Spicebox Supperclub: Morocco

Hello Spicebox Supperclub fans! Sorry for the long hiatus.  We haven’t stopped having our supperclubs, but there was a pause in posting, as Linda took some time off to go to culinary school! (You can read my adventures here.).  We’ll catch you up on our culinary adventures.  In the meantime, let’s start with the most recent: Supperclub Morocco!

The inspiration for this meal came from Linda’s recent culinary externship/stage at Mourad, the Michelin-starred Modern Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco.  After that, Peter and Linda took a quick trip to Morocco, which was the most different and intriguing place they’d ever been.  The food has a unique history and flavor profile, which we recreated for our supperclub.  Think spices (coriander, cumin, paprika, saffron and dozens more).  Think flowers (rose, orange blossom).  Think mint.

As with all Spicebox Supperclub events, we began with cocktails.  Three this time! The curry and cardamom comes courtesy of the creative bar at Mourad.  Cheers!


Pamplemousse au Maroc (this makes 2 drinks)


4-5 mint leaves muddled in the shaker.

2 oz gin

1/2 oz pomegranate simple syrup

3 oz grapefruit juice

1/4 oz lime juice

Several dashes of orange blossom water

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Garnish: mint leave or rose petal.


The “Ilsa Lund” (Ingrid Bergman’ character in Casablanca)


4-5 mint leaves muddled in the shaker.

1 oz vodka

1/2 oz citron vodka

1 oz orange juice

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz saffron simple syrup (saffron, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, lemon rind, orange rind) (can use more for slightly sweeter and more flavorful)


Curry & Cardamom


Bourbon 2oz
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz honey syrup (3:1 honey/hot water)
1/4 oz ginger syrup
3 dashes angustura bitters
1 dash cardamom bitters
Shake well with ice
Then add 1oz sparkling wine

Strain & pour (coupe glass preferred)

Add curry leaf on top

Serve & Enjoy!



Thanks for coming by! Come back soon!

Up next: the Moroccan feast

Mexico Cocktail Hour: micheladas y margaritas


We opened the night with micheladas, the Mexican beer and tomato juice cocktail.  With a rim of celery salt, this was a great palate teaser to open our tastebuds to the spicy menu to come.  And what’s a Mexican fiesta without margaritas? Peter stirred up his specialty cocktail using the perfect recipe out there, Rick Bayless’ perfect margarita.



from Food52 The Flying Foodie http://food52.com/recipes/420-michelada-a-k-a-bloody-beer

Serves 4


Lime wedges, for garnish

Celery salt or plain salt, for garnish

1 6oz can tomato juice
2 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 -1/2 teaspoons Tabasco or preferred hot sauce
2 12oz bottles or cans of beer (Modelo is ideal)
Several handfuls of ice cubes


1. Prepare the glasses: rub the rims of four tall glasses with the lime wedges then coat the rims with either celery or plain salt.

2.  In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato juice, lime juice, celery salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco (or desired hot sauce) and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3.  Add a handful of ice to each of the prepared glasses, then divide the tomato juice mixture between them (each should have approximately 4 tbsp/60ml of juice).

4.  Top up the glasses with half a bottle of beer each, then garnish with a lime wedge.


Rick Bayless’ Perfect Margarita


Makes: 4 generous drinks


1 cup tequila, preferably a young silver or reposado 100% agave tequila
½ cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, plus a little extra for moistening the rim of the glasses
A little sugar if necessary
About 1/3 cup coarse (Kosher) salt for crusting the rim of the glasses
About 3 cups medium ice cubes


1.  In a small pitcher, combine the tequila, orange liqueur and lime. Taste and decide if you think the mixture needs to be a little sweeter or a little tangier (keep in mind that it will taste a little tangier once it’s been shaken). Add a bit more lime or a touch of sugar, if necessary.

2.  Spread out the salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of four 6-ounce martini glasses with a little lime juice (if you have a cut lime, even an already-squeezed one, moisten the rims by running it around them). One by one, turn the glasses over and dip them lightly in the salt, creating a thin, even crust all around the rim.

3.  Pour half of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker, add half of the ice cubes. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds (this is important to achieve the perfect strength—some of the ice needs to melt into the margarita—and the right degree of frostiness). Strain into the prepared glasses, then repeat with the remaining margarita mixture. Relax and enjoy.


Thanks for coming to our fiesta! To see the amazing menu Chef Nalin prepared to follow, come back next week!

Comida Porteño: Bebidas (Drinks) and a Pinguino in Action

pisco drinksPeter, displaying a Pisco Sour (L) and Porteño (R)

The Comida Porteño opened with two pisco cocktails, prepared with expert precision by Nalin.  Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Peru and Chile, and popular throughout South America.  The classic pisco is the Pisco Sour, a light drink made frothy with egg white.  Nalin’s other offering was the herbaceous Porteño, created by *** in Portland.  This drink features the Italian bitter, Fernet-Branca.  According to Wikipedia, this was originally developed in Milan in 1845 by the Italian Maria Scala as a stomach medicine.


Pisco Sour

2 oz. pisco
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
2 oz pasteurized egg whites

Shake vigorously with ice, pour into martini glass

2 dashes Angostura bitters over the foam


(Adapted from a recipe by Murray Stenson of Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle.)


3/4 ounce bourbon

1/2 ounce Fernet Branca

1/2 ounce cherry brandy (I used Cointreau)

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1/2 ounce Falernum or simple syrup

After a compare-and-contrast session discussing the relative merits of the two pisco cocktails, we sat down to share a bowl of Yerba Mate.  This merits a post of its own, so you’ll need to return next week for that story.

Finally, we sat down to our expertly prepared multi-course Porteño meal.  Sommelier Dave did an excellent and creative job with the wine pairings (see his notes, below).  We also enjoyed a chance to drink wine poured from pinguinos, as demonstrated in the video clip here.  The pinguinos are both cute and sinister, with the red wine looking a little like blood emanating from their mouths.  But mainly cute.


1) Lustau Light Fino “Jarana” Sherry-

Paired with cheese and corn humita empanadas.  In retrospect, I would have gone with a light sherry with more interest (e.g., an oloroso).

Country: Spain

Region: Jerez

Grape Variety:  Palomino

2) Valdespino Amontillado ‘Contrabandista’- paired with shortrib empanadas

Country: Spain

Region: Jerez
Sub-Region:Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Grape Variety:  Palomino  Pedro Ximenez


Domaine Charles Audoin 2006 Rose’ (Marsannay) Burgundy region


Niepoort 2011 Doci’l Vinho Verde

Paired with locro, and wanted a cross-the-board white for non-red drinkers.


Malbec from Argentina, brought back by our hosts Chris and Diana

Dessert (Alfajores and Tres Leches Cake)

1985 Graham’s port

This post is part of the second Spicebox Supperclub, the Comida Porteño con Sabor Latino, celebrating the food and drink of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Coming up next: what is yerba mate, and what do you do with it?