At Norah in West Hollywood, drinks are as much a part of California’s bountiful produce as the food. From a dramatic marble bar that anchors the airy, semi-industrial space, the bar manager Hamish McShane imagine a variety of syrups and cordials that form the basis of an eclectic cocktail menu.
McShane says the beverage program’s original goal was “to incorporate seasonal produce into accessible cocktails with complex flavors.” Blood orange, which takes its name from the richly colored seasonal citrus, is one of the most notable on the list. Along with Jameson, chartreuse, lemon juice and egg white, the hot pink drink gets its flavor from a sherbet that McShane creates using all parts of the fruit.
First, he macerates blood orange zest in sugar to create an “oleosaccharum”, which he then combines with the juice of the fruit to make a ruby red syrup. The addition of fresh vanilla slightly softens the overall acidity while bringing out the sweet and spicy notes of the whiskey.
Even for those who are a little skeptical about the appeal of dark liquor, the flavor combination is meant to be both intriguing and easy to reheat. “I love that most non-whiskey drinkers will try this one and order a different one, which was exactly what we were looking for,” McShane said.
By Hamish McShane
1 ½ ounce of Jameson whiskey
½ ounce of yellow chartreuse
¾ oz blood orange and vanilla sorbet (recipe below)
oz lemon juice
¾ oz of egg white
Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg
Add all the ingredients to the shaker. Shake first without ice cubes to emulsify the egg white, then add ice cubes and shake. Finely filter into a cut glass and lightly grate the nutmeg on top.
Blood orange and vanilla sorbet:
First, prepare the oleosaccharum by adding half a cup of granulated sugar in a bowl and zest 10 blood oranges on top of the sugar. With a wooden spoon, push the zest into the sugar, you will see the oils emerge. Leave overnight or for at least six hours. Filter and place in an airtight container.
For the sorbet, squeeze the blood oranges used above and mix them with equal parts sugar in a saucepan. Stir, then add the oleosaccharum and a peeled vanilla bean and heat gently until dissolved. Do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool.