Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homade Hooch

OK, the title is more than a little tacky. It's downright vulgar! To say that this weeks' guest, Julianne Zaleta of alchemologie, makes hooch is like saying Paganini "sawed the fiddle." Julianne has taken the cocktail and transported it back to an era of elegance and art, to a place reminiscent of the Paris of Post-WWI, to a zinc-countered bar that The Lost Generation would have felt comfortable in, would have welcomed with the same love of creativity that has found its way into the cocktails Julianne and her group of artist friends are concocting during their soirees.

Her curiosity and passion have turned into a workshop for the senses. (She also makes perfumes and scents.) And at times I get the feeling that essences, the extracts, the flowers, roots, drinks and perfumes all cross over into each other's worlds.a world. Yet with all the bottles and vials and mixtures there is a distinct sense (that word again) of decisiveness and purpose.

Reading back over this, I see it is only my own whirling perception. To get a better perspective on what she's doing and dreaming, I invite you to read her blog.

In the meantime, I'd like to offer a recipe for an Italian liqueur she passed on to me.

I have yet to tackle this amaro (Italian liqueur) but am hoping it turns out to be half as good as one I was introduced to in Sicily, Averna.

Italian Herb Liqueur (Liquore di erbe)

* 200 ml alcohol 95%bv
* 500 ml water
* 400 g sugar
* 6 bay leaves
* 1 sprig of rosemary
* 10 mint leaves
* 10 chamomile flowers
* 10 sweet basil leaves
* 10 lemon leaves
* 15 sage leaves
* 3 cloves
* 3 saffron filaments

Steep botanicals in alcohol for 20 days. Add sugar syrup. Strain. Age for 4 weeks before consuming.

My modest contribution to the show came via a second cousin living in Illinois. Alice comes from the side of the family with all the characters, the Krumpens. (I like to think I have a lot of Krumpen in me. hehe) In addition to being a little odd and a lot fun, we also find that our favorite room in the house is the kitchen. Alice can cook with the best of them but she can also scare up a pretty good drink and make a tasty concoction that she calls a Cherry Bounce.
I will confess that I have only made this with fresh sour cherries but I think any good flavorful cherry would work just fine.

Cherry Bounce

2 cups fresh red cherries, not pitted.
2 cups sugar
1 quart vodka, or rum or any booze (Alice's directions :) )

Put in a jar in a brown bag. Keep in dark for 3-4 months. (Shake occasionally.)
Serve in cordial glasses with one of the cherries.

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