David Alan to be guest Bartender at The Turtle Enoteca February 17, 2011

Each year, the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup attracts teams of the world’s best bartenders to Queenstown, New Zealand for a week of intense competition. Our regional qualifying round for the 42Below Cocktail World Cup took place Sunday January 23rd, 2011 at Lustre Pearl in Austin, Texas.

What’s on the line:
- The top two winners of this competition will be flown to New York City to compete in the semi-finals.
- The winners of the semi-finals will then be sent to New Zealand where he/ she will represent the United States in the finals.

Click here for an in depth break down of the World Cup. Why are we posting about the 42Below World Cup? Because....

We just recieved word that our guest, David Alan, The Tipsey Texan, placed Gold in our division of the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup in Austin, Texas, and is on his way to New York City!!! BUT before he leaves, David is making an appearance at The Turtle Enoteca, in Brownwood, Texas as our Guest Bartender. If you ever wanted to see a master mixiologist at work or taste some of the more estoeric and historic cocktails of our time, this is not a not to be missed opportunity. So be here - February 17, 2011 5:00pm - everyone leaves or closing time. The Turtle Enoteca, 510 Center Avenue, Brownwood, Texas 325-646-8200. Show David some Central Texan love.

Championship Punch

Alan created this burnt orange punch for New Year’s Eve and a certain national championship football game that took place on Jan. 7, 2009. “What’s cool about punch is that you’ve got something already prepared to give guests, which frees you up to be with them instead of mixing drinks,” he says. Not only can you make punch ahead of time, punch can also be cheaper than buying bottles of wine or enough spirits to make a variety of drinks.

Punch, which predates the cocktail, was originally made with rum or brandy mixed with citrus juice, tea or spices and was a communal drink at taverns. (That was a question on my final at Tipsey Tech) Alan says. “Instead of ordering a drink at a bar, you walked in and had whatever they were drinking and dipped a ladle out of the communal punch bowl.”

Uuse an old Jell-O mold or silicon Bundt pan to freeze a block of ice. A big piece of ice is better than smaller pieces because it will melt more slowly.

3 or 4 tangerines, Meyer lemons, oranges or lemons
1/2 cup demerara sugar (or white sugar)
6 oz. strong green tea, warm
24 oz. (about one 750 ml. bottle) Flor de CaƱ a 4-year Aged Rum (or other aged rum, such as Mount Gay or the Texas-made Railean )
6 oz. fresh squeezed tangerine juice
6 oz. fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
6-8 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz. St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram (available at The Depot in Brownwood and fine liquor stores)

Over a punch bowl or glass pitcher, remove the zests of several tangerines, Meyer lemons, oranges or lemons. Be careful to remove only the outer zest and not the white pith, which is bitter. Leave the zests in the bowl and add sugar and warm green tea. Stir to dissolve sugar and allow to steep a few minutes.

Add rum, fruit juices, bitters and allspice dram. Strain mixture into a punch bowl. Add a large block of ice, which you can make by freezing water in a Jell-O mold, Bundt pan or half of a paper milk carton. Makes about a dozen 4-oz. servings.

—David Alan, TipsyTexan.com

Balcones Whiskey Dinner February 12, 2011

Chip Tate in front of his hand built still at Balcones Distillery, Waco, Texas

Texas is the home to a number of new craft distillers of high quality spirits, Tito's Vodka, Paula's Orange to name a few. The Turtle Restaurant and Enoteca make a point of serving our great state's home brews, wines and spirits. We're here to help you discover the best that Texas offers in the way of food and drink as we welcome Balcones Baby Blue and Rumble to our spirits of Texas shelf.

Balcones Distillery is located under a bridge in Waco, Texas and is the closest distillery to Brownwood. Released in 2009, Baby Blue not the moonshine often associated with corn whiskey in the little brown jug. “Most of the stuff that’s marketed as corn whiskey on the shelf is junk,” Tate says during an Edible Austin interview. “We’re not just trying to make whiskey in Texas; we’re trying to make Texas whiskey. We are trying to create a tradition.”

Chip built his distillery system from scratch with a two-person crew in an old Waco warehouse under the shadow of the 17th Street railroad bridge. His stills are self built instruments with which he creates his spirits as a composer creates a symphony, layers of taste evoking memoeries and emotions. Chip was a dedicated homebrewer for 18 years then spent two years learning the art and science of distilling, including an apprenticeship in Scotland. His philisophy is learn from tthe best, use the best ingrediants, make the best spirits, do your best.

To make a unique and outstanding product, Tate imports Hopi blue corn from New Mexico. While he could purchase generic corn for 15¢ a pound, Tate insists the blue corn is worth the $1.60 price tag. “I just wanted the best corn,” he says. “It’s a question of flavor.”

Tate speeds up the maturation process by using much smaller barrels than other distilleries. “Our stuff is typically about four months old,” he notes, “which is about the equivalent of five to seven years in a larger barrel.” This is because there is more barrel surface available to each cubic centimeter of liquid and because of the atmospheric conditions in the distillery. For a more detailed explination, talk to Chip.

Baby Blue customers can be found coast to coast and in London, surrounded by coasts. Balcones Distillery won a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition which just confirms what we already know, that Baby Blue, Texas first whiskey since prohibition is first in taste.

Baby Blue, as well as their small barrel-aged fruit brandy, Rumble have become staples for bartenders in Texas' capital, like Tipsy Texan’s David Alan, who says that Baby Blue’s unusual flavors make it fun and challenging to work with. (Attention! David Alan will appear at The Turtle Enoteca on February 24 as a guest bartender. David is a master bartender and teacher) Lara Nixon, also a member of the Tipsy Tech teaching team and Balcones Distillery brand ambassador agrees. “The blue corn is delicate and complicated,” she says. “I like bright flavors and products that build on, and enhance, the blue corn properties. For example, lemon, cherries, oranges and blueberries . . . those are bright, fresh flavors that open up the blue-corn taste.”

Lara won the 2009 Edible Austin Drink Local Cocktail Contest with her Baby Blue-infused entry, We’re in It for the Corn (click to see the recipe). We are considering serving a taste of her cocktail with the chef's canapes as guest arrive or perhaps something new. Lara will be here at The Turtle along with Chip and his wife to meet and educate our guests about Balcones Distillery spirits. You will get to taste an early version of Baby Blue to compare with the significantly improved Baby Blue being bottled in 2011. Chip will also bring some Brimstone, a newly unvailed smokey whiskey to taste as a special bonus. This is Chips' version of "scotch" only instead of peat smoke we taste bar b que smoke destined to become an iconic spirit for Texan cuisine. (At least that's my thought)

We'll finish up with a taste of Rumble with or after dessert. Rumble will most certainly be IN the dessert. Dessert makers out there listen up, Rumble is a wonderful flavoring agent for all kinds of sweets. “It’s a play on rum but not really a rum,” says Chip. “It’s between rum and brandy, with single malt and tequila notes.” Rumble isn’t overly sweet but has a honeyed and slightly smokey aroma. “We sell a consumable fragrance,” says Tate. Smell is in fact the major part of the way something tastes. We eat with our eyes first, then our nose while our taste buds just confirm the first two senses. Rumble is in a category of it's own. Not a rum but almost a brandy. Rumble is distilled from Texas Wildflower Honey, Mission Figs and Demarara Sugar.

Here's the menu:

Chef's choice of canapes

First course: Chestnut gnocchi with smoked bacon, roasted garlic, wilted greens and veal jus (vegetarian option available)

Main course: choice of - Steak au poivre with potato and fennel gratin, wild mushrooms and brandy-mustard sauce
Duet of roasted duck breast and duck confit with mole sauce, wild rice pilaf

Dessert: assorted whiskey filled chocolates and Balcones Rumble Cake

$65.00 per person includes approximately four shots of various styles of distilled spirits from Balcones Distillery, a cocktail taste, coffee and tea. Plan to spend at least two hours over dinner and tastings. Seatings at 6:00, 6:30 and 7:00. Dinner without spirits is $40.00 Reservations can be made over the phone 325-646-8200 or on line http://www.blogger.com/www.theturtlerestaurant.com The Turtle Restaurant is located at 514 Center Avenue, Brownwood, Texas


A Revolutionary Way To Make Spaghetti

Last night as we were getting ready for bed my husband sighed a long long sigh which was followed by, "Two years ago we were walking in the snow all over Bologna." Before I left the restaurant that evening, I had surfed the net late into the night looking for ideas for our next trip to Italy revisiting the website of the cooking school we previously attended and the variety of pastas we ate. I had looked at The Geomoetry of Pasta's web site . My mouth watered. I had ordered a garganelli board as my Christmas present and used it for the first time earlier that day. The curled garganelli tubes lay drying on the bread rack. We had the Bolognese pasta blues bad. I kept surfing for a taste of pasta. Another cooking blog suggested I watch a revolutionary way to make pasta. I did and it was.

This PEZ fellow is a genius. Andrew Pesapane gives alternative multiple lives to objects which then participate in a revolutionary way to make spaghetti.