A horrendous thing has happened in Los Angeles: my dear friend Sly and I have ceased making cocktails. Terrible, I know. To be fair, it really isn’t my fault. Every time I invite Sly over to make a beverage, she always denies me coldly — often with some excuse such as “I’m sorry, I just ate three pistachios” or “I’m sorry, but I’m currently perusing a pamphlet about Rodin” or “I’m sorry, but I may have just boarded a flight to Durban.”
Luckily, as the fates would have it, Sly decided to grace me with her presence this past weekend, and with her was Aletheia, who sharp-minded blog readers may remember from the verrrrry first Quaff post, known affectionately then as Fresh Cocktail Hour. Anyway, the two lovely ladies showed up at my apartment with sacks of produce from the farmer’s market, all meant to be juiced, muddled, and transformed into cocktails. Clearly, we had work to do.
As you can see, the kitchen was full of fresh items. Here we see the remains of some fennel, which had been chopped up and dropped into some bubbling simple syrup in order to make — you guessed it — fennel-infused simple syrup.
For the first cocktail of the evening, we decided to do a twist on the classic Greyhound cocktail, which is essentially grapefruit juice and vodka. In our variation, we switched it up with a pomelo instead of a grapefruit. This was very exciting because a) I’d never had pomelo, and b) this afforded me the opportunity to place two pomelos on my chest and pretend they were my boobs. Picture unavailable.
One would think pomelos are just flowing with juice, yearning to be squeezed free. Not so much. These beasts were beyond stingy when it came to juicing, and there were many times when I thought my poor, little juicer might just raise a white flag and give up the ghost. Luckily, it survived.
In an attempt to make the pomelo more manageable, Sly slices the fruit in half. However, it still is a beast to juice.
Sly vs. pomelo: round 1.
Little does Sly realize that a pomelo lurks behind her flowing locks.
Sly playfully handles a second pomelo. Things would soon go bad. Very bad.
Meanwhile, a view from within the fennel fronds.
A sack of blood oranges awaits its fate.
Aletheia continues to be utterly unhelpful.
As Sly pokes at the pulpy remains of the pomelo, one might be inclined to think she has emerged victoriously in this battle royale…
However, one forceful, violent explosion from the pomelo reveals that Sly is powerless against her citrus foe. She was picking pomelo out of her hair for the rest of her night.
Back to the actual cocktail: we next mixed the fennel simple syrup, vodka and the juice, and shook it up with the fury of ten thousand angry pomelos.
And voila. After a few minor adjustments (mainly the addition of slightly more simple syrup), we were done.
Here it is: our modified Greyhound, which we dubbed… The Pomeranian. Get it?
On to cocktail #2. Aletheia has since risen from the couch and placed herself on blood orange duty.
We are all enamored with the colors.
Juicing the oranges proves to be a much less harrowing ordeal.
Meanwhile, I get to work with the rest of the cocktail. I muddle a Thai chili, rosemary, agave nectar, and some reposado tequila together.
We add blood orange juice to the shaker and agree the the cocktail is unbalanced. What to do? Sly has the wonderful idea of adding a splash of the leftover pomelo. The result: perfection.
Now aren’t these the prettiest lil’ cocktails you’ve seen this year? Aletheia comes up with the winning name: the Hot Blooded. This immediately gets us singing Foreigner songs, and I retroactively declare that The Pomeranian can also go by an alternative name: The I Want To Know What Love Is.
Group photo (including Abe, who had recently arrived just in time for tippling).