Saturday, May 23, 2009

Le Mixeur Six Preview 2: Anu Apte and Saffron Sandalwood Sour

People often approach T.Mixeur and tell him that ever since they read the first Le Mixeur Preview yesterday, they have been toiling listlessly through their day to day lives, doubting there is meaning to existence, and engaging in peripatetic journeys of self-discovery, all brought on by a deep-seeded fear that no more Le Mixeur Six previews will materialize.

Come in off of your ledges, and lay that pistol down, pistol packin' mamas, for today we have another one of them there things for you.

What Makes A Man Make Mixeur?
Partie un: ingrédients
Section B: Anu apte et Santal de Safran Aigre

The second Le Mixeur drink requiring housemade ingredients is a reckless little diddy known as the Saffron Sandalwood Sour, a drink the Great Anu Apte invented just for Left Coast Libations (not for the San Francisco Chronicle, you poachers...I knew they'd send Paul Clarke to destroy me...frikkin Hearst day we shall overcome them)


As I was saying, I have dedicated my weakness my thinking my suffering my singing sculptures in order to experience the redefined every day every second. And you, with your back to the wall, are a cry of pain, a lyric of seduction, speaking of some wistful yearning in the ebony sky.

Oh wait. That was totally not at all what I was saying. Damn Hearst Corporation, messing with my brain locomotive!

As I was saying, Anu is a genius and her drink is delicious, and I went to her home to make 150 ounces of Saffron Syrup...I walked out with 200. In case you've been living under a rock, Anu is a bartender at Vessel and Rob Roy in Seattle, a founding member of the Washington State Bartenders Guild, and coordinates events at her own space (along with Zane Harris), Grain.

suga! water! purple!

I went back to AcheteeOH!tee at 100th and Beautiful Aurora to get what's needed. They had the rosewater for cheap and big bags of sugar, but no Saffron. The staff asked me what country Saffron is most commonly associated with. I told them I was pretty sure it's use was dominated by French liqueurs. They explained they had no French aisle, so I told them 95% of the world's Saffron comes from Iran. They said they had no Iran aisle, so I said, OK fine, India. They showed me the India aisle. There was no saffron.

So I went to the French/Iranian/Pakistani/Indian grocery at 78th and Beautiful Aurora. I asked the dude at the counter if they had Saffron. And at that he nodded and pulled out a little carved box, perfect for stashing your weed, and opened it to reveal a trove of nickel bags.

"How many you need?" he asked."How much?" I asked. "5 dolla" he said. "I'll take 3," said me. And off to the abode of Anu Apte and Zane Harris did I go. The bags, Anu and Zane later noticed, looked like this:

Anu smelled the Saffron and commented that it smelled like Tamarind. Bad memories of my youth overcame me, trolling for cannibus in the projects, paying out hard-earned money we got from returning bottles and cans from the nursing home our one working friend had a job at, only to return home to discover we'd bought mud. Literally. Mud. It only happened once. But we bought a little ziploc bag of mud. The bag didn't even have naked girls on it.

Zane emerged wearing some sort of outfit that suggested he was preparing for a photo shoot for the inside sleeve of the J. Geils Band's Freeze Frame, and insisted it really was Saffron, not tamarind. We proceeded with the syruping.

Saffron Syrup

1 1/4 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar
1/4 cup Rose Water

Generous 1/4 teaspoon Saffron strands
1 Tablespoon Water

Make a saffron extract by heating the tablespoon of water to near boil. Crush the saffron strands between thumb and finger. Add the crushed saffron to hot water. Let it rest about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water and sugar in a heavy bottom pan. Heat till all the sugar is dissolved. Let it come to a boil. Ideally, reach 220 ºF. Add the Rose Water to the saffron extract, then add to the sugar syrup. Cook about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it rest.

After it cools it may be stored in a jar or bottle. You may leave the saffron threads in the syrup or remove. (leave 'em in they pretty)

Here's what that looked like, multiplying the recipe by 20!

Anu claims a pinch in her fingers to be precisely a 1/4 measuring spoons were needed.

Saffron extract = 3rd eye...bloodshot eye.

No Tommies were harmed in the filming of this blog.

See? We even got Tommy a date! She's an artist. Tommy is so into that.

As Tommy the beagle's love boiled, so did our sugar syrup.

Rose water added to Saffron Extract as dusk falls upon SoDo.


As T.Mixeur demonstrates, it is important that when adding the Saffron Extract/Rose Water mix to the hot sugar syrup, one wears protective eye and head gear...and that one looks super cool as a result. From start... finish.

Anu was braiding Ben's hair while this was going on, by the way. Zane disapproved. He hate braids.

Zane was bothered by the weakness of the saffron scent in our batch, and let his feelings be known in no uncertain terms. Ben was more contemplative and philosophical on the matter. We put it back in the pot, added more saffron, and cooked it down some more.

that's what that looked like

Ben approved. Zane napped.

T.Mixeur returned the golden jars to the safety of home, where they will rest until used to make lovely Saffron Sandalwood sours for the merry Mixers of Le Mixeur Six.

Saffron Sandalwood Sour
(director's cut, non SF Chronicle version)

1 ½ ounce gin (Anu prefers Plymouth)
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
½ ounce Saffron Syrup
1 barspoon Angostura bitters
1 egg white
White Sandalwood

Dry shake ingredients except for Sandalwood, or like Anu, use a Bonjour hand blender to whip
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with Sandalwood – you can sprinkle powdered Sandalwood over the top of the drink, or if you have a stick of fresh Sandalwood, grate it over the top as you would with nutmeg.

Exclusive note from Left Coast Libations auteur Michael Lazar, not available in San Francisco Chronicle version: "Sandalwood is much harder than nutmeg. I used sandalwood chips and ground them as best I could in a coffee grinder and then put the result through a fine strainer to lay as 'dusting' over the cocktail."

Yes indeed.

The Saffron Sandalwood Sour will be available for consumption at the Molly Rose Clandestine CD Release Party this Thursday, the 28th, and again at Le Mixeur Six on Saturday, the 30th. We will also pour a bit with some soda water for an uncommon soda pop if you are not imbibing, and if you wink at us just right.

You can also get one of these from Anu at work, if she remembered to pack the syrup and the wood that night.

Le Mixeur Six, May 30th, 2009, 8pm, 6006 12th Ave S., Seattle
tickets may be purchased here


Tony Harion said...

This syrup seems pretty interesting. I haven´t messed around too much with saffron and I was wondering if this much rose water won´t diminish its flavor.
Any thoughts on this matter?


T. Mixeur said...

Tony, the saffron still really seems to come through despite the volume of rose water. It does sound like an ungodly amount of rose water, but it does behave itself. That said, some have suggested the drink should be called the saffron rose water sandalwood sour. But at that point, you might as well drop the descriptive title and call it something like "Kashmiri Sour," or "Minoan Fresco" or "Bad Ass Frothy Mo Fo."

Ingeborg said...

This is fantastic!