Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mr. Stair

I wanted to try the Mr. Stair pretty much as soon as I got my copy of Food and Wine Cocktails 2009. It's right there on the front cover, all pretty and opaque and pale green. Problem was, the recipe calls for...cucumber juice. As you can imagine, I was a little bit intimidated by this. How does one liquefy a cucumber? In the wise words of my friend Sarah, "juicing a cucumber sounds a little bit like milking a cat. Possible but uncommon and possibly unpleasant".

So I shelved my dream of a pretty green cocktail until sometime after this post, when I picked up the book again and realized, wait. I juiced a blackberry...why the heck can't I juice a cucumber? (Plus, I had just made the post about St. Germain and was pretty pumped about making cocktails with it.) Turns out the cucumber was a bit more work, but I persevered. Here's what you have to do - cut the cucumber into little bits. (And I mean little, like 1/4" cubes.) You don't need to juice the whole cucumber if you just plan on making a few drinks...about 1/3 will do. Throw them into the blender with a little bit of water (I added 1/2 oz), and start on a low setting, working your way up to higher settings until the cucumber is liquefied. Then strain the cucumber through a sieve, as described here.

Then gather together:
2 oz. Williams Pear eau-de-vie*
3/4 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz lemon juice (fresh squeezed please)
1/2 oz hard-fought cucumber juice (from a cucumber grown by some nice local farmers)
1/4 oz simple syrup
The original recipe calls for a dash of orange bitters, but I like it better without. If you have some, feel free to try it both ways and judge for yourself.

*Pear eau-de-vie is a brandy that's made from distilled pears. (As opposed to traditional brandy, which is made from grapes.) This stuff is expensive, but surprisingly versatile. It shows up here, came in handy in the St.Germain sangria, and is an essential ingredient in the pear/bourbon old-fashioned that is one of my favorite drinks. (And very likely a future post.)

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake until the shaker is nice and frosty. Strain into a pretty glass.

Credit for this recipe goes to Vincenzo Marianella (at the Copa D'Oro in Los Angeles. (Actually, Santa Monica, which, as Rachel knows, is where Frank Gehry is from)). To whom I say: you, sir, are a cocktailing genius. Also, I may have to plan a trip to LA just to visit this bar.

Verdict: Very pear-y. (It's a teeny bit of a disappointment after all that work I went to, but I don't taste the cucumber at all.) Beautifully light and sweet - looks and tastes not quite like any other cocktail I've ever had.


  1. Is there anything as far as you could tell that the cucumber did bring to the recipe? Texture or something? This one sounds very interesting. I love pear.

  2. My best guess is that it's in there for the color. The cucumber juice is what makes it green, and it is awfully pretty. It might add a little bit of texture, too.

  3. And maybe it balances out the sweetness of the pear brandy? At any rate, the cucumber is flying under the radar. (For some reason I find this last phrase very funny.)

  4. Probably because it involves a flying cucumber.

  5. i was quoted in print! i am glowing with pride. although a little sad that i'm not in houston to drink this lovely green concoction. you can prepare for my next visit by juicing 7 cucumbers please.

  6. Thatcher's has made a cucumber liqueur that's pretty lovely - and a lot easier than the cucumber juice. Maybe that's the missing element for cucumber?

  7. That would make things much easier. Although then you would lose the lovely green color, and that would be a little sad.