LOVE + VOODOO
Paris may be the city of love but a New Orleans' Valentines to Mardi Gras week can be both a love potion & a curse, much like over-ripe fruit with its quixotic fragrance. We had to postpone & put our five senses on hold last year in the planning of 'Viking Lounge NOLA'
at Cochon's Calcasieu after we finally learned how to pronounce Tchoupitoulas CHOP UH TWO LUSS! And we're not talking about the Minnesota kind - the Valkyries, horned-helmet, mead drinking kind.
But that's another story, so today let us Throw you somethin' Mista - a bone or two about some Love + Voodoo. We have Zodiac Love Spells + Sharing-the-Love Love Spells also meet Tales of the Cocktail's "2018 Dame Hall of Fame" & Eater New Orleans Bartender of the Year - Ms. Abigail Gullo as she enchants us with her mixology compendium! Plus a lagniappe to bring out your inner voodoo child...
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
SCENE + SEEN
Seattle's Vintage Micro-Perfumery for the Modern Era
VOODOO QUEEN a perfume inspired by Marie Laveau,"one of the most famous Voodoo Queens of New Orleans. She was born a free woman of color in the early 1800s and made a name for herself as a hairdresser to wealthy white aristocrats. Using the information she gleaned from client gossip & a robust network of 'spies' she was able to become top priestess in a city overrun with them. Besides offering spells and potions, she was also a humanitarian and regularly cared for the sick as well as those condemned to the gallows." This fragrance carries notes of Black Cardamom,
Palo Santo, Sage, Saffron, Jasmine, Rose and Cedar.
"Zodiac Love Spells"
Fashion photos shown above are by Photographer Eric Nehr from his ‘Voodoo Child’ story in 10 MAGAZINE. Make-up Artist Isamaya Ffrench, Hair by Ramona Eschbach & Fashion Stylist Hector Castro Article here
Q&A with ABIGAIL GULLO
You grew up in New York and pursued a career in theater - can you tell us about your pivotal moment going from off-Broadway to falling in love with mixology?
"It probably happened before I was even a theatre nerd. My grandpa taught me how to make a Manhattan when I was 7 years old and I became obsessed with cocktails. I would collect diner placemats when I was a kid and save them in scrap books. By the time I turned 21, I would rather drink Gimlets and Gibsons than do kamikaze shots. But the moment I wanted to make the drinks myself was probably the first time I saw Audrey Saunders behind the bar at Pegu Club. That is when I knew I could be a mixologist too! No Mustache be damned!"
What's your favorite Broadway Play off all-time? And what would be your dream role to perform on Broadway?
"The first Broadway Musical I ever saw was Big River starring a young John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and I love the music in that show by Roger Miller. And give me a good old-fashioned Comden & Green musical like On The Town."
While I am known as a musical comedy actress, I always wanted to play Masha in Chekov’s Three Sisters.
In your opinion what's the best bar in New York City?
"Oh geee! That is too hard. Can I predict that the best bar will be Gage & Tollner Downtown Brooklyn? They were just about to resurrect this historical land marked Victorian era restaurant when Covid hit. When it opens, it will be the first NYC bar I saddle up to."
Where was your very first bartending stint?
"Working the interval at the bar in The Gate Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. See, Theatre and Bartending go hand in hand."
In 2012 you moved to New Orleans - landing as Head Bar Chef for SoBou and then Head Bartender at Compere Lapin - what was one of your favorite signature cocktails you created there?
"The Gentleman Caller. Women want one, Men want to be one. And its super good with oysters."
The Gentleman Caller
1 oz dry gin
1 oz fino sherry
0.5 oz Aperol
0.5 oz Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur
6 drops Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
Stir over ice, Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
Do you have a New Orleans' voodoo story you could share with us?
"New Orleans is a strong base for the sacred African diaspora. Voodoo is not just a traditional Afro-Haitian religion, it is a worldview encompassing philosophy, medicine, justice, and spirituality. It also represents a way of life that is a connection to your community. And I felt that connection every time I set foot in New Orleans. Some priestess must have cast a loving spell on me because when I am in New Orleans, I have never felt more sexy, witty, beautiful, happy, loved, etc... its just some great magic."
Give us your top three go-to cocktail lounges in New Orleans?
"Jeeze! Only three?!? Jewel of the South for new wave French Quarter goodness, Latitude 29 for tiki and The Columns Hotel for classic New Orleans."
Your go-to song that reminds you of New Orleans?
"Do whatcha wanna by Rebirth Brass Band and Big Chef (Professor Longhair version) is always the first song I listen to Mardi Gras morning." Listen HERE
Best mixing a cocktail scene in a movie?
"Nick Charles shaking a drink to Foxtrot in The Thin Man" SEE HERE
You've won many accolades throughout your mixology career - can you tell us more?
"I think the years I spent as a teacher and actor led to success in cocktail competitions. Often, they are looking for someone with talent, confidence and style to present their drinks in a precise and knowledgeable manner. And it helps that I have fun and my drinks taste delicious too! The true value in those competitions was not always the win, but being able to meet other like-minded bartenders from around he world and grow my community of people who are passionate about drinks and taking care of guests. I am so thankful that my work has taken me to distilleries in Ireland, resorts in Puerto Rico and even on the Today Show. Next I want to have my own show and be the Julia Child/Rick Steves of the Cocktail world!"
Now, as Bar Manager at Ben Paris in State Hotel, Seattle - Have you continued your New Orleans' influences in your cocktail profiles?
"How can I help it? Cocktails were pretty much perfected in New Orleans and the hospitality scene there is still know around the world as one of the best. And there are a lot of similarities between Seattle and New Orleans, both cities on the edge of America with thriving immigrant populations that adds culture and technique to the cuisine. It’s a very exciting time to be here."
How has Seattle influenced you as a mixologist?
"I have a deep love for sherry and sherry cocktails. They happen to pair well with fresh seafood, oysters and crab so the bounty of Puget Sound has certainly been an inspiration."
Can you share a cocktail recipe for a sure fire "LOVE POTION" to mix up on Valentine's Day?
"We have a cocktail on the menu that has some aphrodisiac properties. It has cinnamon, grapefruit and a spiced rum that contains Bois Bande, a popular Caribbean natural Viagra (it literally translates to Good Wood). The cocktail is called Seafair Shenanigans, so I fully intend on getting into some shenanigans this Valentine’s Day!"
1 oz Spiced rum
1 oz Rhum Agricole
1 oz amontillado sherry
.75 oz cinnamon vanilla spiced syrup
.75oz lime juice
1 oz Grapefruit juice
Swizzle in a tall glass with crushed ice, serve with a wedge of fresh winter citrus and a crown of Peychaud bitters.
Come get some drinks…to go! Go drinks are now a thing in Seattle! Its this New Orleans Gal’s dream come true! Next can we get Go Cups?
Thank you Abigail!!!
Jimi Hendrix Statue - Seattle
SHARE THE NUMBER LOVE
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