I often create recipes that are inspired by something I’ve enjoyed in a restaurant. The Spaghetti Squash With Sauteed Shiitakes and Greens from my last post is one such dish. My favorite Arugula Fennel Salad with Pistachio & Toasted Breadcrumbs was inspired by a similar salad I had at the Zuni Café in San Francisco last summer, and I made it for myself practically every day this fall, emotionally transporting myself back to Northern California with just a few tantalizing bites. The refreshing Limoncello Floats may not always be on the summer menu here at Cookshop the way they were in 2006, but at least I can recreate them for myself at any time. However, my new Ruby Port Cocktail falls into a new category, for its inspiration was a drink I’d only heard about but never actually sampled the original myself!
A few months ago, my friend Lorra told me about this marvelous Tawny Port Cocktail that she’d recently enjoyed at Picholine. It never occurred to me to serve port over ice, much less combine it with fresh lime and a splash of ginger ale, but it started to sound like an interesting idea the more Lorra talked about it. We kept making tentative plans to enjoy port cocktails and appetizers at the bar on a night when we were both in the Lincoln Center area.
Unfortunately that never quite happened as my social life had to be put on pause last month. If you’ve read this blog in the last few weeks, you know that I was knee-deep in chocolate truffles all December long whenever I wasn’t gigging. Since I was frantically chocolatizing till the last possible minute before jumping into a cab to make my 8 pm curtain night after night, I knew I would have to wait for a calmer period before I could rendezvous with Lorra at Picholine.