Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 8, 2012

The PDT Cocktail Book

I've never been to PDT (Please Don't Tell), the tiny speakeasy joint that's connected to the hot dog destination Crif Dogs along St. Mark's Place in NYC.  But until I visit the Big Apple, I can somewhat satisfy my cocktail fantasies with Jim Meehan's beautifully crafted recipe book.  The PDT Cocktail Book has over 300 recipes that range from classic to obscure, along with small anecdotes to their origin and shout-outs to the creators.  Illustrations by Chris Gall are interspersed throughout the book and are a mash-up of whimsical and punk rock.  As the vintage cocktail culture continues to expand across the US, you can see (errr...taste) how cocktail recipes that originated in one city will quickly pop up on a bar menu across the country.  Sometimes it's a perfect replication, but often, it's a slight riff that fits the tastes and ingredients of that city.  This book is like an ode to the culture of sharing among the cocktail community.

The book also goes until full detail on how one can essentially start their own bar, with pointers on preparing drinks (always add those less expensive ingredients first!), what tools and glassware one should possess and even how to build the actual back bar and counter.  Want to know where you should put that fridge for your vermouth, wine, soda, back-up juice (freshly squeezed, of course), cream and eggs?  This book tells ya where.

For cocktail nerds like me, this book is a joy, and for those just starting to make cocktails at home, it can be rather intimidating, so take what you will from this guide.  There are really handy recipes for house-made syrups, tips on basic ingredients you should stock in your home bar, fresh ingredients organized by season, a resource guide and even some Crif's Hot Dog recipes!

Drinks range from the classic French 75 and Negroni to contemporary libations such as the Gold Rush with bourbon, honey syrup and lemon juice and the Mezcal Mule, a twist on the traditional Moscow Mule.  There are also some crazy, fun recipes created by Meehan and his cohorts such as the Bee's Sip with chamomile-infused Barsol Quebranta Pisco, Masumi "Okuden" Junmai Sake and Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur and the Wrong Aisle with Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, Lillet Rouge and Quince Shrubb (preferably the Huilerie Beaujolaise Vinaigre de Coing brand).  Because some of these ingredients and liquors are either impossible to track down unless you live in New York or LA, or just really expensive for a home bar, think of these recipes as a jumping-off point to experiment.  That's the beauty of this book—it opens the door to the creative process and makes you think about combining ingredients in new ways.  And if you're really craving that Bee's Sip, just make sure to order it when you drop by PDT.