Cognac meets Kentucky in the latest release from Martell, the oldest and one of the best known Cognac houses. Introducing Martell Blue Swift, a VSOP Cognac finished in Kentucky bourbon casks.
Martell Blue Swift was unveiled at an exclusive launch party in downtown Atlanta earlier this month. After guests sipped on Martell VSOP cocktails, brand ambassador Karim Lateef pushed back a wall revealing a room dedicated to Martell Blue Swift. The celebration then kicked into high gear with a DJ, live artist painting and tastings of Blue Swift on its own and in cocktails.
Blue Swift is a spirit that represents the partnership between France and America. Martell was the first to ship its Cognac to the United States more than 230 years ago. The name is a tribute to Martell’s swift emblem, a bird that can fly for extremely long distances, including across the Atlantic Ocean.
Blue Swift is an Eau de Vie de Vin. It starts with a base of high quality Cognac, the VSOP, and then spends additional time aging in Kentucky Bourbon casks. The VSOP has flavors of candied fruit and plum, while the bourbon casks impart notes of vanilla and smoky oak. Round and smooth, Martell Blue Swift can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails. My favorite way to sip it is mixed with ginger ale.
Twin Smokers offers a casual setting that focuses on the food. You place your order at the counter. Tables offer street views or views of the twin smokers – named Elizabeth and Matthew after the owner’s children. While you’re waiting you can check out the “Wood Library,” the restaurant’s collection of Texas mesquite, hickory, white oak and post oak used in the smokers.
Daily the chicken, pork and sausages are smoked over hickory and white oak in Elizabeth, and the beef is smoked over Texas mesquite and post oak in Matthew. Using traditional smoking techniques with some modern technology (the smokers have electric thermostats to control the temperature), everything comes out just right.
The southern influenced gastropub is the place to go for a post work drink or dinner with friends. You’ll find a chef-driven menu with locally sourced ingredients in a laid back yet sophisticated setting.
Bourbon fans – and those hoping to discover what makes bourbon so good – will love the cocktail menu. Try the East of Hudson, The Southern Gentleman’s take on a Manhattan, or that week’s Barrel Aged Cocktail. If you want your whiskey without all the fuss, there’s a list of more than 80 kinds of bourbon, rye and Scotch. There’s also a selection of draft and bottled beer, and wine by the glass and bottle.
On what would have been her 97th birthday, Edna Lewis was remembered for her remarkable life and legacy April 13th at a celebration organized by the Edna Lewis Foundation.
Ms. Lewis, who passed away in 2006, brought Southern cuisine to the national stage and influenced generations of Southern and African American chefs.
On Saturday members and supporters of the Edna Lewis foundation enjoyed a five-course meal inspired by Ms. Lewis. In attendance were Ruth Lewis Smith and Mattie Scott, Ms. Lewis’ sister and niece, and John Henry Thurston, Ms. Lewis’ cousin. Throughout the evening her family and the chefs shared stories of Ms. Lewis and her love of cooking.
During the cocktail hour guests were served duck confit and dried fruit empanadas, smoked salmon BLTs, pickled seafood served in a mason jar and cornbread bites stuffed with crab and smoked gouda, created by Chef Charlie Hatney of the City Club of Buckhead.
Chef Art Smith shared his stories about Edna Lewis as guests enjoyed a Bourbon and Virginia ham tasting with Southern Art’s Mixologist Clay Livingston and Executive Chef Tim McGee.
The first course was a roasted kabocha squash and gala apple soup prepared by Chef Kevin Mitchell of the Culinary Institute of Charleston. Cardamom crème fraiche and prosciutto cracklings added additional flavors to the rich soup.
For the second course Chef Todd Richards of The Shed at Glenwood served lamb belly with roasted garlic hummus and pickled radishes.
The third course was a salad of arugula and frisee with creole cured salmon, parsnips and pecans with a Bourbon vinaigrette prepared by Chef Duane Nutter, Executive Chef at One Flew South.
The fourth course was a thyme & rosemary crusted pheasant breast from Chef Darryl Evans of the City Club at Buckhead. It was served with a Hoppin John rice cake and kale and mustard greens ragout.
For dessert Chef Jennifer Booker of Your Resident Gourmet served a decadent lemon chèvre cheesecake with blackberry sorbet.
The mission of the Edna Lewis Foundation is to honor, cultivate and preserve the rich African American culinary history by offering a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire and entertain, and promote a deeper understanding of Southern culinary culture and heritage. It was founded in January 2012 by Chef Joe Randall of Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah. For more information on the foundation visit www.ednalewisfoundation.org.
How do you dispel the myth that southern cuisine is not as sophisticated as other regional fine dining? You bring together chefs, educators and plenty of food and wine fans for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, a celebration of the South’s rich culinary traditions.
“The Southern food experience can be so so different depending on what region of the south you’re in, what influences you have,” said Chef Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Woodfire Grill. “People think that it’s just fried chicken and gravy – and it is that, it’s just so, so much more.”
There was plenty of fried chicken at the tasting tents, the festival’s main draw. Local and regional chefs shared their version of the southern staple.
Festival attendees got to taste much more than just chicken. Restaurants visiting from as far west as Texas and far north as Virginia offered barbecue, pork, seafood, tacos and beyond. Plus there were plenty of Georgia peaches, pecans and Vidalia onions – and beer, bourbon, whiskey and wine to wash it all down.
Learning experiences offered an in depth look at both the comfort and gourmet aspects of southern food and drink. While sharing standout wines produced in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, winemakers demonstrated that the west coast has some competition.
Said Mary Ann Hardman, owner of Persimmon Creek Vineyards, “I think it is very very important for restaurants, who especially espouse a fork to plate, or a local sort of push in their food . . . how can you say you are serving food that is local when you don’t have one wine that’s from Georgia on your list?”
For both chefs and festival attendees, the weekend was more than just a chance to eat great food and sip a variety of wine and spirits – it was a way to honor the South’s unique culinary heritage while getting a taste of the dining trends to come.
Said Chef Gillespie, “we have cultures from the entire globe coming together and we want to show people that southern cuisine is a modern, moving, evolving cuisine and hopefully this festival will show that.”
Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce gang return this Sunday with the premiere of season five of AMC’s award-winning series Mad Men.
Get in the 1960s spirit with these classic cocktails.
2 oz Campari
2 oz Sweet Vermouth
Fill rocks glass with ice. Add Campari and sweet vermouth. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with lemon peel.
1 sugar cube (or ½ tsp loose sugar)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz Bourbon
2 inch strip of lemon peel
Place sugar in a rocks glass. Add 3 dashes of bitters and a short splash of club soda, then muddle the sugar. Add ice, then Bourbon. Gently stir. Garnish with lemon peel.
¾ oz Cognac
¼ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Triple Sec
1 orange peel
Place ice cubes in a shaker, then add Cognac, lemon juice and Triple Sec. Close the shaker and shake until frosted. Strain into a martini glass using a cocktail strainer. Press the orange peel over the drink.
2 oz Bourbon or Cognac
½ oz simple syrup
mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
In a chilled julep cup or rocks glass muddle mint leaves and simple syrup. Add ice and Bourbon (or Cognac). Stir gently with spoon or swizzle stick. Add additional crushed ice and mint sprig garnish.
2 oz Gin or Vodka
½ oz Rose’s lime juice
lime wedge garnish
In a shaker filled with ice, pour gin (or vodka) and Rose’s lime juice. Shake, then with a strainer pour into a cocktail glass or over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lime wedge.