July 09, 2017

Sicilian Sundowner

Rye whiskey, Cynar, milk chocolate, peppercorns, 
Hidalgo oloroso sherry

Bourbon, spiced rum, lime, root spirit, dandelion simple, 
maple syrup, egg white

Tequila Blanco, American gin, Italian amaro, lemon, ginger, chamomile, rhubarb, blackcurrant, decanter bitters

Hennessy VSOP, Fernet Branca, Dolin Blanc, demerara syrup, black strap molasses, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice

What's on the menu at today's hot bars

I love a good cocktail. Something with a bit of a bitter edge, maybe faint sweetness, a bit of fizz or a dash of citrus.  Beautiful glasses - a coupe, a cut crystal highball, a weighty smoked old fashioned - make the sipping even better. No straw please; I want to sip and feel the ice, hear the cubes settling in for a deep chill.  

But something seems to have happened to the cocktail. Reading the drinks menu has become a bit of a chore. In a quest to create an ever more unusual, the-more-ingredients-the-better, Instagrammable drink, we're reading longer and longer lists that puzzle rather than tempt us. An ouzo or absinthe rinse ruins what could have been a perfectly fine drink. Lots of brown liquor. And Fernet Branca with everything. It's enough to make you want to order a G+T and be done with it.

The Sicilian Sundowner - three ingredients and whole lot of fun

Summer should be a little more imaginative, without a whole lot more work. So tonight instead of making a Campari soda or Aperol spritz, I made up a cocktail that ticked all my summer sipper boxes: a little bit fizzy, a little bit bitter, a touch of citrus and a sunshiny colour. No exotic ingredients, no syrups to make or egg whites to beat. Just a long tall drink of summer.  

The Sicilian Sundowner
makes one long cocktail

1 ½ oz. Aperol
1 oz. limoncello
Fever Tree Sicilian Lemonade soda, lemon tonic water or plain club soda*
*although this is not a sweet drink, if you prefer a drink with less sweetness, use plain club soda

Fill a highball glass with a generous fistful of ice cubes. Add Aperol, limoncello and soda of choice. Give it a stir, garnish with a strip of orange zest and sip slowly.

June 22, 2017

A Sicilian Sojourn and the new Duck and Cake Travels blog

It's been pretty quiet over here at Duck and Cake. But not for lack of delicious adventures. Richard and I still continue on our quest to eat at the world’s 25 best (we've made it to 14 so far, with a few more reservations upcoming). And I've been cooking up lots of delectable treats, with some recipes coming your way soon.

The big news on the culinary Duck and Cake front is Cook the Farm.

In January, I attended an intensive program at the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school in Sicily with 12 international participants from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about bridging the gap between cooking and farming. Cook the Farm explores the intersection of food, culture, community, horticulture, anthropology and sustainability. 

From milking sheep and learning how to make ricotta cheese, to pruning vineyards, making pasta, learning about propagation and understanding the biodiversity and history of the Mediterranean, Cook the Farm was a deep immersion into the world of food, its meaning, magic and power. 

Although I've been home for two months now, I am still processing and absorbing the incredible richness that is Sicily: her food, her people, her heartbreakingly beautiful landscape. 
Milking sheep - harder than it looks!

It's a experience that has forever left its impression on me. Sicily really has stolen my heart.

As I've absorbed this experience, I've begun to capture some of it in a new blog, Duck and Cake Travels. Please take a visit, and share in my journey. I'll be using Duck and Cake Travels to chronicle both more of my Sicilian sojourn and also use it as a travel diary of sorts. I'll be linking to it here, or you can subscribe directly to get updates as they appear.

As always, thanks for reading!