Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fresh Bay Leaf Cocktail

Once again, I've got a new favorite cocktail. In the Jan. 27 Jake's Unique Culinary Adventure's podcast, we promised a post on the nightcap at WD-50 on Clinton Street that concluded the recent Manhattan experience that has dominated this site for the past three weeks.

WD-50 was the subject of our May 23, 2006 post. Therein, we raved about enjoying both drinks and dinner at a small table in the bar section and later being escorted by bartender Toma Palomino to the kichen to meet WD-50's world acclaimed owner/chef Wylie Dufresne.

On this return visit, we had the good fortune to monopolize Toma's extraordinary knowledge, skills, and service for approximately 30 minutes. In my estimation, Toma pushes the spirits envelope in much the way that Wylie Dufresne approaches WD-50's cuisine.

Because a bay tree grows directly outside our kitchen door, I was particularly intrigued with a cocktail on the menu that derived its principal flavor from bay leaves. Watching carefully as Toma mixed it, I asked a lot of questions, scribbled a lot of notes, and later came up with a version that tasted exactly the same and was every bit as pleasing. Here goes:


1 large or 2 small fresh bay leaves---don't even think of using dried ones

1 heaping teaspoon natural sugar or "sugar in the raw"

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 egg white, beaten

1 ounce sugar water.

With a mortar and pestle grind the bay leaf with the sugar until the bay leaf is almost powdered. Place in a cocktail shaker with the vodka, lime juice, egg white, and sugar water. Shake with ice cubes and strain into an ice filled highball glass.