Peach Cocktail and Networking
Ain’t No Sunshine, but there was
It was hot for March, even by Hollywood standards. There I was, centered in the middle of glitter-town at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, and craving a cocktail. After traveling to attend the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) annual conference a respite was in order.
As with any professional conference, it is all about networking and mingling; which leads to certain entrés to special goings-on. This is the work of a culinary professional.
In need of food and libation, my timing was perfect as I traveled up to the 20th Floor of Loews for my first event; the KitchenAid and Pacific Food & Beverage Food Bloggers party. The hotel staff created a beautiful series of fresh and colorful tasting stations with Crostini, Humus, and a flavorful layered Smoked Salmon Tartine with beet cream cheese. The sun blazed into the window-studded suite lighting up the tables with its strong golden light.
In the back bar, staff were busy at the blender stations making a signature cocktail, a taste of peach, bitters, and fresh herbs. This daiquiri redux called Ain’t No Sunshine, was created by Michael J. Neff, a cocktail, beverage, and spirits consultant. Neff is also on the advisory board of the Museum of the American Cocktail. The refreshing sip not only offset the heat of the room, but also provided a bright counterbalance to the spice and bold flavors of our small plates.
After the formal introductions, thanks, and a raffle for the new KitchenAid blender (which I did not win,) the group got down to some serious mingling. I spoke a bit with Philip Dobard, a director at the Museum of the American Cocktail and president of the Pacific Food & Beverage Museum. These museums are made for people like me; the culinarily curious, who are fascinated by the who, what, when, and where of an idea born and adopted into our cultural identities.
These institutes are wings of the National Food and Beverage Foundation, with a mission to advance the profession and increase consumer knowledge of mixology while stressing the importance of responsible drinking. NFBF also includes programs for Kids in the Kitchen, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship, and Culinaria Queries a series of panel discussions around the country examining relevant food and drink issues. In researching further, I learned about their special focus on the contributions of immigrants, who have shaped, and continue to shape, our nation’s cuisine. With a multi-modal approach with galleries, panel discussions, and events, these institutes celebrate and elucidate the unique history of iconic American cocktails.
In the back corner, circled around the grand piano, author and instructor Richard Foss held court with a laptop for visuals while regaling onlookers about prohibition and the history of drink. Foss is well versed in the subject matter. He wrote The History of Rum and has taught “500 Years of American Food,” “American Fermented,” and “What Shakespeare Left Out” at Osher Institute/UCLA Extension. He is also on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, and is the California Curator for the SoFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum) Institute and Museum of the American Cocktail.
My thanks to Michael Neff for sharing his recipe for this fresh cocktail that easily transcends seasons from spring to fall.
Celebrate a Peach.
Ain’t No Sunshine (Daiquiri Redux)
provided by Michael J. Neff
- 2 oz. Crusoe Organic Rum
- 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz. XTA Honey Anisette*
- 1/4 oz. Thyme-Rosemary Simple Syrup**
- 2 Dashes Kiuchi No Shizuku Aromatic Bitters***
Served blended with a fresh thyme garnish.
* XTA is a Mayan liqueur made from honey and anise, and named for the xtabentun flower of the Yucatan peninsula. You’ll find it at finer spirits stores around the country.
** Gently heat equal parts sugar and water until all solids have dissolved. Steep five grams of fresh rosemary and five grams of fresh basil for fifteen minutes. Strain and cool.
*** The bitters are a concoction of my own devising. Substituting with regular Angostura is sufficient for most applications.
Cocktail and Museum Links
- The Museum of American Cocktail
- Pacific Food & Beverage Museum
- International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)
- Loews Hollywood
- Michael J. Neff, M.J. Neff & Co., Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY.
- Richard Foss, Curator, Author, Instructor and Culinary Historian
Disclosure: Events like these are often sponsored by vendors to promote their brands. I ate, drank, listened and enjoyed at their expense and I thank them. I paid for my own conference attendance and membership fees to IACP.