A new book takes a fresh approach to drinking local
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF RUNNING PRESS, PHOTOS BY JASON VARNEY
Fishtown-based author Tenaya Darlington is best known as Madame Fromage, the title of her widely read cheese blog. She branched out into culinary books by partnering with our most famous local cheesemongers to write Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese (Running Press, 2013). Her next book, The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks (Running Press), cowritten with her brother, André Darlington, is out April 26.
At first glance it seems that a book about spirits is far afield from her usual subject matter, but Darlington’s two passions have always been closely linked in her mind. “Whenever I want to treat myself, I make myself a nice cocktail and pair it with cheese,” she says.
The book was born out of Darlington’s wish to take on a creative project with her brother, a writer living in the Midwest. The two frequently caught up over Skype, often mixing themselves cocktails for the occasion to make it feel more like an in-person hang at a cozy bar. They found themselves talking a lot about what they were drinking—local spirits, forgotten classics or creative potions they invented on the spur of the moment.
Soon, a book idea was born. The Darlingtons dove into their work with relish. The pair studied the evolution of American cocktails during the past 100 years or so, traveled the country to discover new spirits and flavors, and of course tested and refined their own drinking innovations and new recipes.
One of the most inspiring things about this new book is how it blurs the line between the bar and the kitchen. The New Cocktail Hour is peppered with ideas about what to eat with what you drink. “I love Birchrun Hills Farm’s funky Red Cat with a variation on the classic manhattan called An American in Paris. That’s a bourbon drink with dry vermouth, crème de cassis and lemon,” says Darlington. Looking for some more general advice? She loves matching goat cheese with gin. “I’ve moved into the world of the cocktail but I’m taking cheese with me.”
The New Cocktail Hour takes a crafty approach to mixers, with recipes and advice for making homemade versions from whole ingredients. And, best of all, cocktails are viewed through the lens of seasonality. Many recipes, like the ones we excerpt here, are best when their ingredients can be gathered at the farmers’ market or from your own garden. Their flavors will be fresh and vibrant compared to cocktails made with canned tomato juice or without in-season fresh herbs. Gather your friends, the best ingredients you can find, and get mixing. Make sure you raise a toast to drinking local.
All recipes adapted from The New Cocktail Hour by André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group
MEET MADAME FROMAGE
Don’t miss your chance to explore the world of cheese and cocktail pairings with Tenaya Darlington on the opening day of the Headhouse Farmers’ Market. She’ll be hosting a pairing and tasting event at The Twisted Tail with a focus on farm-to-glass cocktails. The event is on May 1 and runs between noon and 2pm. Tickets cost $45 and include a copy of The New Cocktail Hour. For reservations, call 215.558.2471 or visit thetwistedtail.com.
The Twisted Tail
509 S. 2nd St.