Tchin-Tchin, Bottoms Up
Those of you who are mad cocktailers, and you know who you are, take heart! French holiday cocktails are coming your way, courtesy of the French TV chef Cyril Lignac and his supermarket cooking magazine Vie Pratique Gourmand.
Each time I’ve quoted the newspaper Midi Libre I’ve opened myself to criticism by friendly French intellectuals for my plebian taste in reading matter, and now I’m bound to get a ration of merde for admitting to reading this little cooking mag. But you know, I love it. I don’t cook from it much, but I learn a lot from it. And this issue, full of holiday menus, happens to have interesting cocktails associated with each of them. And I happen to know that a certain number of you are very interested in cocktails. And even those of who who wouldn’t touch a cocktail if it kissed you on both cheeks might be interested to see what a French supermarket cooking magazine proposes to feed its readers this holiday season.
Eh voila! Each of these recipes supposedly serves 6, but then, the French drink a lot less than you do.
**To accompany a meal of spiced comsommé with foie gras, duck with citrus, and a chocolate dome:
20 oz Champagne
3 oz Cointreau
6 T liquid honey
Dissolve the honey in the Cointreau and add the Champagne.
**With a meal of foie gras with a jelly of Sauternes, venison on a spicecake toast with sauerkraut, and a raspberry cake:
8 oz canned litchis
1/2 bottle of brut Champagne
3 T litchi liqueur
6 fresh litchis
Mix all of the liquids with the juice only of the canned litchis. Garnish with a fresh litchi. No mention of what to do with the canned fruit, but personally, I’d eat it all myself. I love litchis.
I know that not one single reader is going to make venison on spicecake toast with sauerkraut, but you’re allowed to try the cocktail with something else.
**To accompany a menu of smoked salmon with zucchini, a citrusy white fish, and a terrine of kiwi and almond cream:
10 oz vodka
4 T litchi juice
4 T grenadine
for a lemongrass syrup:
6 oz sugar
4 stalks lemongrass, cut into pieces
1 T juniper berries
Mix the sryup ingredients with a cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and keep in the fridge.
In a shaker, place 1 T crushed ice. Add the vodka, 1 T of the lemongrass syrup, the litchi juice, and shake. Pour into glasses with a few pomegranate seeds in each, add a splash of sparkling water, and a drizzle of grenadine.
**For a chilled menu of a “smoothie” of goat cheese and cucumber, a roll of chicken breast and black olives, and a red fruit soup scented with violet:
6 1/2 oz vodka
3 cups tomato juice
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz Worcestershire sauce
12 drops of hot sauce
celery salt and pepper
Open the oysters, remove from shells, and wipe them off. Put each oyster in the bottom of a flute glass. Shake remaining ingredients together and pour over oysters.
I don’t know about the combination of oysters and violet, so I suggest not serving this cocktail with the dessert!
**With a supper of lobster curry, prawns sautéed with pineapple, and a spiced chocolate tart, you might serve:
15 oz can of mango pieces
3 1/2 oz coconut milk
3 1/2 oz rum
1 T lemon juice
Drain the mangoes, reserving the syrup. Place the mangoes and all of the remaining ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Add mango syrup as desired to adjust consistency. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
And there are more: a dinner of scallops with a vegetable julienne, adorable little pockets of smoked salmon wrapped around a salmon tartare, and hazelnut cake served with a Blue Lagoon. I imagine that you are past the Blue Lagoon stage of life, but I might be wrong. Then there’s a menu of a glass of avocado and crayfish dice, capon with beet chips, and a molten chocolate cake with a cocktail of cherry syrup, grapefruit juice, and gin.
If you decide to take one for the team and try some of these, please let us all know, so we can thank your community-mindednes with a rousing Tchin-Tchin!