by Sheridan Lane, interim director, LLCC culinary program and operations
Chefs, mixologists, owners, line cooks, bakers, general managers and just about everyone else in the culinary and hospitality industry rely on creativity. From problem solving business hurdles to developing a new dish or drink list, our industry is evolving at a pace that requires a lot of innovation at all times.
The National Restaurant Association expects the hospitality industry to continue to grow beyond its already $863 billion industry as projected for this year. For those of us that have made this industry our profession, maintaining creativity in a competitive and growing market requires finding inspiration wherever we can get it. Songs, You Tube videos, the great outdoors, traveling, the visual arts, television broadcasts, and the list continues of unique ways we source inspiration.
Recently, Chef Sean Keeley and I were asked to host a dinner that “Celebrated the Trades.” Themes can be fun as they sometimes narrow the focus, and in this case, I wanted to be able to celebrate the qualities that were truly representative of tradesmen and women themselves: flexible and hardworking with a little bit of edge. At the same time that I was pondering what welcome cocktail to make, the newly released song called, “Redesigning Women,” by a group of individually successful female music artists forming the collaboration project called the High Women, was playing on the radio. The lyrics celebrate pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo, and make reference to Rosie the Riveter – the iconic propaganda symbol intended to inspire the millions of women joining the workforce during WWII. There I had it! What better way to “Celebrate the Trades” than to name a cocktail after one of the most iconic shifts in the workforce at that time, so I called it “Rosé the Riveter. The song, along with the theme, led to the creation of a refreshing aperitif.
For me, I see the creative process as one that mirrors the multistep tasks found in many trade industries, and the making of this cocktail was no different. Aperitifs are known in general for their capacity to be lower in sugar and to border on the bitter side while not overdoing it on the alcohol. Those qualities are what make aperitifs so ideal for waking up the taste buds and preparing the body for a feast.
In this case, I started with the idea of a hand squeezed lemonade, and wanted to use gin, had two bottles of sparkling rosé on hand and was short on time. In true riveter style, this cocktail has many different parts but can be adjusted slightly in sweetness to appease various tastes.
Next time you tackle getting creative, find inspiration wherever you are, and don’t forget that making a few edgy modifications, “re-designing” a perennial favorite, or streamlining the process to complete the task are all part of what make the product that much more unique.
Rosé the Riveter
Batch Recipe for approximately 12 guests
Part 1 – Making the “Riveter” drink mix
4 oz Gin
4 oz Limoncello
3-4 oz agave nectar or simple syrup
2-3 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice=
2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liquor, cherries for garnish
2 oz sweet vermouth
Stir the above listed ingredients together to ensure the agave nectar OR simple syrup along with the liquor from the Luxardo cherries and the sweet vermouth are completely incorporated into the gin and Limoncello. Thoroughly chill this “Riveter” drink mix along with 1,750ml bottle Sparkling Rosé.
Part 2 – Making the cocktail.
In a Glencarin glass or other tulip shaped sipping glass (3-4oz), add 1.5 ounces “Riveter Mix” and 1-1.5 oz Sparkling Rosé. Garnish with a thyme sprig and a Luxardo cherry. I know it sounds strange, but placing the thyme sprig in one hand and clapping down with the other hand on top of it will help to release the aroma which adds to the overall appeal of this cocktail.
I wasn’t kidding when I said this drink was a bit of work, but worth the trade (pun intended) to serve up for a group of friends.
Makes approximately 16, 3oz cocktails.