Adding A Little Swizzle To Your Cocktail
Wednesday - August 26, 2009
World famous restaurant, El Bulli, in Roses, Spain is considered by some to be the greatest restaurant in the world. The chef, Ferran Adria, has been hailed as a genius.
With a waiting list of up to five years (every year as many as one million people compete for the 8,000 or so seats available), and a price tag of more than $250 per person (without wine), it’s safe to say that El Bulli is unique.
The food is the much-hyped gastro-molecular kind. You know the sort of thing: blobs of foam that speak to diners of the ocean’s waves, salt and olive oil served in jewelry boxes, crispy bites of gold leaf that resemble edible foliage, or should that be edible foliage that can be paid for with pieces of gold leaf? Either way, there’s much to show and tell about the entire production.
Why I mention all this has to do with an appetizer on the current menu. Guests are given a shave ice mojito with sugar cane sticks. Sounds more South Pacific than Spanish, don’t you think? The flavors of the mojito are ingested through the sweet sugar cane sticks. Guests rave about the incredible idea and how amazing the cocktail tastes when sipped this way.
Unbelievable, I hear you say. Only the greatest chef in the world would think of something so incredible.
Only in Spain.
Kevin Andrews has been making sugar cane swizzlers for more than 30 years at his farm in Waimanalo. His company, Hula Girl Foods, is a family affair. Wife Carol, sons Chris and Bobby and daughter Jennifer are all actively involved with production, marketing and sales.
“We grow the sugar cane here organically,” says Chris, general manager of the company. “It’s not sprayed with any chemicals, it just grows naturally. When it’s ready, we harvest it, cut it with a special saw we had made, process it and send it out.”
Customers include beverage giant Bacardi, which offers the swizzlers in a variety of party packages as everything from small swizzlers the size of a straw, to larger cuts of bamboo that can be used for muddling drinks.
“They go to bars and restaurants and places like ABC stores,” says Chris. Tourists love them, but there’s much more to the sticks than just a trinket from Hawaii.
“The flavor of the drink comes up through the swizzlers,” says Chris. “It’s like infusing the drinks with sugar.” And it works well on food too, as anyone who’s ordered shrimp with sugar cane from a Thai restaurant knows. “The idea is that you suck on the stick to get the flavor of a shish kebabs or skewered meats or shrimp,” Chris says.
And if you want to make your own drink in the style of El Bulli, there’s a package already waiting - Bacardi has a mojito kit complete with recipe and sugar cane muddling stick. Add some shave ice and you’re on your way to re-creating Ferran Adria’s world-famous cocktail.
If you’re a foodie or an amateur mixologist, you must stock up on these fabulous sticks. They really do add flavor, they add to the presentation of any dish and have myriad uses in the kitchen. You’ll find them for sale at Hulagirlfoods.com.
The Andrews family export their sugarcane sticks across the Mainland, and internationally too. I wondered, if in fact, they supply the world-famous restaurant.
“I wish we did,” says Carol. “Although strangely enough I did just get an inquiry from Spain.”
Carol, if it’s Ferran, can you try and get me a reservation for 2011? I’ll start saving now.
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