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Fogo De Chão Serves Up Tasty Brazilian Cocktail, the Passion Fruit Caipirinha

brazilian cocktail
Fogo De Chão’s passion fruit caipirinha

Fogo De Chão gives a nod to the country its founders, Arri and Jair Coser, grew up in with its passion fruit caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail.

“​​This fresh twist on the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil, marries passion fruit puree with cachaça to add an extra tropical layer to this cocktail,” says Hailey Higgins, senior manager of Strategic Partnerships at Fogo de Chão, a full-service Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria. “The caipirinha originated in São Paulo, Brazil and the inspiration for us to craft this cocktail at Fogo De Chão allows us to stick true to our heritage and pay homage to Brazil.”

Fogo de Chão’s cocktail is made up of three main ingredients: cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice, passion fruit purée, and white sugar. 

Of course, a lime is also added to the mix. Cut it in half and remove the core before adding any other ingredients. Then slice the lime thinly against the direction of the core, place it in a rocks glass, and add two tablespoons of sugar. Muddle the lime and sugar together to extract the natural juice of the lime.

Grab a glass, fill it to the brim with ice, and then add the cachaça and passion fruit purée. Shake it thoroughly to ensure the sugar dissolves. Then pour it back into the rocks glass and serve. 

Finally, garnish the cocktail with a lime wheel or stick of sugarcane.

“The feedback on the passion fruit caipirinha has been absolutely amazing and it has become one of our most highly requested cocktails,” she says. “Even though we are in the midst of chillier weather, the passion fruit caipirinha transports you to the warm beaches of Brazil with every sip.”

Fogo de Chão is located at 160 Walt Whitman Rd., Unit 1108B, Huntington. It can be reached at 631-382-6161. fogodechao.com/location/long-island-huntington-station.

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Ella’s in Huntington Offers Comfort With Its Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Cocktail

ella's
The Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

The holiday season is known as a time of reflection and giving, and for its comfort food and festive mood, all of which Ella’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot tries to capture in an old-fashioned glass.

“The old-fashioned is one of my favorite cocktails,” says Chris Burke, bar manager at Ella’s in Huntington, known locally for its toasty wood-fired pizza and tasty seasonal craft cocktails. “It is simplicity at its finest and most elegant. It also lends itself to other flavors and has the ability to be broken down and remade. So this is our version of an autumnal old-fashioned. Flavors we associate with the holidays, nostalgic memories, and gatherings. It’s comfort food in a glass.”

The Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is made with bourbon, allspice liqueur, maple syrup, Angostura bitters, and walnut bitters.

“We take a three-year straight bourbon, and combine that with a grade A maple syrup that we cut with water to moderate the sweetness,” he says. “After that, we add an allspice liqueur that we make in house. We steep allspice, clove, brown sugar and two different kinds of rum to create a baking spice flavor. Black walnut bitters and Angostura bitters finish the process, and for the garnish, we torch an orange twist over the top, which gives it an almost French-toast flavor with the spice, maple and citrus.”

With a similar taste on the palate, Ella’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot checks all the boxes for old-fashioned or Manhattan drinkers.

“We’ve had great feedback and guest response on this cocktail,” he says. “It’s become one of our most popular offerings, and also leads people to understand that some of their favorite classic cocktails can have a spin on them and still retain their essence, or remind them of why they enjoyed it so much originally, while still putting a twist on an original cocktail.”

Ella’s is located at 364 New York Ave., Huntington. It can be reached at 631-350-1804. ellasny.com.

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View Bar and Restaurant in Oakdale Creates Pumpkin Martini

pumpkin martini
Pumpkin martini at View.

It’s that time of year again. (No, it’s not time to hang the lights on the gutters — not yet anyway.) It’s the season when we reluctantly trade in our summer clothes for cable-knit sweaters and willingly sit in traffic for seemingly all eternity for what we’ve long recognized as the tastes of fall — apple cider, pumpkin spice, and homemade apple pie. 

“The inspiration for this tribute cocktail came from the annual festivities in my home during the holiday/fall season, which included the making of pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust,” says Joe Scalice, general manager at View, about the waterfront restaurant’s pumpkin Martini. “My mom would wake up early and get everything set and then call my brother and me to help her make the pumpkin pie.”

The three of them would then gather all the ingredients and measure each item carefully.

“We watched eagerly as the pumpkin pie cooked in the oven,” Scalice says. “We loved when mom would open the oven door to see how it was cooking, and you get the wonderful aromas of pumpkin and vanilla and spices. Finally, it was taken out and left to cool, and then we had to wait until the guests arrived, dinner was served, finished, and then finally the pumpkin pie was served.”

In creating the pumpkin Martini, he wanted to “recreate all of those sensory items,” he says. But he also wanted to add more dimension and texture, so he added “the graham cracker crust to the rim of the glass, which complements all of the wonderful aromas and tastes of pumpkin, vanilla, and fall spices,” he says. 

The cocktail is made up of Stoli Vanil (vodka), pumpkin pie liqueur, graham cracker rim, and cinnamon. 

As far as guest feedback goes, “They love it,” he says. “It is a nice cocktail segue from all of the summer drink offerings.”

“It is more like a dessert than a cocktail,” Scalice says. “It really is a cocktail that is based upon the season and is meant to set the tone for the season, upcoming holidays, and to inspire a sense of movement into the next season.”

View is located at 3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale. It can be reached at 631-589-2694. lessings.com/corporate/restaurants/venue/view.

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True Food Kitchen Conjures Summer With South For Winter Cocktail

true food kitchen
South for Winter cocktail.

Heading south for winter is common for New Yorkers, especially those Long Islanders longing for some sand and warmer waters. But if a trip to the sandy beaches of Florida is out of the question, how about a quick commute this fall — or winter —  to Garden City for a taste of summer?

“Our mission as a brand is to bring people together to eat better (or in this case to drink better), feel better, and celebrate a passion for better living,” says Jon Augustin, beverage director for True Food Kitchen, known for its health-conscious fare and seasonal cocktails. He added that the inspiration for the cocktail was to transport guests to the tropics during the chilly fall and winter months. “Long Islanders are all too familiar with these long and cold months to come, and South For Winter is sure to brighten their days.”

The ingredients in the South For Winter cocktail include rum sour mix, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, Giffard Banane du Bresil, Giffard Caribbean Pineapple, and Drake’s Spiced Rum. 

“The flavors mix well together for a rum-forward cocktail with fruit-infused liqueurs that balance the sweetness of the pineapple and banana, with the spice of the rum, the warmth of the vanilla, and the subtle tartness of the fresh-squeezed lime,” Augustin says. 

To make the cocktail, combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill it with ice and shake. Then pour the ingredients into a hurricane glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. 

“This cocktail provides a refreshing and warming little break to the tropics, the perfect mix of flavors giving our guests a taste of vacation in a glass,” he says.

“So far this is one of our fan favorites as guests enjoy the final tastes and feelings of summertime!” he adds.

True Food Kitchen is located at 630 Old Country Rd., Suite 1040B, Garden City. It can be reached at 516-559-4728. truefoodkitchen.com

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Spicy Watermelon Margarita: A Verde Kitchen & Cocktails Favorite

verde
Verde’s spicy watermelon margarita.

Keeping a specialty cocktail on the menu for years says something about the drink — it’s clearly a customer favorite (in addition to its being profitable). But what makes a cocktail a customer favorite? It’s hard to pinpoint a single factor, but freshly squeezed ingredients are usually involved.

“This cocktail has been on the menu since we opened in 2014,” says Ian Soukup, bar manager at Verde Kitchen and Cocktails, a Mexican restaurant located in Bay Shore, N.Y., known for making all its margaritas with 100 percent Blue Weber Agave Tequila, organic agave, and fresh-squeezed citrus. “When we opened, we wanted to showcase that we were using fresh seasonal ingredients and homemade infusions.”

Verde’s spicy watermelon margarita is made up of pepper-infused tequila, fresh watermelon juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, triple sec, and agave syrup. It’s garnished with salt and a jalapeño slice.

“We wanted to pair the sweetness of fresh watermelon juice with our house-infused pepper tequila,” Soukup says. “The watermelon really helps balance the cocktail and allow all of the flavors to be highlighted without being overpowered by heat.”

To make the cocktail, add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Cap and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Then pour the tin’s contents into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a jalapeño slice.

“The most challenging aspect is waiting for the infusion to finish and taking the time to squeeze the juice from the limes, but I assure you that if you use fresh juice, your hard work will be rewarded,” he says. 

He describes the cocktail as, “Summertime in a glass, especially when we are in peak watermelon season.”

“It stands out as a great intro for someone wanting to try spicy cocktails,” he says.

Verde Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 70 E. Main St., Bay Shore. It can be reached at 631-665-6300. verdekitchen.com

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Hermanas in Lindenhurst Serves Up a Spicy Mezcal Cocktail

hermanas
Hermanas picantes.

Tacos, empanadas, and burritos go well with all kinds of drinks, but for some reason, mezcal above all hits the spot for many. Maybe it’s mezcal’s smokiness that enhances the spiciness associated with many traditional Hispanic dishes. Whatever it is, mezcal is a go-to for many Hispanic-inspired cocktails.  

“We all love mezcal, so naturally, we had to have at least one cocktail on our menu that featured this spirit,” says Sara Pesserillo, one of the three owners of Hermanas Kitchen and Cocktails, a Hispanic restaurant, in Lindenhurst. “We also all love spicy things, so one of our cocktails was definitely going to bring the heat. To us, it seemed like a no-brainer to combine these two things.”

Hermanas’ team eventually came up with the hermanas picantes [spicy sisters] after going back and forth on how to incorporate mezcal into its cocktails. The cocktail’s made with mezcal, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice and habanero bitters. 

“The best way to describe the hermanas picantes is as a spicy, smoky, grapefruit margarita,” Pesserillo says. ”Because there are people who do not prefer a smoky taste to their drinks, we do let guests know what to expect when they order the hermanas picantes. This cocktail most certainly has a permanent place on our cocktail menu; everyone loves it.”

Add all the ingredients together, shake, strain and serve over a large ice cube. Then garnish the cocktail with a Tajín salt rim and a slice of dehydrated grapefruit. The restaurant dehydrates all its dried garnishes in house. 

“Go ahead and ask for it when you dine with us,” she says. “You won’t be disappointed.” 

Other cocktails on Hermanas’ menu include Spanish gin tonic, lavender bees knees, mezcal mule, that purple drink, and fancy fashioned.

While reservations are not required, Hermanas highly suggests them, for spacing is limited, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Hermanas Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 136 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst. It can be reached at 631-991-8999. hermanaslindy.com

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La Fin Kitchen & Lounge in Montauk Serves Up Espresso Martinis

la fin
La Fin’s Espresso Martini in Montauk.

An espresso martini probably isn’t the first cocktail that comes to mind when you’re hitting Montauk this summer, but La Fin Kitchen & Lounge’s take on a classic will leave you with a different perspective.

“At La Fin, we try to be on the ‘cutting edge’ with our cocktail and beverage program,” says Erin Swain, sommelier and beverage manager at La Fin Kitchen & Lounge, a French farm-to-table kitchen and lounge situated on the docks of Montauk Harbor. “What’s more, our owners care deeply about using organic ingredients.”

That being said, La Fin uses Organic Krush coffee in the cocktail. 

“The coffee is freshly brewed and is a star component of this cocktail,” she says. 

Other ingredients in the cocktail include coffee vodka, Tia Maria coffee liqueur, Averna, Carpano Antica vermouth, and simple syrup. 

“We use Prairie Organic Vodka, along with Tia Maria, a dark liqueur made in Italy with Jamaican rum, vanilla bean, sugar cane, and coffee beans,” Swain says. “It’s not as sweet as Kahlúa and it balances well with the other components of the cocktail.”

The Carpano Antica provides a “level of sophistication and length on the palate,” she says. “We also use Averna, an Italian Amaro from Sicily, which has a slightly bitter, caramel-flavor profile, that gives the drink a bittersweet touch.”

“This turbo-charged cocktail has been wildly popular with guests, especially at the end of the night,” she adds. 

Oh, and here’s an insider tip: The Espresso Martini is technically an off-the-menu selection item at La Fin. 

Go ahead and ask for it when you dine with them. You won’t be disappointed.

474 W. Lake Dr. in Montauk. It can be reached at 631-668-8344 or lafinkitchen.com

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Lulu Kitchen & Bar Creates Cocktail With Sagaponack Vodka

lulu kitchen & bar
Luciana by Lulu Kitchen & Bar

When you’re in good company, it makes it a lot easier to produce a great end product, as is the case with developing cocktails. 

“The first spark behind the cocktail was simple,” said Joshua Fishbein, general manager of Lulu Kitchen & Bar, a Mediterranean bistro in Sag Harbor. “We wanted to make a drink using Sagaponacka Vodka, which is an exceptionally smooth and complex potato vodka made down the street at the Sagaponack Farm Distillery.”

Located in Sagaponack, the Sagaponack Farm Distillery, built in a nearly 100-year-old retired dairy barn, is known for its potato-based spirits. The distillery even has what they’d like to call a “potato whiskey” (they call it Single Spud) but can’t, for, according to federal law, whiskey must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51 percent corn. The “mash” of the distillery’s first release of Single Spud was made from Adirondack Red potatoes, distilled and then barrel aged in new American Oak.

“One of the most beautiful aspects of summer here on the East End is the abundance of flowers, hence the Combier Rose Liqueur,” he says. “From there it was a question of ensuring balance and depth to the cocktail, and for this we added the Punt e Mes, pomegranate liqueur and a touch of citrus. The name of the cocktail [Luciana’s Charm] is an homage to one of our employees who is having her first baby and naming her ‘Luciana,’ nicknamed ‘Lulu..”

In sum, the cocktail has the following ingredients: Sagaponacka Potato Vodka, Punt e Mes, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, Combier Rose Liqueur, lime juice and aquafaba.

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, add ice, shake and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a dried edible flower or dehydrated strawberry and citrus zest. 

“Light and fresh, very easy to drink with a soft velvety mouthfeel,” Fishbein says. “Impossible to have just one.”

Lulu Kitchen & Bar is located at 126 Main St. in Sag Harbor. It can be reached at 631-725-0900 or lulusagharbor.com

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Bakuto in Lindenhurst Whips Up a ‘Bright and Citrusy’ Cocktail

bakuto

A fresh take on a classic cocktail is a lot harder than it looks. When you’re trying to connect the present with the past, a lot can go awry. 

Bakuto, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant in Lindenhurst, decided to make this process even more challenging by attempting to also bridge the gap between familiar and foreign. The finished product? The lemongrass Negroni. 

“As a Japanese Izakaya, I wanted the cocktail menus to use products that would pair well with the food,” says Patrick Capellini, bar manager at Bakuto. “The dishes have a lot of depth to them with rich umami flavor. Bitter and bright just happens to be the perfect pairing. Also, with every menu, I do try my best to have one element of each drink be Japanese, whether it’s a spirit, a fruit, a syrup, etc. Here, by using Shochu, it checks all the marks.”

His inspiration for the lemongrass Negroni was — not really a surprise — the Negroni, a popular Italian cocktail composed of three readily available ingredients: gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.  

“It’s a classic cocktail that has been my favorite drink for as long as I can remember,” he says. “I wanted to do a riff on the Negroni using Japan’s national spirit, which is Shochu. I thought if I could make a classic using a foreign spirit I could bridge the gap between familiar and foreign.”

Doing a fresh take on a classic, especially one that’s perfectly balanced, is always tricky. To keep things simple, he broke down the Negroni into the following framework: the spirit, the bitter element, and the sweetness component. By doing this, he was able to easily swap in and out what he wanted. 

“The final cocktail comes to life with Mizu, a Japanese Shochu distilled spirit made from lemongrass,” Capellini says. “Next, we needed our bitter element. I found Luxardo Bitter Bianco had exactly the flavor I was looking for, but it also packs a punch, so to balance it I added two elements of sweetness. Finally, for the sweetness, this cocktail gets both crème de poire (pear liqueur) and Dolin blanc, which is a clear sweet vermouth.”

When customers ask about what the lemongrass Negroni tastes like, he replies with, “bright and citrusy, with a touch of booze and bitter on the back end.”

“The feedback has been phenomenal,” he says. “I have definitely gained some diehard fans with this one. Our cocktail menu has changed a few times, but this has become a staple and isn’t going anywhere.”

Bakuto is located at 121 N. Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst. It can be reached at 631-225-1760 or bakutobar.com.

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Blackbird Kitchen in Wantagh Crafts Sweet ‘n’ Sour Cocktails

cocktail
Brandy-soaked cherries sparked the creation of this clever cocktail.

Ask any bartender about creating cocktails, and you’ll soon find out how much fun the process can be, especially when there’s a problem to solve.

That’s exactly how the cocktail known as one of the boys was born at Blackbird Kitchen and Cocktails, an American bistro offering a seasonal menu of small plates and cocktails in Wantagh.

“We soak our Luxardo cherries in brandy to reduce the syrupiness and add a little bite to the cherry itself,” says Bitsy Donohue, beverage director at Blackbird. “When we’ve used up all the cherries — in Manhattans, old fashioned, and other cocktails — we are left with this delicious kind of tart, sweet, cherry/brandy syrup. So in trying to reduce our waste, we realized we needed to figure out something cool to do with it. We started trying different things and finally landed here!”

One of the boys has several ingredients, including bourbon, lemon, brandied cherry, honey and vanilla. To make the drink, add all the ingredients to a shaker tin, throw in some ice, give the shaker a few shakes, strain the liquid into a coupe glass, and garnish the drink with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

Expect a cherry bourbon sour on the palate. 

“People get nervous because it seems like there’s a lot of sweeteners in this cocktail, but the vanilla and honey really act as support to the depth of the cherry syrup, so it’s not overly sweet at all, while still bringing you all these strong flavors,” Donohue says. 

“Our old-fashioned drinkers have loved it,” she says. “Our cocktail drinkers have loved it. I think it has enough familiarity, while still being just a little different, to pique the interest of our guests. And when they find out the syrup is a byproduct of our cherries, they’re always a little shocked. For me, it’s just really cool to make a drink that’s less wasteful, goes really well with Blackbird’s food, and that people order again!”

Blackbird Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 3026 Merrick Rd. in Wantagh. It can be reached at 516-654-9200 or blackbirdli.com

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