I'm sensing we're all craving a little travel these days and Jeffrey and I were recently reminiscing about our many visits to the UK. The other night, a favorite memory popped up for Jeffrey of a spontaneous stop at The Booking Office at St. Pancras Station, London. We had just gotten off the train and spotted this restaurant, housed in the original station's ticket hall. The historic architecture is what caught our eye, but the unforgettable cocktails are what got us to stay – Jeffrey can still remember his first sip of the Burnt Brandy. Inspired by our experience and as a way to relive our travel days, Jeffrey recreated his version that he's dubbed The Dutch Courage paired with a "bar snack" to enjoy while sipping. It's true what they say, vacation is a state of mind. And, oh how good it is to reminisce about sitting in a bar.
Evenings in the Hudson Valley have been cool the past couple of days, which is a welcome relief from the humidity. And, a great excuse to recreate a cozy cocktail. The perfect blend of brandy, port and absinthe (one of Jeffrey's favorite spirits), the Dutch Courage is a nod to the original Burnt Brandy at The Booking Office in London and can be enjoyed now and well into the fall and winter months. Check out Jeffrey's how-to video and the recipe below.
Jeffrey's Dutch Courage
2 oz brandy
Splash of absinthe
1 sugar cube
Gently warm the brandy either in the snifter using a brandy warmer or a candle (careful not to crack the glass) or in a pan on the stove (careful not to boil it and burn away the alcohol). Pour in the port. Place a sugar cube on a spoon, soak with absinthe, and light with a match (the flame is invisible, so be careful!). Let the sugar cube caramelize for 30 seconds. Put the sugar cube and whatever absinthe is left in the spoon into the drink. Swirl and enjoy!
To go with the cocktail, Jeffrey used a bag of shishito peppers from the local farm stand, Montgomery Place. While we've eaten shishitos many times at restaurants and bars, we had never prepared them ourselves. After a quick char on the grill, a squeeze of lemon, sprinkling of salt and a red pepper kick, they turned out beautifully. And pair surprisingly well with the cocktail!
Grilled Shishito Peppers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Crushed red pepper to taste
Toss shishito peppers in olive oil. Throw the peppers onto a hot grill. Leave to blister and char, about 2-3 minutes. Turn over, let blister and char for 2-3 minutes more. Put the peppers into a bowl and toss with lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper.
We tried the shishito pepper recipe over the weekend and it was delicious. The lemon juice and red pepper flakes really take it up a notch. Thanks for the tips!