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The Pink Rose from Deana Sidney

Photograph by Deana Sidney

2 oz Dry Gin
0.50 oz Grenadine
0.50 oz Cream
0.50 Fresh Lemon Juice
White of 1 Egg

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass
Dry shake (no ice) briefly to emulsify
Add ice, shake again, and strain into a cocktail glass

* * *

There’s a scene in the movie Gladiator that fascinates me to this day. It’s not one of the big battle scenes but instead a simple moment in which Derek Jacobi, playing a Roman senator, dines at a restaurant. The concept may sound simple, but when I saw the film for the first time, I was floored by the fact that 2,000 years ago, there might have existed cafés very much like what we have today. Sure, I might have been naïve to have never considered the possibility, but I felt more enlightened by my discovery than embarrassed by my ignorance. Since that time, I’ve kindled a personal passion for things historically culinary.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon LostPastRemembered a little more than a year ago, while hunting down inspiration for our POM Wonderful dinner. Run by the infinitely charming Deana Sidney, a film production designer by trade, the site rightfully bills itself as “a vacation from the now”. You could visit LostPastRemembered for the charming and sometimes haunting travelogues that Deana provides, chronicling both the places she’s been and those she’s longing to visit, but I go for the food. No matter how beautiful or important a place may be, Deana is incessantly scampering off to the kitchen to uncover what was on the menu back in that place’s glory days.

Of course, Deana finds inspiration in more than just venues. Time-honored or forgotten ingredients, great menus, cookbooks from long ago – the means is definitely less important than the end, which is always a dish of gastronomic nirvana. Some examples: Duck Wellington with Armagnac Sauce, Deviled Frog’s Legs from Mark Twain’s 1906 Player’s Club dinner (Deana actually recreated the entire menu), and Trout with Green Sauce from the (in)famous Billings Dinner on Horseback. I call specific attention to this last item because the Billings Dinner was our first cross-post collaboration – Deana provided the trout and I a Horse’s Neck.

What’s so enjoyable for me about the collaborative stories we’ve done with Deana is the ability to “sensorally” time-travel, recreating a moment from the past to the best of our abilities. And while we may not be able to capture each and every nuance, the depth of experience that comes from an historic pairing of food and drink can be quite astounding. While Deana prepared Toulouse-Lautrec’s recipe for Pigeon with Olives, I concocted the artist’s “lemon pigs”, something the avid painter-bartender liked to display while making drinks.

As this year seemed to pass so quickly, Deana and I hardly got to half of the story ideas we discussed. On the plus side, we have all of 2012 to address them, but today’s drink from Deana is a great prelude to a further Café Royal post to come. Like us, Deana makes her own grenadine, but instead of orange flower water, she uses Petitgrain Chef’s Essence from Aftelier Perfumes, a featured item on our Holiday Gift Guide. Deana tells us:

I pulled a few books out (real and virtual) and settled on one that David… had sent my way, the Café Royal Cocktail Book from 1937. I was feeling color and went for drinks with red in it.

When I think of Christmas, I think of warm, creamy goodness and this drink has it in spades. Pomegranates have always been a holiday staple for me… often a big bowl of them on the table with bits of evergreen. This drink takes the bowl and changes it, like Cinderella’s pumpkin, into a bit of magic in a glass. Homemade grenadine makes all the difference and is really super with Breuckelen Gin… the addition of the Petitgrain just takes it over the top.

Now, I’m a big fan of citrus sweetened with grenadine in any drink which calls for it. The addition of both egg white and cream to the mix tell me that this probably isn’t a drink to sip before a big meal – but after dinner, for brunch, or on Christmas Day while the kid is opening his presents, now you’re talking. While the color of the drink is quite unassuming — a blush pink with a nice egg foam head — one sip will make you say “Wow!” Not having Breuckelen Gin, we decided to give a bottle of G’Vine Florasion (quickly becoming a household favorite) a spin. Both the floral and warm spice notes of the gin work magic here, creating layers of citrus and flowers and subtle cream all perfectly balanced with one another. As a reference point, I’d say that the Pink Rose is a close cousin to the Ramos Gin Fizz, which is a compliment indeed.

Along with the recipe, today’s picture is from Deana as well. She’s a wonderful photographer who creates some of the most evocative images of food around – you literally want to take a bite out of your computer. Rather than wax on about them, however, I thought that I’d just show you some (click each to go to the applicable article):

Many, many thanks to Deana for reaching into her historical playbook and providing us with such a lovely holiday treat. It’s an honor being able to pair drinks with her gorgeous food, and I can promise you that you’ll be seeing many more 12BB-LostPastRemembered collaborations in the future. Until then, be sure to become a regular reader of Deana’s site. You’ll be whipping up Grouse with a Foie Gras and Madeira Sauce and Blackberry Compote before you know it.

Esoterica: Different shades of pink roses contain different symbolism. Per “Dark pink roses are symbolic of gratitude and appreciation, and are a traditional way to send a message of thanks. Light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration, and can also be used as an expression of sympathy.”