Because I live so close to the great food of New Orleans and my love for cocktails I could not resist this month's topic for Mixology Monday, pairings. So, I decided to try to break my writers block by joining Mixology Monday, which is a group of bloggers that write about the same topic once a month and the host site compiles a round up. This Mixology Monday is being hosted by The Liquid Muse.
It seems as though the New Orleans area has a weekend festival every single week. This weekend was no exception as I attended the Wooden Boat Festival in Madisonville, LA. We New Orleaneans only need a small excuse to party! But let’s face it the main event at these festivals is the food.
Down on Bayou we like our food with some flavor, spice, and a savory flavor hard to find anywhere else in the world. Here at the festival I found myself surrounded by the smells and sound of what I expected. The sizzle of Cajun sausages on the grill, seafood gumbo bubbling over the fire, and fried catfish smothered in a spicy rue were just some of the tempting dishes all around me.
For my pairing I couldn't help but bring home a wide sampling of the food, but I will focus on one pairing in particular that I found outstanding and unexpected.
Pastalaya is a must try if you are ever down here in swamp country. Pastalaya is like jambalaya but with pasta instead of rice. It also is a bit creamier than jambalaya. The spices will kick you in the nuts and leave you begging for more. This thing is alive with flavor and in my mind is a quintessential Cajun dish. Everyone that makes it has their own family recipe, but for the most part you can find it containing: andouille sausage, shrimp and crawfish tails, chicken, a Creole butter sauce, and of course pasta. Google pastalaya there are plenty of recipes to choose.
To pair with it I quickly thought of a cocktail I once had at the Tales of the Cocktail event in 2006 called the Añejo Manhattan. Invented by Ryan Magerian this cocktail was ironically introduced to me in a seminar actually describing cocktail and food pairings. The spicy and savory flavor of this cocktail is a perfect blend with the pastalaya.
2 oz Añejo Tequila
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Licor 43
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Regan's No. 6 Orange Bitters
Fill glass with ice. Add spirits and bitters and stir swiftly for 30 seconds. Strain immediately into a cocktail glass and garnish with Salami Mole Sausage Taco with a tequila-soaked dried cherry filling on a pick.
The spiciness of the tequila mixed with the sweet savory combination of sweet vermouth, Licor 43 and bitters make this cocktail a great complement to any food dish with spice. The spice in the food play well with the spice in the tequila and I think enhances the overall flavor of the cocktail and food.
Well that wraps up my first Mixology Monday. I hope to have a lot more to come and get into the swing of posting again.