After having encountered a dish or a drink that I wasn't satisfied with, something such as fried chicken soaked in peculiar pecan gravy or a miserable mai tai, what do I do when the thoughts niggle at me? I go home to make it myself, usually with better results. I'd heard about Valencia's historic, specialty cocktail, the Agua de Valencia, first crafted about 50 years ago, with gin, orange juice and Spanish cava. When Baby and I went off to Spain, I was excited to try one. I was left as flat as yesterday's cava. The campy, florid Cafe de las Horas (suitably suggested by our local friend) served a wonderful pitcher, I think with vodka, but I was still unsatisfied. I spotted the brittle, gruesome waitress at the popular Cafe Sant Jaume behind the bar attempting to pour the revered cocktail, premade and out of a plastic bottle! In a word, "no." When I returned to the states, I positioned myself behind our bar and set to work. A splash of rum did the trick and resulted in a deliciously refined, refreshing respite. The following recipe is courtesy of Saveur magazine.
Agua de Valencia
1 oz gin
2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
Splash dark rum
1-2 oz chilled cava, or similar fizzy white, such as prosecco
Fill shaker with ice. Add first three ingredients and shake with vigor. Strain into a stemmed glass (I used a beautiful, etched coupette from a collection that belonged to my Nana, used on her wedding day back in the 1920's--but you needn't perhaps go that far). Top off with the fizzy, sparkling goods and leave the aforementioned waitress out of it. Do enjoy!
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox