Now that we are into the month of May, some of us are starting to think about the Summer. Summer is a time when it's great to eat and drink al fresco. We eat less stodgy food, leaving behind stews and casseroles, and begin enjoying salads and barbeques. And we think about drinking lighter and often longer drinks; Pimm's with strawberries and mint, Sangria, and Summer fruit punches.
Gallo wines are trying to meet that need for lighter, brighter Summer drinking with their Summer Red wine. Designed to be enjoyed chilled, it is a world away from the heavy reds of Winter. I was sent a sample, and asked if I would come up with a Summery Red wine cocktail.
It was a challenge. Red wine has a distinctive taste and either ends up being the dominant taste of the drink or needs something very strong to counteract it.
Spain appears to be one of the places where there are plenty of ideas for how to mix red wine. Many of you, when travelling around Spain may have tried Kalimotxo, the famous cocktail served in a tall glass made of a 50:50 mix of red wine and coca-cola. It's not subtle, although many swear by it as a Summery drink.
Tinto Verano, popular in Andalucia (in the south) is 1 part red wine with 1 part Casera (a less sweet type of lemonade than say, Sprite or 7up), served with ice and lemon. And of course, there is Sangria, which is somewhat ubiquitous, although always enjoyable in the sunshine. (I found an interesting and original iced Sangria slushie-type pudding idea here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sangria-ice-10000001634829/)
There are other ideas, based on Spritzers, Bucks Fizz (orange juice or a combination of orange and lemon), or mulled wine. However, I was not really happy with any of them. So I realised I had to call in an expert.
Andrew Brady, is an English Mixologist par excellence, specialising in cutting-edge "Molecular" cocktails. Combining high quality spirits, freshly squeezed fruit juices, natural ingredients, they seek to combine flavours in daring and innovative ways. Adding unexpected ingredients such as the juices of grilled fruits, spices, chillies, fruit foams and liquid nitrogen gives another delicious twist.
|Andrew Brady, Molecular Mixology Master|
Originally from the Wirral, England, Andrew has worked in cocktail bars in Chester, Glasgow, and Nottingham. Now he travels the world as a master Mixologist, making noted specialist Junior Merino's "Liquid Chef" cocktail recipes, on Celebrity Cruise's luxury ships.
Quick aside: Junior Merino is a Mexican born cocktail guru, an inductee of the Court of Master Sommeliers' Guild of Sommeliers, the winner of the International Bar Show's best cocktail competition in 2005, and cocktail consultant to Mexican Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, and 10 international restaurants and hotels, including The Modern in New York.
Back to Andrew: Andrew's passion is inventing his own Molecular cocktail creations, for which he has undeniable and considerable talent, as you will discover.
Andrew's flavour palette is vibrant and highly varied. Some of his creations have involved some strange, unlikely and highly innovative ingredients such as smoked apple, dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide), liquid nitrogen and bacon. Difficult to blend liquers such as Grand Marnier only seem to provide him with a challenge to meet. Grand Marnier is notorious, it's very distinctive signature flavour makes it difficult to blend with other tastes. He is hugely knowledgeable about classic cocktails and historical combinations, which he uses as his inspiration.
I asked Andrew to help me invent a red wine cocktail. He immediately agreed, but was clear that he didn't want to do something which has been done before. He was determined to come up with something different and special. He experimented with a few combinations before settling on the cocktail recipe he was happy to share with readers of Snig's Kitchen. As ever, professionalism, care for his craft and a passion for perfection were apparent.
The resulting cocktail is called Ruby Renaissance. There are two variants, with the first being slightly sweeter and the second a little drier with a subtle bitter touch as a result of the addition of Aperol. We had 5 people try both versions to unanimously positive feedback. The Aperol version was considered to be a great aperitif cocktail, the sweeter version perfect for drinking in the sunshine, perhaps at a Barbeque party.
I would like to thank Andrew for his skill, patience and dedication. I hope you will give Ruby Renaissance a try!
Ruby Renaissance by Andrew Brady
(All measures are in fluid ounces)
1 fluid ounce = 28.4 ml
2oz Red wine, preferably a light red, such as Gallo's Summer Red or a Pinot Noir
1oz St Germain Elderflower Liquer
3/4oz Rose essence (preferably Dainzu brand or Monin)
1/2oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 rose petals for garnish
Variation: 1/2oz Aperol
Pour all the fluid ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake liberally.
Take a tall glass and fill the bottom with ice. Pour the shaken fluid over the ice.
Top with the rose petals.
I would like to thank Gallo Wine for sending me a bottle to experiment with.
Obviously, and most importantly, I would like to thank Andrew Brady for his time, care and attention in developing this original cocktail recipe.