Bill Milne
"The Cocktail Chicks," Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan
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On with the Show

Pableaux Johnson / October 2007

After two solid years of gut-wrenching Katrina coverage and post-deluge recovery stories, New Orleans could use a bit of nostalgia and a strong, smart cocktail.

The subtitle of their new book, In the Land of Cocktails, bills Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan as "The Cocktail Chicks," but fans of New Orleans food culture probably know them better as two of the "Brennans of Duty" at Commander's Palace. As effervescent hosts and front-of-the-house managers, the two cousins are the latest generation of dynastic owner/operators whose culinary pedigree is legendary in the Crescent City's restaurant scene. With oversized personae displaying a playful balance of genteel and bawdy, a family legacy passed directly from grande dame Ella Brennan and her sister, the requisite "Auntie Mame" character Adelaide Brennan, the pair present their own throughly shaken screwball comedy—equal parts high-octane family album and classic cocktail primer.

Mai Tai
Version 1—An optional gardenia garnish gives this tiki bar classic a tropical Louisiana flair.

• 1 oz. gold rum
• 1 oz. dark rum
• 1/2 oz. lime juice
• 1/2 oz. orange curaçao
• 1/4 oz. simple syrup
• 1/4 oz. Orgeat Punch
• 1 sprig mint
• 1 wooden skewer with a wedge of orange, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry

  1. Combine the rums, lime juice, curaçao, simple syrup, and Orgeat Punch in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with the mint sprig and the skewered fruit.

Version 2—Orgeat Punch The girls consider a splash of punch re­quired for the perfect Mai Tai.

• 1 1/2 oz. spiced rum, such as Captain Morgan
• 1 oz. Orgeat syrup, such as Torani or Monin
• 1/2 oz. 151 proof rum, such as Bacardi
• 1/2 oz. limoncello
• 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Adelaide Swizzle
Liquid homage to the theatrical auntie who gave Café Adelaide its name and spiritual inspiration.

• 1 1/2 oz. amber rum
• juice of 1 lime wedge
• 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
• 1/4 oz. simple syrup
• Secret Ingredient (revealed upon visiting Café Adelaide)
• club soda
• lime wedge

  1. Combine rum, lime juice, bitters, simple syrup, and secret ingredient in cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously. Strain over ice into highball glass, top with club soda, and garnish with lime wedge.

Bourbon Hot Toddy
An aromatic cold-weather classic makes the perfect winter nightcap.

• 2 oz. Bourbon
• 1 tsp. honey
• 6 oz. hot water
• 1 cinnamon stic
• 3 dashes nutmeg
• Bourbon and honey in a brandy snifter

  1. Add hot water and stir with the cinnamon stick. Garnish with the nutmeg.

Elizabeth Taylor
Lu Brow, cocktail chef at Café Adelaide's Swizzle Stick Bar, matched Ms. Taylor's baby blues with this vodka-based potion.

• 1 1/2 oz. citron- or lemon-flavored vodka
• 1 oz. cranberry juice
• 1/2 oz. triple sec
• 1/2 oz. blue curaçao
• 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

  1. Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain the cocktail into a chilled Martini glass.

Hot, Hot, and Dirty Martini
Careful with the cayenne--a little goes a long way in terms of afterburn.

• 1 tsp. sweet paprika
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 lemon wedge
• 2 oz. vodka
• 1/2 oz. olive brine

  1. Place paprika, salt, and cayenne on a saucer; mix together with a fork. Wet half the rim of a chilled Martini glass with the lemon wedge and dip into the seasoning mix. Set aside. Combine vodka and olive brine in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the prepared glass.