Columbus Alive: Cocktail Contest

22 Oct

I am a terrible blogger. I’ve had this draft in its own web browser tab for weeks now. There’s nothing like a direct link from the Columbus Alive to motivate me. HA.

When Shelley Mann (EOC of the Alive) first asked me to do a signature cocktail for the Alive, I was literally panic stricken. Thoughts like “But I make vaguely Southeast Asian themed adult beverages!” and “But I just moved to Ohio a whole thirty six months ago so I’m totally not qualified to make an Ohio themed cocktail!” flew through my head. After some thought (and a little encouragement from the peanut gallery), this was a challenge I couldn’t wait to take on.

First, I brainstormed some classically Ohio and seasonal ingredients: pawpaws, nah, too hard to find; apples, nah, didn’t want to bring out my crutch, the juicer; OYO vodka, nah, too obvious choice. I wanted something that would give taste buds a spin and I knew I wasn’t going to use vodka. Since I have been really loving light and dark rums, and brandy recently, I was halfway there by narrowing down my choice of spirits.

Jim Ellison over at CMH Gourmand has long maintained that Columbus is the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” and that title has always stuck with me. We have a fine selection of local ice creams between Graeter’s, Denise’s, Mardi Gras, and of course, Jeni’s. I ruled out Graeter’s and Denise’s because I knew their ice creams would be too rich (too much milk fat) and none of their sorbets or yogurts appealed to me for this project. My brother and I used this project as an excuse to take a trip to Mardi Gras to sample some of their more unusual offerings. Unfortunately, the flavors at Mardi Gras were a little too delicate and were completely overwhelmed by the alcohol (although, their fig ice cream is PHENOMENAL).

I had heard about a collection of syrups from Bear over at Slow Food Columbus and tracked down this Cleveland company, The Lounging Gourmet, for some samples. I haven’t tried the Lavender or Rose Elixirs just yet, but I knew the Fire Orchid and the Hibiscus was the direction I was heading for this cocktail.

Finally, I stopped by Jeni’s on the way home to peruse their seasonal selections. I’ve always loved the Mango Lassi (and thought it would pair well with the Fire Orchid) and was awe-struck by the floral and tart flavors of the Plum Cassis Lambis Sorbet. Both of those flavors came home with me.

Now, play time! Let me tell you, this experiment was not without fallen soldiers. I learned the hard way: mango yogurt and dark rum are not good friends; you try to get them to play nice but they just make a pukey looking mess and it’s best to enjoy each one separately. I’ll refrain from posting pics of the finished product because Jodi’s pic, hotlinked above (my apologies!!) are FAR better than mine. If you click on the picture, it will link to the Alive article and recipe.

A final note: photoshoot glass was purchased at thrift store on Cleveland Ave., ribbon was purchased from On Paper at High & Buttles, John Glenn button was purchased at Eclectiques Antique Mall in Clintonville on High St.

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