Monday, May 14, 2012

La Modele Montmarte

I became a hardcore Francophile around age ten when I had grand visions of living in Paris as a fashion designer where I would whittle away my days making chic little black and white sketches of dresses at quaint neighborhood cafes drinking espresso and inhaling long, brown baguettes. I even changed the “k” in my name to a “qu” in high school, pronouncing it “que” in whispered hushes to the chagrin of my school teachers; a fact that my lifelong girl friends still manage to tease me about on yearly reunions. Although I ended up a beachside artist and writer instead, my visions of all things French still ring romantically in my heart when I manage to indulge in daydreams of listening to Edith Piaf in a barn in a lavender field, painting canvases with lush pinks and yellows dressed in a oil-stick stained ball gown. 

A few weekends back, I spent hours lounging around my boyfriend’s house reading a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I bought the hearty cookbook classic for him for Christmas but realized it was really a book for me that I could read on lazy Sundays while lying around his couch. There’s something about the way that the French cook that surpasses other cuisines for me. Bread is used avidly yet in small doses to be enjoyed with great wines and meals are painstakingly created with rustic ingredients letting the true flavors of the food mingle in savory, sumptuous fashion on the tongue.

I typically always drink a negroni when it’s cocktail time but in honor of my literary hours with the cookbook, the Cute Gardener decided to delve into his bartender’s manual that evening to make me something fitting for the occasion and came up with a neat Montmarte.

Montmartre Cocktail
1 1/4 oz gin (Plymouth)
1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1/2 oz Cointreau
Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail (aka martini) glass.

It didn’t escape my attention that the drink is named after the district in Paris where two of my favorite writers Anais Nin and Henry Miller had their famous affairs in the 1930s. In a nod to their burning, nutty, and crazy love, we threw in a *walnut (instead of the recipe’s called for cherry) we had scorched on accident while making a tray of them in a toaster oven as a dinner ingredient and it became quite the scrumptious and unexpected garnish for the evening. I think this very well may be my new favorite drink!

*Burning nuts can actually be a good thing we discovered. We thought about other uses for burnt nuts, like using them to infuse alcohols like rum and gin. 

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