Bachelors and cream liqueur might not seem a likely match, but earlier this week, Amarula Cream, Esquire Magazine, and mixologist Alex Ott proved otherwise. Amarula Cream, a South African liqueur made with the fruit of the Marula tree, held a cocktail bash to celebrate its sponsorship of the recently unveiled 2009 Esquire "Ultimate Bachelor Pad" at the SoHo Mews. "Pad" is truly an understatement--this sprawling, block-sized penthouse styled by a dozen top designers is filled with impossibly cool, impossibly pricey decor. I could go on and on about the chic interior (digitally-enhanced billiards table, a $40,000 leather "chopper chair" in the Diesel-sponsored music studio, a luxurious Hugo Boss-sponsored master bedroom with views of the Empire State Building), but I'll leave that to the design bloggers.
To kick off the evening, Alex demonstrated how he created fresh-ingredient cocktails that would bring out Amarula's refreshing fruit flavors. The marula fruit has a guava-like tropical essence, giving Amarula an exotic aftertaste. Alex's most impressive drink was a revelation of masculine flavors--the "Tobacco Vanilla" involved tobacco-infused liquified honey, sandalwood syrup (sandalwood powder-infused simple syrup), Amarula, light rum, and lime juice.
Alex's instructions for making the tobacco-infused liquified honey: dissolve two parts of Manuka honey or acacia honey in one part of hot water, stir until dissolved, and let cool. Store honey in a refrigerator. Burn organic tobacco and guide it through a punctured straw through the honey solution for about one minute.
Other cocktails served included the "Amarula & Eve" (Amarula, citrus vodka, lychee juice, and ruby red grapefruit juice), "Green Tea Wonder" (Amarula, mango nectar, gunpowder green tea, and lemon juice), and the "Pink Elephant" (Amarula, chocolate liqueur, merlot, raspberry puree, heavy cream, sugar, and a garnish of hickory smoke). Alex showed us how to make a quick whipped cream by simply shaking heavy cream and sugar in a cocktail shaker. To make the hickory smoke garnish, Alex lit a piece of wood under an inverted funnel, while his assistant siphoned the smoke into a plastic squueze bottle, thus capturing the smoke. When squeezed over the drink, the whipped cream absorbed the smoke flavor, delivering a campfire effect.
Between the penthouse views, pool table antics, and indulgent cocktails, this was one party that was difficult to leave. Fortunately, I will be back at the Mews for a Woodfords Reserve event next week!