A Southern Cocktail & Dessert Pairing
I met my pastry chef friend, Beth Meyer (of Southern Peach Pastries), five years ago. Fittingly, it was at Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. And in the several years since, it's always been travel, food, and drinks that have continuously brought us together. If it wasn't drinking whiskey at Jameson Distillery in Ireland, then it was toasting pints of ales at pubs in London, or taste-testing desserts at the Tuck Room Tavern in Los Angeles, where she served under James Beard award-winning chef Sherry Yard. Naturally, all these things came together yet again a couple weeks ago when I was visiting Atlanta where Beth now lives. Except instead of sampling the local cuisine and libations from food and drink makers, we were actually the makers, doing a little backyard pop-up in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta for others to sample.
For years now Beth and I have been talking about doing a pop-up together. We’ve traded recipes, like her Bourbon Pecan Pie Tart, and my Pecan Pie Manhattan, and many of our texts are about flavor combinations and new recipes we’re working on.
So when I told her I was coming to Atlanta for work, our first pop-up started coming together. She found the venue, the backyard of a charming Victorian home in Grant Park that literally has a pop-up bar, and I found the juice, which my friends at Breckenridge Distillery supplied. It was on.
While the calendar didn’t quite read “summer,” the weather in Atlanta certainly did. Thus we wanted the cocktails and desserts to be undeniably summer. The menu: 3 summer desserts paired with 3 summer cocktails. That meant a lot of fresh produce, like strawberries, and especially peaches, since Georgia is the Peach State after all, and ice cream (naturally, bourbon-infused), obviously. Best Sunday Funday ever?
My personal favorite cocktail and dessert pairing was actually the first one. The cocktail I made is a rendition of one of my favorite all-time cocktail recipes I’ve come up with, a Rhubarb Pimm’s Cup, which has become my go-to summer punch. This was a no-brainer, especially since Beth once lived in London, where Pimm’s is such a staple, and because I have such a strong memory of growing up on rhubarb jams and pies in the south. Breckenridge Distillery's Chili Chile Vodka then gave it a subtle kick. The addition of fresh produce, like lemons, strawberries, cucumbers, and mint, make this like a farmers’ market in a glass.
Beth’s dessert pairing with the Pimm’s Cup was a Mini Pavlova topped with fresh raspberries and strawberries. Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova. And while it has international popularity, Pavlova is especially common in Australia. The lightness of it, plus the fresh berry topping, made it the perfect start and complement to the Rhubarb Pimm’s Cup.
Get the recipe for both the Rhubarb Pimm’s Cup and Mini Pavlova below!
RHUBARB PIMM'S CUP
- 2 oz. Pimm's
- .5 oz. Breckenridge Chili Chile Vodka
- .75 oz. fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz. Rhubarb simple syrup
- Q Ginger beer
- Your favorite fresh summer fruits and herbs for garnish, such as strawberries, mint and cucumber.
This cocktail recipe is a variation of a Pimm's Cup I created a couple years ago, and it's become a go-to summer cocktail, and a crowd pleaser for summer parties and barbecues. To make it, you'll add the Pimm's, vodka, lemon juice and rhubarb simple syrup (this rhubarb simply syrup recipe on The Kitchn is a good starting place) to a glass with ice and stir. Top with one to two ounces of ginger beer and add a few of your favorite summer fruits and herbs, which in this case, I like strawberries, mint, and cucumber. If making for a group, simply multiple the measurements and add all the ingredients to a pitcher or punch bowl with some ice.
Yield: Approximately 15-18 2.5-inch circular nests.
Meringue Circular Nests
- 65 grams egg whites (approximately 2 eggs)
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 98 grams granulated sugar
- 32 grams powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 75 grams whipping or heavy cream
- 5 grams powdered sugar
- Summer Fruit of your choice - blackberries, blueberries, peaches!
Separate and weigh the egg whites and let them come to room temperature. Put the egg whites in a clean metal or glass mixing bowl, adding a pinch of cream of tartar. Begin mixing on medium until eggs have formed soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time, sprinkling over the whites as they continue to whip. Once all of the sugar has been added, continue whipping to stiff peaks. On low speed add in the powdered sugar in two to three parts and mix on low until fully incorporated.
Transfer to a piping bag with a nozzle (804 Azteco). Begin piping 2.5” circular bases on a parchment paper or silicon mat. Add a ring on the outside edge of each circle to form a “nest.” Bake on 200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately two hours. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Whip cream with sugar in a mixer until soft peaks are formed. Use immediately, or refrigerate.
Spoon whipped cream into meringue nest and garnish with the fruit of your choice! Serve immediately, or store in fridge for a few hours until needed.
Big ups to Della's Backyard Bar for letting us take it over for the afternoon, Breckenridge Distillery for the whiskey, rum, and vodka, and Millie (the bulldog), for her on-point modeling game.