It’s no secret that along with becoming gourmet chefs at home, many of us are also trying to master the perfect cocktails. With all of these newfound indulgences, spirit and wine sales are up a reported 300 percent since the COVID-19 shelter in place orders, and some of our favorite bars and restaurants are delivering specialty concoctions in large batch formats. Some of those include Employees Only in West Hollywood, BG Lounge in Beverly Hills and delivery-on-demand stores such as Saucy.
Yes, we are all trying to cope, but some of us are concerned about packing on the pounds so you might want to cut back on the calories to avoid the “Corona-15” but still placate yourself through this rocky time. The Courier has asked Matt Biancaniello for some cocktail recipes that will not make us feel guilty for indulging during this stressful time.
Biancaniello is the acclaimed bar chef and the author of “Eat your Drink,” who created a legacy at the Library Bar in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel over a decade ago where he was a founding member of the cool cocktail craze.
After being told by a fan that his weight did not match his brand, he cut back on carbs and dairy. Biancaniello lost 30 pounds and gained more energy and stamina. He is currently focusing on the wellness concoctions that include super-foods such as mushrooms, herbs, cucumbers, stinging nettles, which are anti-inflammatory and lemons with electrolytes plus organic spirits. “People are inspired by this and they are into the drinks, but they are also good for you with vibrant, healthy ingredients,” said Biancaniello.
For spring, Biancaniello shares his recipe for “Never Let Me Go,” which he describes as a “very rich, juicy and citrus-forward version of a Negroni.” As for the mezcal and aquavit-based “Health Kick’, he adds, “I love the way the flavors of these two spirits sing so well together, and combine beautifully with the freshness savory notes of the celery juice to create a delicious, layered drink that feels like it’s doing you good!” The final cocktail is more of a home-wellness project as it is a vodka infusion that needs to steep for 10 days and uses anti-inflammatory ingredients. His products are also available in bottled form delivered to your door. http://www.matthewbiancaniello.com/bottled-cocktails/
Recipe for Never Let Me Go
2 oz. blood orange juice
2 oz. Cynar
1/2 oz. creme de cassis
dehydrated or fresh blood orange slice In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake the juice, Cynar, and crème de cassis. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the blood orange slice.
The Health Kick
1 oz Acre Espadin Mezcal
1 oz Krogstad Festlig Aquavit
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Agave Syrup
1 oz Fresh Celery Juice
Pinch Himalayan Sea Salt
Nasturtium blossoms and wild mustard flowers to garnish.
In a shaker filled with ice, combine the mezcal, aquavit, lime juice, agave, green juice, and salt. shake, then double strain into a Collins glass. Submerge the nasturtium flowers in the drink and garnish with the wild mustard flowers.
Makes 2 Cups
In a bowl, combine 1 cup agave nectar and 1 cup water. Stir until the agave hasdissolved and the mixture is well combined. The agave syrup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Recipe for Anti-inflammatory Wellness Drink
2 oz. Stinging Nettle infused Roku Gin 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. agave syrup (1:1 ratio of agave nectar to water)
1 oz. fresh blood orange or pomegranate juice
Garnish: White borage flowers Glassware- Coup
Place everything in a shaker with ice and shake and double strain into a coup and garnish with white borage flowers on top.
Stinging Nettle Infusion:
Place 2 pounds of Stinging nettles into a large infusion jar and cover with 6 bottles of Roku Gin and let it steep for 10 days and strain back into the bottle. Shelf life is about 6 months.
Borage flowers are a natural diuretic. Stinging nettle is a superfood and has more protein than kale and is excellent for reducing inflammation in the body.
Note: If you can’t find stinging nettles, substitute with arugula or wild bay leaves.