Oprah's Wrap Party Libations
By Roger Kamholz in Food on May 19, 2011 6:20PM
When mixologist Adam Seger of hum Botanical Spirits was tapped to devise a cocktail menu for the wrap party celebrating the Oprah Winfrey show's series finale taping, held Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel, he mustered a spread with pomp fitting of the occasion. A dose of that "look under your seat" penchant for drama, if you will. Well, that plus about 18,000 fruit "caviar pearls" and a host of other fanciful goodies.
To execute Seger's menu, two hum staffers, Jennifer Piccione and Jenny Kessler, were joined by several of Chicago's top bartending brass: Bridget Albert, Charles Joly, Kyle McHugh, Lynn House and Jeff Donahue. Besides sourcing exceptional talent, Seger obtained edible flowers from Chef's Garden, as well as the fruit pearls and rose petals from Rare Tea Cellar. Seger walked us through some of the highlights:
The Oprah 25, served in a champagne flute, was a twist on a French 75. It featured North Shore Gin No. 6, which Seger noted is "lavender-forward," Pages Parfait Amour Violet Liqueur, lemon, Champagne and a garnish of a single purple rose petal - "a sexy finish," Seger said.
The Prickly Pear Margarita was made with 100 percent agave blanco tequila, prickly pear puree, organic agave and lime, served up in a purple-sugar-rimmed Martini glass, and finished with a lime wheel and an edible purple dendrobium orchid.
Ginger beer, hibiscus-infused cucumber, freeze-dried pomegranate, Thai basil and shot of hum made up the evening's welcome dink, the Magenta Mule. (Seger provided a recipe for a more home-bar-friendly version of the Magenta Mule, described below).
The smash-style Cocktail Purple included fresh pluots muddled with maple sour and bourbon. Not hip on pluots? Same here. Seger explained they are a "decadent plum and apricot hybrid," a specialty of the evening's fruit supplier, Melissa's World Variety Produce.
If there was any doubt about the elaborateness of the night's libations, the Crazy Ass Sangria, even in name alone, set the record straight. Forget apples and oranges; this sangria had sliced dragonfruit, seedless lemons, and "Pixie" tangerines from California's Ojai Valley - "an homage to Oprah's new home" in nearby Santa Barbara, Seger explained.
An array of "dessertails" - ice cream floats frozen to order with liquid nitrogen - provided the final flourish to an already glittering send-off. Among them, a sassafras ice cream and Goose Island Root Beer float, optionally topped with hum. Yum.
The Magenta Mule
1 1/2 ounces hum
1 1/2 ounces ginger syrup
Wedge of lime squeezed
Build in a tall glass with ice and top with Perrier. Then "garnish to your heart's content," Seger says. (His version was dressed with cucumber, freeze-dried pomegranate seeds, slapped Thai basil and Farmer Lee Jones hand-picked edible purple flowers.) You may substitute ginger syrup and Perrier for ginger ale or ginger syrup alone.
(Pictured at right: The Magenta Mule. Photo courtesy of Adam Seger.)