Jeff Marron is the new Barman and director of all things cocktail related at The Whelk & Le Farm.
I like to work closely with the kitchen staff at The Whelkin Westport. The talent in that room is outstanding. I'm always trying to learn something new from them. A couple of months ago, they came to me with with a bottle of coconut white balsamic vinegar from a cool local oil and vinegar store called Olivette in Westport & Darien. It smelled and tasted delicious. As I like to get inspiration from the people around me, I asked Chef Lazlo what the vinegar reminded him of. He said that it reminded him of vacation and suntan lotion.
Vacation and suntan lotion. Okay. Well, what vacation and suntan lotion bring to my mind are Pina Coladas, Margaritas and delicious rum drinks. Somehow, I wanted to put all of those drinks in one glass. I wanted to put summer in a glass, in other words.
The base of the Island Life cocktail is an expansion on a Rum Old Fashioned which satisfies my craving for summer rum drinks. The aromatics of the foam are what bring all of the other flavors and memories together. Between the grapefruit and orange bitters that tie into the fresh lime juice and lime zest lies the coconut white balsamic vinegar. No one particular flavor stands out. They all play well together. It's kind of like that moment when you are tanning on the beach and both of your kids are quietly playing together building sand castles and actually sharing the buckets and shovels. Zen, right?
Island Life Cocktail Recipe
2 ¼ oz El Dorado 8 year Rum
½ oz 1:1 Simple Syrup
3 dashes Angostura
2 dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Coconut Balsamic Lime foam
Stir the first four ingredients with ice until properly diluted and chilled
Strain into a chilled Rocks Glass
Gently float Lime foam on top
Zest a little lime peel on top of foam for garnish
For the Lime foam:
½ oz Olivette Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar (olivettect.com)
¼ oz 2:1 simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
2 dashes Bittermen’s Orange Citrate
2 dashes Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
½ oz Freshly Squeezed Lime juice
1 oz egg white
Shake vigorously with ice until thick and frothy
Double strain slowly to float over the base of the cocktail
P.S. On Friday nights starting at 10:30pm, LeFarm goes through a transformation into what we call Deuxamis. Chef Bensimon serves up incredible food that is different from the lunch and dinner menus and I set up a bar to make fun, technical cocktails like the Island Life. If this cocktail is too technical for you to try at home, stop by LeFarm late night on Fridays and I'll be happy to make you this little vacation in a cup.