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Tenaya Darlington sips her way through history

The local food and drink expert celebrated the launch of her book, 'The New Cocktail Hour' at Russet.
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    A dinner attendee enjoys the refreshing champagne cocktail, French 75.

If you’re promoting a book of cocktail recipes — do it like Tenaya Darlington and throw a party. The food and drink expert hosted a decadent four-course meal at Russet in Center City to accompany selections from her latest book, “The New Cocktail Hour.”

While attendees sipped and nibbled, Darlington discussed the story behind each of the cocktails, which included their historical significance.

The book, which she co-wrote with her brother Andre over Skype, allows readers to drink their way through history, as it’s set up chronologically. From World War I to the Roaring Twenties, nearly every decade is celebrated through libations.

|<image-caption><p>Strawberry soyer au champagne</p></image-caption>|Jason Varney
|<image-caption/>|Provided

“My brother and I worked on this book together every day, even though we live 900 miles apart,” says Darlington. “We'd set up a time to video chat, select a few recipes to make together, and hop online with our shakers.”

While mostly known as a cheese expert through her Madame Fromage blog, Darlington says this book was an opportunity to “explore craft cocktails in a deep way” and like cheese, they’re “having a moment.”

The evening started with the French 75, made of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne. It pairs nicely with a “soft goat cheese,” the author commented, and there was quite the variety from Doe Run Farm to sample along with the cocktail.

Next came the Hemingway Daquiri, a favorite of the famed author during his Cuba days. White rum, maraschino liqueur, lime and lemon juice came together for a “glacial” finish — cool, smooth and cutting.

After a course of tangerine walnut salumi and hay tagliatelle, the third cocktail was presented — Remember the Maine. It was so potent, it would be hard for one to remember anything after finishing a few of them, but it paired beautifully with the pit roasted beef shoulder and sour cherries in the fourth course.

Finally, no meal is complete without a dessert — especially one you can drink! A strawberry soyer au champagne was served, which included brandy, maraschino and curacao on top of a scoop of homemade ice cream.

Chef Brandon Thomas of Russet commented: “When Tenaya showed me this cocktail, my inner child jumped for joy. Who doesn't love ice cream floats?”

With so many cocktails to explore in so many different historical periods, at what point in history would Darlington herself transport to, if she could?

“I would love to spend an evening drinking sherry cobblers during the Golden Age at the turn of the 19th century,” Darlington says. “This was the era before Prohibition, when ice was a novelty and grand hotel bars featured very theatrical shaker boys who entertained the crowd by making fancy mixed drinks.”

Drinking with a side of theatrics? Yes, please.

For more on Tenaya Darlington, visit: madamefromage.com


 

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