Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8-Summicron 50 F2
One of the most exciting discoveries I’ve made in recent memory goes back to trips to France as a boy. I traveled much with my parents in France. We went all over the country, sometimes for several weeks at a time, eating everything and drinking the best things that the country had to offer. One of my favorite memories goes back to a particularly satisfying drink. Almond Water. In France, Almond Water is treasured as one of the culinary ingredients from our grandparent’s era.
It is naturally gluten free and quite tasty!
From our travels, I remember the first time I tasted Almond Water. It was served icy cold in a glass alongside a “hot from the oven” almond croissant. Yin and Yang in a few quick bites and satisfying slurps!
French Almond water is the liquid version of an almond croissant! From their website:
Originally from France, Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water is a grandmother's recipe prepared in respect to the traditional technique of creating almond water. Victoria's Kitchen is made with 100% natural ingredients, No artificial flavors or colors, Pure cane sugar and 100% pure Grandma love.
Our company's secret is the love and respect of family traditions and recipes. And like any grandmother, Victoria's Kitchen uses only the best ingredients for you.
But where would I be in this lovely little story without introducing certain twisted alcoholic elements?
Well, you could start by listening to some appropriate music. (Click here, please)
Lillet is as much a part of my soul as any wine ever could be or would want to be. In my home growing up there always were a couple of bottles of Lillet in the refrigerator. Upon traveling to France with my parents, we discovered the Lillet Red. My mom drank it all day long and brought as much of it back from France as was possible! She was remarkably lucid for someone who started with Lillet at lunch and finished the day with a snifter of Tia Maria. Was she enamored by the tangy sweet/herbal flavors in Lillet? I tend to think so.
Maybe it made raising the children easier.
“Mother’s little helper.”
Possibly? I certainly was a handful.
The bottle of Rose’ Lillet sitting in front of me says clearly on the label “Servir tres Frais” and they mean it. I like mine with a hunk of orange and a couple of ice cubes. Wait, back up a second… Did I say Rose’ Lillet? Sure I did. This is a very celebratory looking pink wine, spiced with French herbs and their accompanying secrets. Rose’ looks great in the glass and lends itself to deeper mixology experiments like the one that came together as only my talent can muster up. The Rose’ is tangy and sweet, herbal and savory. It’s called a French Aperitif Wine on the label, but really it’s so much more than that. It’s history in a glass. My own personal history of traveling around France contains memories that bubble up to the surface with glee in the form of new cocktails made with familiar ingredients. Cocktail Whisperer Style.
Nouvelle-Orléans Absinthe Supérieure is a part of this grand experiment. Although it is not yet noon, I’ve poured 1 part of the Absinthe in a very interesting hand blown glass from Venice. The blue-ish clear quality of the Absinthe rests momentarily while I pour 2 parts of Lillet Rose’ over the top. Then, if this isn’t just the most delicious invention ever, I top off the glass with Almond Water. The most important part, however is the ice. I made ice from the Almond Water!
As many of my readers know, I’m rather fond of making ice from different waters. Coconut water comes to mind for Tiki Bar driven cocktails and of course who could forget the addition of nutmeg to my ice driven dreams?
Almond water lends itself well to an iced cocktail. Especially one that includes Almond Water ice!
The Podensac Cocktail
1 Shot Nouvelle-Orléans Absinthe Supérieure
2 Shots Lillet Rose’
Almond Water Ice
Almond Water (about 2 oz.)
Add the Lillet Rose’ to the Nouvelle-Orléans Absinthe Supérieure and stir very gently to mix with some regular ice (to chill, not dilute)
Strain into a small rocks glass that has one or two cubes of Almond Water ice contained within
Top with Almond Water (about two ounces) to finish along with a good splash of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water for fizz
Drink slowly to scorching days in the South of France!