and fava bean ragout. Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.


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