A funny thing happens every July in New Orleans: Thousands of bartenders, mixologists, spirits historians and cocktail enthusiasts pour into the city’s French Quarter to immerse themselves in the endless sea of newly released spirits, original cocktail creations and classics so familiar they feel like old friends.
During last month’s ninth annual Tales of the Cocktail, Las Vegas’ Max Solano was one of about 60 mixologists to participate in the Spirited Dinner series where a gourmet multi-course dinner is paired with a tailor-made cocktail menu. In this rare case, Solano provided Delmonico chef Spencer Minch of New Orleans with his cocktail menu first—“Modern Day Whiskey: From Tennessee to Japan”—and the delicious dishes came tumbling after.
Created to show off the versatility of “white” or virtually unaged whiskey, Solano’s Yellow Canary No. 2 was served with Minch’s handmade gnocchi, Louisiana blue crab, tomato, saffron and ancho chili. Not surprisingly, tickets to the dinner sold out.
Combine 4-5 fresh sage leaves and ½ ounce Monin elderflower syrup in a mixing glass and muddle well. Add 1½ ounces Death’s Door White Whisky, ¾ ounce yellow Chartreuse, ¾ ounce freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice, ¾ ounce pineapple juice and half of one egg white into the glass along with a generous scoop of ice and shake for 10-15 seconds (dry shaking the ingredients without ice once, then with ice to further emulsify the egg is optional but not necessary). Double-strain the contents into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a slapped or pressed sage leaf.