Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Brandy Alexander Day at Shaker with Distell

Cocktails or straight up?
We love having our predilections challenged. We like good brandy, gin and whisk(e)y. We didn't think that we liked cocktails. Distell threw us in at the deep end and taught us how to make some cocktails with their brandies. We had a ball and loved the experience, although it did have an effect on the rest of the afternoon. And yes, we took the bus there and back
Brandy Alexander day is celebrated on January 31st every year. It is the only cocktail to have a day officially named in its honour. Bet you didn't know that; neither did we. The motivation for the day, therefore, was to teach us how to make them. The venue was at the Shaker Bar School, a school for bartenders and the public. First, we sampled some great brandies and imported cognacs like these
Just in case the cocktails made us hungry, some snacks were provided. The sweet ones went very well with what we were sampling. Yes, chocolate brownies, almond biscuits and macarons are the perfect match
The savoury options were good if you had skipped lunch. The lecture started at 2.30
Rissoles with dips
Beetroot and cream cheese
and Thai vegetable rolls
The lecture room
Also has a proper mixologists' bar
Dr Winnie Bowman CWM talked us through the brandy tasting and gave some history and some tasting hints
Professional snifter glasses
The French Cognacs. We didn’t taste the Bisquit XO, sadly. Our South African brandies stand up well to the French ones. We consistently win lots of international awards with them
Discussing the finer points
Then it was time to learn from the expert. Anil Sabharwal was our instructor and he is the Director of the Shaker Bar School at 235 Bree St Cape Town. They also have a school in Johannesburg. He is a Londoner, so we got on well
Here he is showing us how to make the Brandy Alexander. Preciseness is important. Chill the glass with ice too. Here is the recipe: This relatively simple cocktail is a concoction of 1 part brandy, 1 part chocolate liqueur and one part cream, garnished with a dusting of nutmeg. And for a decadent dessert, just add a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream and transfer to a bowl. You will need for one cocktail:
25 ml crème de cacao - 25 ml cream - 75 ml Van Ryn’s 10 year old brandy - Nutmeg, - Ice cubes
Add all the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker, fill the shaker halfway with ice cubes and shake for about 30 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is getting nicely frosted. Strain into a glass, traditionally a cocktail glass or martini glass which, ideally, you’ve been chilling in the freezer. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and you’re ready to celebrate!
This is the cocktail he made. Dark Crème de Cacao chocolate liqueur is difficult to get in South Africa. He used the Bols white version. You can use Klipdrift Black Gold, a chocolate coffee liqueur, or other brands of chocolate liqueur on the market
We get to make our own and were encouraged to try and make other versions. Here Lynne receives instructions on making a variation
Shaking well is the key. And chilled glasses
Everybody's doing it!
TaDa! Lynne has invented a new Alexander, named by her the Almond Alexander, using DiSaronno Amaretto liqueur, a favourite
We all made the Alexander and then an old fashioned cocktail, The Side Car from the 1920's. Wow - we absolutely loved this sour cocktail made with Brandy, fresh lemon juice and Cointreau. Perfect if you don't like very sweet cocktails. And not drowned in ice as Mojitos so often are
Fiona MacDonald getting in the spirit
Benika Palfi enjoying a very popular cocktail which originated in Harry's Bar in Paris. Thank you Distell and Dayne Stern. We are converted
A creative Bree Street sign
We were amused. We hope it works
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017

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