Monday, July 14, 2008

Mobilizing the Home Barware for Bastille Day

So, as Cod's mentioned, while the fish is coping with some sort of fancy polysyllabic version of gout, my running regimen's earned me a stress fracture on my right fibula a couple of inches above the ankle. This has literally crippled my plans to run the Philadelphia Back on My Feet Midnight Madness run this Saturday, the Philadelphia Distance Run in September, and the Philadelphia Marathon in November. If I'm lucky, and my fibula heals in time to pretty much start at training ground zero at the end of the month, I may be able to train to "do" the half marathon on the day of the Philly marathon, and then train slightly more aggressively for the Broad Street Run next spring (and then try my more ambitious schedule of distance running events next summer/fall). Damn frustrating though, but it's either rest up or let my leg grind itself into dust at this point.

Relatively immobilized (can't really walk more than a tenth of a mile without an aircast boot, and the boot's clumsiness doesn't make the act of walking very appealing), I have spent most of the past month settling into the Bostodelphia-Philly HQ literally only a few blocks from Philadelphia's Cheesesteak Ground Zero. This weekend I literally sat out Phoenixville's Blobfest
and Eastern State Penitentiary's Bastille Day festivities. However, today, on Bastille Day proper, I was able to both celebrate a Franco-origin cocktail and imbibe in a bit of eerie, otherwordly light.

While cooking up a casserole of leftover veggies from our Greensgrow CSA share, my spouse and company demanded celebratory Bastille Day drinks. I had planned on making Sidecars, as they have a Parisian origin, fit my liquor cabinet and ingredients on hand, and a recipe flexible enough to accommodate the varied tastes assembled. The sidecar is a cocktail consisting of brandy/cognac (on hand Hennessey VSOP, an orange liqueur (triple sec, would prefer to have Cointreau on hand), and lemon juice (fresh squeezed). Combine, shake, and strain into a chilled and sometimes sugarfrosted cocktail glass. Judgement comes in how you balance the ingredients. The recipes claiming to be the most "historically" accurate say it should be two parts spirit to one part each liqueur and juice. That's what I went with for my sidecar. Spouse of the cheesesteak tends to like bitter citrus, so a whole lemon went into hers, making it almost 1:1 spirit and juice with a half measure of triple sec. My bartending produces mixes "too stiff" for my spouse's friend, so I opted for a simple 1:1:1 mix, which seemed to suit her just fine. Thus Bastille Day was honored at Chez Cheesesteak with a cocktail originally devised at Harry & Harry's New York Bar in Paris during WWI (according to Salvatore Calabrese) and named for an army captain chauffeured to said bar via motorcycle.

During cleanup, I felt like one more. Having looked into French cocktails earlier in the day, I found that a customary end of Day French libation was the absinthe substitute Pernod mixed with water. While Le Bar at Chez Cheesesteak doesn't have Pernod in stock, we do have a bottle of Herbsaint, the spirit used as an absinthe substitute in New Orlean's Sazaracs. Herbsaint and water was my initial plan, but my eye was drawn to a large pile of limes yet to be given purpose in our kitchen. One lime measured out to almost precisely 2 oz. of juice, so I prepared myself a mix of half lime juice, half Herbsaint on the rocks. I like this. It needs a bit more work and fiddling -- maybe another spirit or liquor or maybe just something a bit sweet -- but I think I may have found myself a good summer evening sipping beverage until I pick up another pull of Jim Beam Black. Expect more progress reports on this lime and herbsaint concoction to come.


lutton said...

Sounds good; I'll be waiting for a follow up report.

Anyone impersonating me lately at the old haunt?

Cheesesteak the Impaler said...

Will keep you posted, lutto. Haven't seen any crypto-Coulters copping "you" lately. Are you haunting JM's new experiment?

Speaking of haunts, have you been to the Institute yet? I've owed H a list of whiskey recommendations for like two months, maybe you jumped up to that plate for her?

Anonymous said...

No, I haven't checked out the other thing yet.

We went to the Institute the adternoon the opened to say hi, have a quick beer and wish them luck, but we haven't gotten back there since.