Television has evolved over the years from adhering to schedules to the freedom to watch anything at anytime virtually anywhere. More and More television shows are designed to be binge watched as opposed to waiting week after week to catch the new episode. So if your planning to hunker down with some friends and bust through a series, why not make a whole night out of it?
Each month we meet up to binge through an acclaimed series, whip up some awesome boozy cocktails, and create a delicious meal!
WHO ARE WE?
Parker Boase – writer, mad scientist, party host, and co-founder of Liquid Lab NYC, (New York’s premiere mixology events company, specializing in menu design for Bars and Restaurants, Mixology Classes, and Custom Cocktails)
Gregory Lucas – Cocktail master, 1/2 man 1/2 bear, 1/2 pig, night lifer, & Co-Founder of Liquid Lab NYC (@LiquidLabNYC)
Chef Sam Caucci – navy vet, evil genius, master of perogis, king of culinary
Each month we will be making delicious custom cocktails inspired by the show we are binging and share the recipe with you to easily make at home. Sam will be showing off his culinary skills with unique but simple recipes also inspired by our show of choice.
WHAT ARE WE WATCHING?
Voltron: Legendary Defender – This was our most out-of-the-box Stream Date challenge yet and our first animated show. We had a lot of fun with our Voltron props while we were crafting our recipes.
Voltron originally aired in 1984 and ran in syndication for decades (If you were like me you had all the action figures) and had several revamps, TV Specials, and made-for-TV-movies until we got to the latest version
which was picked up by Netflix in 2016 to an already enthusiastic fan base (an teamed up with Dreamworks to incorporate some layers of CGI that makes for some really awesome battle scenes)
A little bit about the show…(We won’t get into too many specifics but MINOR SPOILERS ahead)
The Paladins of Voltron have been through a lot over the course of their journey. The recently-released Season 7 worked as a homecoming for the defenders when they finally make it back to Earth. Unfortunately Earth has been over run by the evil Galra. They must team up with the reinforced Galaxy Garrison to fight off the invasion. The payoff is the amazing final battle which has to be one of the most epic fights in Voltron’s three-decade history.
They face multiple enemies and literal hurdles over the course of this season, and they really couldn’t catch a break! Zetrid and Ezor come in being their normal douchebag selves and create sooooo much drama. The Paladins get stuck in a Quintessence Field which leads to a three-year time jump (like that water planet from “Interstellar”). In those three years, everything goes to shit and Galra stepped in and made the rest of the universe super uncomfortable. They loose their lions and are lost in space for a while and have to work together in what has to be the most fucked up team building event anyones ever been forced to be a part of.
Then theres my personal favorite episode; when they are made into the unwilling contestants on everyones favorite game show “Garfle Warfle Snick” (catchy!) where they are forced to play a Family Feud/Win Lose or Draw style game against their enemies. One of the funnier episodes of the season.
This season had a lot of heart, mixed with the action sequences you come to expect from this legendary animated series. Strong themes of teamwork and trust, and focus on character development and depth make this series a success for viewers even if they are not huge fans of the genre.
With all of that out of the way, Lets get into the fun stuff!
WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?
We wanted to take a different approach then what we’ve done in the past and do something a bit more spirit forward (meaning the alcohol is the main component) inspired by the jaw dropping battle scenes of Voltron Season 7. Our simple twist on a classic Sazerac using some Japanese inspired ingredients packs a punch, and we added a layer of smoke to tie it all back to the epic final battle.
What is a “Sazerac”? – Antoine Amédée Peychaud has been credited with creating this cocktail back in the mid 1830’s and is often regarded as America’s first cocktail (though thats debatable, but endearing). He’s also the inventor of Peychaud’s bitters which is still used in cocktail bars across the world and is the quintessential ingredient to this classic. It fell out of fashion quite a bit when wormwood absinthe was made illegal in 1912. When it was re-legalized in 2005 (FYI that hallucination thing is a myth) the cocktail came back into the public eye and is now many peoples favorite classic cocktail. Perfectly balanced with a sharp bite, this is also one of my personal favorites and is a wonderful alternative to an Old Fashioned.
2.0 oz. Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky (or alternatively another Japanese Whisky will work great!)
0.5 oz. Umeshu (Plum Wine)
3 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
Grapefruit Twist & Rosemary Sprig
Spritz of Absinthe
Cherrywood Smoke (optional)
Take a large Mixing glass add the Whisky, Umeshu, & Bitters. Stir using a long bar spoon until ice begins to crack and sink down into the cocktail, diluting it slightly but also chilling it to perfection. (Stirring a “spirit forward” cocktail keeps it from being overly diluted, as opposed to shaking which also adds air and more water dilution, if you order a sazerac and you see the bartender shaking it, run out of the bar screaming)
Separately, take a rocks glass and spray (or rinse) with a little bit of absinthe (this is for aroma more than the flavor). Strain the stirred cocktail into your rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit.
OPTIONAL SMOKE: its obvious that not everyone will have a “smoking gun” on hand. We added this extra layer because we were feeling a little fancy (and tipsy). We added Cherrywood bark to our smoking gun (pictured) Lit it up and sourced the smoke into the rocks glass, toping it with a small side plate to lock in the smoke, and then topped the plate with a little rosemary sprig for presentation and aroma. The smoke infuses in pretty quickly and does add some additional flavor to the finished cocktail.
**Alternatively you can light a piece of wood on fire using metal tongs and a small torch until it starts to smoke and top it with a large glass or plate to lock in the smoke
Otherwise, enjoy! (Feel free to serve this over ice though I prefer either a large 2 inch cube or just serving it neat)
WHAT ARE WE EATING?
This time we went for a Japanese-inspired menu to go with the genre. This dish was surprisingly easy to make and inexpensive, and all the separate elements of the recipes came together to make a perfectly balanced and complete dish, inspired by the Lions of Voltron coming together to make one complete robot warrior!
Lion Pork Tenderloin with Trumpet Mushrooms, Baby Bok Choy and Fuji Apple Compote (*does not contain actual lion)
INGREDIENTS FOR PORK AND MARINADE:
1- 1 pound whole pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons of sesame oil
4oz soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
BABY BOK CHOY INGREDIENTS:
1 pound of baby Bok Choy cleaned, rinsed, quartered with cores intact
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
TRUMPET MUSHROOM INGREDIENTS:
1 pound of trumpet mushrooms cleaned, halved longways, scored in a checkered pattern.
1 tablespoon of canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
FUJI APPLE COMPOTE INGREDIENTS:
1 Fuji Apple cleaned, skins on, cut into small dice.
2 oz of bourbon or whiskey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 clove pieces
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Enough water to cover 2/3 high of the apples
Small dice the Fuji Apple, in a small pot, combine apples, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, and water come to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Apples should be really soft and most of the liquid should be evaporated in the pot.
Directions for Pork:
Remove any sinew or silver skin from the pork. Combine the marinade in a mixing bowl and whisk together so the brown sugar isn’t grainy. Then, in a separate bowl, pour the marinade over the pork and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
After the pork has marinated for 30 minutes, heat a pan with just a small dash of canola oil to coat the pan. Sear the pork on all sides until a nice crust forms.
Place in oven on a cooking sheet for 8-10 minutes, or until desired doneness.
Directions For Baby Bok Choy:
In a wok, on high heat, pour 1 tablespoon canola oil in. Toss in the garlic and let that get fragrant but don’t let it burn. Toss in Bok Choy, and sauté quickly. Pour soy sauce over Bok Choy and continue to sauté. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and sesame seeds on top.
Directions For Trumpet Mushrooms:
In a sauté pan, on medium high heat, heat canola oil. When oil is hot, place trumpet mushrooms scored side down in the pan and sear until golden brown. Flip them once and season with salt and black pepper.
Plate your dish and enjoy!
We hope you enjoy your binging experience, and especially hope you enjoy our recipes. Please Binge Responsibly. Stay tuned for more shows, more booze concoctions by @LiquidLabNYC (Check out our Instagram), and more delicious bites from Chef Sam (@samuel_caucci)